The striker spent more than a decade out of the game after testing positive for drugs in 2010

Ex-Fiorentina and Sampdoria star Francesco Flachi admitted he was forced to change his life after spending more than a decade out of the game due to a drugs ban.

Flachi received a 12-year suspension in 2010 after testing positive for cocaine while at Brescia.

At the age of 46, and with his ban finally over, he made a shock comeback in the fifth tier in February for local side Signa 1914.

“It was a really long time, even if now it seems to have passed quickly. It was a long time and not at all easy mentally,” Flachi told Fanpage.

“Because it changes your life and it is not easy: I had to reinvent myself, since due to the ban I could not be registered with anybody, at most I could have some collaboration.

“At the beginning, in reality, I had only a little to do with football, not the fault of the others but my fault.

The striker, who played alongside Gabriel Batistuta at Fiorentina and later scored almost 100 goals for Sampdoria at his peak, added that his return to the game was almost a chance event.

“It could be said that it came from a coincidence,” he explained. “There was a seven-a-side football tournament here in Signa, I was part of the team and therefore the president came to seeme play.

“He teased and motivated me by telling me that I was no longer that good, even though I was playing well, and after he told me once, twice, three, four times I told him to give me a try.

“In that moment it was a thing just to say, like a far-fetched one. Then but the more time passed, we felt, talked and slowly it became more and more interesting.”

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