Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has opened up about catching malaria, detailing how he lost 4kg during the ordeal.
The forward contracted the disease while on international duty with Gabon at the beginning of April, missing four games during his recovery. The illness was one of several blows Aubameyang has had to deal with since signing a new contract at the beginning of the season.
He missed two Premier League games in January due to a family matter and was also left out of the Gunners’ north London derby win over Tottenham after he was late to the stadium in March.
Speaking about catching malaria, he said (as quoted by football.london): “I think I lost four kilos. It was a really bad moment and I think it was scary for my family to see my like this. I’m lucky we caught it at the right moment because if you don’t treat malaria early you can have big, big problems.”
Aubameyang was addressing the media before Arsenal’s crucial Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal on Thursday. Thanks to their poor domestic form, winning the competition is their only chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Aubameyang only featured for five minutes in the return fixture but he started against Newcastle in the Premier League last time out, registering a goal and an assist.
When asked about whether he was fit enough to start on Thursday, Aubameyang said: “Yeah definitely yes. When it’s important like this of course. In my mind I feel more than 100% but yeah for sure physically I’m not 100%. I would say 90%.”
He added: “This season has been difficult. Everyone was expecting me to score more goals I know it. Maybe I feel a bit responsible for the situation we are in right now. But we have a chance to change it.”