By 90Min
January 26, 2018

Tottenham Hotspur winger Erik Lamela has admitted there were times he feared he might never play again during his lengthy battle with a hip injury that cost him 13 months of his career between October 2016 and November 2017.

Yet for Lamela that hasn't even been the most important thing over the last year or so after the severe injuries sustained by his younger brother in a swimming pool accident back home.

Harry Hubbard/GettyImages

Axel Lamela, 21, was left paralysed by a blow to the head. He is going through a period of rehab and may walk again in the future, but for now he is wheelchair-bound. It has served to put things into perspective for Erik, serving as a weighty reminder of what is really important.

"For a few months, he couldn't move anything. Right now, he is getting some movement back and working day by day to return to a normal life," Lamela explained about his brother's situation in an interview with The Guardian.

"The doctors say that he may be able to walk again but it all depends on how the rehab goes. It's going to be a slow process and we just need a lot of patience."

Axel's accident happened in December 2016 and Lamela was quickly sent home by manager and fellow countryman Mauricio Pochettino to be with the family.

"I'm very close to [Axel] and, right now, I'm trying to push him to rise up above this hard experience. It's one of those things that makes you realise what is important in life," Spurs' former record signing continued.

"It makes you realise, for example, that health is a lot more important than football.

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"I have my career in football and injuries are a part of that but what we are talking about with Axel is completely different and, in fact, it could have been much worse. I thank God that he was able to survive this accident and is now able to go through a recovery process."

Even with the added perspective from his brother, dealing with his own injury was hard on Lamela. The player eventually needed surgery on the troublesome hip and would temporarily relocate to Rome, his previous home while playing in Italy, to see different medical personnel.

His beloved dog, Simba, had also died and there was all sorts of speculation that he had played his last game for Tottenham and would be leaving the club.

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

He missed home terribly while unable to play football. But ultimately his drive to succeed got him back, while the birth of his son, Tobias, just three days before he made his long awaited comeback for Spurs against Leicester in late November, has also had a positive effect.

"I don't think I've ever felt such happiness as I've done with my son. It's something completely unique and I'm just making the most of it every day. It has changed me," he said.

Lamela has only started three games since his return, but he has played at least some part in all of Spurs' last 12 outings in all competitions. As a more mature individual who sees things a little differently to how he did before, fans will be hoping the best of the 25-year-old is yet to come.

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