New Everton signing James McFadden admits he thought his playing career was over after breaking down during his rehabilitation from a knee injury.
The 28-year-old was released by Birmingham at the end of last season after they were relegated, having not played since September 2010 because of a cruciate knee problem.
Even McFadden's surgeon had suggested he should consider quitting when his recovery was interrupted by another setback with his knee six months ago.
However, he has returned to fitness - playing 45 minutes in Everton reserves' win over Sunderland on Tuesday - and Toffees manager David Moyes was keen to welcome him back to Goodison Park.
"I was training in March and then broke down again and when I spoke to the surgeon he said my time might be up. That was hard to take," said McFadden.
"Birmingham had a two-year option on me but decided not to take it, which was fair enough.
"It was hard that I didn't know when I was going to get back playing.
"I think you have to take every day as it comes. It was one of those where the specialist kept saying 'Come back and see me and we will see where you are every month or so'.
"Thankfully enough every time I went back there was improvement and he was happy enough for me to return to training.
"It has worked out for the best. I'll just move on now and try to be fit and ready to play games."
McFadden insists he has nothing to prove to anyone but himself after rejoining his former club until the end of the season.
"It is up to me to grab the chance and to show a bit of faith in the manager and show the fans I am good enough to play for Everton again," said the Scotland international.
"I am coming here to get fit, get playing and try to enjoy my football and hopefully secure a longer-term contract
"You get criticism in everything you do but I need to prove to myself I can come back and do as well if not better than before.
"I am not on any mission to prove anyone wrong."