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Rangers | Injured Niko Kranjcar keen to return next season after nearly giving up

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Niko Kranjcar, whose debut season for the Scottish giants Rangers was cut short by a cruciate ligament injury, is eyeing a pre-season return to the squad.

The 32-year-old midfielder, who had played for the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth in the Premier League, joined Rangers in the summer after a short foray in the MLS with New York Cosmos. However, only a few days after scoring his first league goal for Rangers in October, Kranjcar suffered an injury in the training which has kept him out for the rest of the season.

The former Croatian international has earlier revealed that the injury had nearly forced him to retire from football. Now, in an interview with Rangers’ official website, Kranjcar has labeled this as the worst injury he has suffered in his career.

“The recovery process has been a nightmare, this is definitely the worst injury I have ever had, the longest I had been out before was probably two months and this is between six and nine months.

“It is a long road and it is quite lonely. It has its ups and downs, the easiest thing to do is always to give up but once you do start doing your rehab I think there is always a voice in your head telling you to get through it.

“Obviously there are days when you watch a game of football and you’re not involved so it is hard and you just wish you could play.

“I have great support at home from my missus and from my whole family and all my friends. I have been in football ages now and that helps,” Kranjcar told Rangers’ website.

Kranjcar has watched his team struggle to keep up with Celtic in the title race this season. They are currently third in the points table, eight points behind second-placed Aberdeen. However, Kranjcar is hopeful about making a return in time to join the squad for the pre-season training in May, but he is willing to be more patient if needed.

“Touch wood, come May, hopefully, I can join in with the lads and do a full session but the goal is to be fit for next season.

“You have to be patient with these injuries and I think it is really important to have it 100 percent before I start doing any harder work,” Kranjcar added.