Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Marco Fabian says he was only able to play football with pain killers during the first half of 2017.
Fabian, 28, has not played this term for Frankfurt, his club since January 2016, following back surgery in August.
Lower back problems had already sidelined the Mexico international for parts of the second half of the last season, and he is now nearing his comeback after a time in which he feared for his career.
"I had to undergo spinal disc surgery and on top of that I also had a small fracture in the back region. I had back pain for a year," Fabian told Frankfurter Rundschau. "I was in pain on the pitch, was not 100 percent fit. I received several injections for my back, and took pills. Sometime after the Confederations Cup, I was not able to carry on."
Fabian missed the first couple of months of 2017, but returned to the Frankfurt squad in March as they went on to lose the DFB Pokal final, before then being called up by Mexico for the Confederations Cup.
"It's true [I did not want to miss the Confederations Cup]," he said. "It was the only tournament in my career I had not played in. But after that I was just in too much pain."
Having undergone surgery in August, Fabian feared his career could come to an early end.
"It was a complicated surgery, and it was a bit unnerving. But I had hope and trust in God to come back, and here I am," he said.
The midfielder now hopes to return to the Frankfurt squad when the Bundesliga resumes in mid-January following a short winter break, and then go to the 2018 World Cup with Mexico.
"The World Cup is indeed a great motivation for me," he said. "And it's really special we play Germany. That's my home away from home. It's my second World Cup, and to represent my country there would be a huge honour."