Maxime D’Arpino is training again with the group at KV Oostende: “I consciously rehabilitated remotely, because it became difficult mentally” (Ostend)

Recuperating Maxime D’Arpino, that is already a winter transfer in itself for KV Oostende. © BELGIUM

KV Oostende already has a real winter transfer at the end of December: after eight months, Maxime D’Arpino (26) is almost completely fit. The French midfielder is training with the group again after a serious knee injury and wants to be back on the field in January. D’Arpino talks about a very long tunnel and rehabilitation in France. “Seeing your buddies go to the field every day, it hurts.”

Junior Verbeeke

In early April, D’Arpino tore his cruciate ligaments and his meniscus was also hit. The verdict turned out to be very tough: out for at least six months, probably even seven or eight. The latter turned out to be the correct prognosis, because recently D’Arpino is back on the field. “After eight months,” he grins. “But I don’t train at 100 percent yet: I still have to avoid the duels. The workouts are built up progressively and then it depends on how my knee reacts. I have a specific date in mind when I want to make my comeback. Which I keep to myself for a while. But if it doesn’t work: no problem.”

Indeed, it doesn’t come more than a few weeks for D’Arpino. Just imagine if he relapses. For KV Oostende, the return of the little general is of vital importance: the relegation battle promises to be a hell of a job. “We still have a whole second half of the season to raise our level”, says D’Arpino. “However, I thought the team started well. But after that we started losing matches due to details or small mistakes, and we ended up in a negative spiral.”

Rehabilitating in Lyon and Paris

Not that D’Arpino has followed every game with suspicion, because mentally the Frenchman had a hard time following his teammates closely. “During an injury like that you feel a bit alienated from the team. First I went to rehabilitate in Lyon, then in Paris. A conscious choice,” he explains. “I often had a hard time in Ostend. When your teammates walk to the field, but you have to stay inside with the physiotherapist, that’s tough. So I consciously took a step back. In fact, I went to rehabilitation daily between fellow sufferers, people who had experienced the same thing.” D’Arpino therefore had to go through a very long tunnel, although of course there was also the support of his loved ones. “From my wife, my daughter, the whole family: that helped me a lot. And now there is light at the end of that tunnel, because the hardest part is behind us,” he agrees.

D’Arpino wants to help the team as quickly as possible, although we must of course assume that the midfielder will not immediately reach his best level. But he sees it all working out, also with KV Oostende. A satisfying winter internship had to bring solace, because KVO went to recharge your batteries under the Spanish sun. “The methods of Thalhammer remind me of Alexander Blessin, so that feels familiar,” he says. “Let’s hope the engine kicks in soon. Because honestly: this is not the season we had hoped for in advance. The aim is to ensure preservation as quickly as possible. And then maybe look a little further: we’ll see.”

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