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Daily Star - - FOOTBALL -

SAMIR NASRI feared he would never play foot­ball again af­ter an 18-month anti-dop­ing ban left him on the verge of de­pres­sion.

But as West Ham’s paroled French­man en­joyed a win­ning re­turn against his old club, in his first Premier League ap­pear­ance for two and a half years, Nasri ig­nored the taunts and counted his bless­ings.

He set up birth­day boy Declan Rice, 20 to­day, for his first goal in se­nior foot­ball to give the Ham­mers only their sec­ond win in 22 meet­ings with the Gun­ners.

Nasri was banned for re­ceiv­ing in­tra­venous treat­ment at a Los An­ge­les clinic while on hol­i­day in De­cem­ber 2016, when he was on loan at Sevilla from Manch­ester City.

He si­lenced the taunts of Arse­nal fans, who never for­gave him for join­ing the le­gion of Gun­ners fugi­tives at City in 2011, and said: “It was the best feel­ing of my life to be back, and win­ning as well.

“I thought I’d lost it at some point – that I would never play again – but it hap­pened, and ev­ery­thing was great.

“I started to ques­tion my­self, whether I would be able to play foot­ball again.

“It was al­most like be­ing de­pressed – thank God my fam­ily, friends and

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