Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has backed full back Hector Bellerin to return 'stronger than before' after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Chelsea.
The Spanish defender was stretchered off during Arsenal's 2-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday and will undergo surgery to repair the damage to his left knee. He has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2018/19 season.
Bellerin was making his first start since early December after recovering from a calf injury and may now face up to nine months on the sideline.
Arsenal captain Koscielny is familiar with long term injuries after recently recovering from a ruptured Achilles, which kept him out of action for the best part of a year. The French defender spoke to Sky Sports about the matter. He said: "Like I said to him (Bellerin) yesterday, 'Put football on the side and enjoy a bit of your life with your family and friends.'
"It will be long but he is a strong boy and I know he has the people around him to help him and be back as soon as possible and stronger than before.
"He knows all the team are here to help him because we know he will have some difficult moments during his rehab, like Rob (Holding) and Danny (Welbeck), but they know all the team are here and behind them to help them come back with us and help us to have results together.
Koscielny touched upon his experience when he was injured, and shared some advice for his fellow defender. He said: "I discovered a lot about life so I was surprised about that. I was very focused on my rehab so sometimes you are in a bubble and you can't see people trying to help you to be back as soon as possible.
"It's important to open your eyes because there are good things. Now I am more positive about my life and career and try to keep the negative things outside of my body.
"When you are a football player you are focused on football, media, results and you forget a lot of things around you. You can forget family and kids a bit because you are with your teammates all the time. It's important to open your eyes and enjoy life as well as your football career.
"I enjoy my career more now than before I was injured because I learned a lot about football and life. I just want to enjoy it."