There was a very special moment in the 71st minute of our Bundesliga home match v SCR Altach on 28 Oktober, as the fourth official raised his board to show a green #29 – it marked the end to almost a year of injury misfortune for Daouda Guindo.
His last taste of competitive action had been for FC St. Gallen in November 2022. The Mali youngster complained of knee problems that led to an early return from a loan to Salzburg in the winter and a major blow followed - with the news that an operation would be needed, along with several months on the sidelines.
Daouda Guindo's return this season could not have possibly come at a better time though! With Andreas Ulmer and Aleksa Terzic out injured, we are suddenly short of options at left-back, and the 21-year-old has now started twice. It won't be possible for the speedy full-back to play in the UEFA Champions League, however, as he was not named in the squad ahead of the group stage.
We used the international break to sit down for a chat at the Red Bull Arena about his long route to recovery.
Interview with Daouda Guindo
Daouda, what kind of feeling was it for you to get onto the pitch again after such a long time out?
"I was just so delighted! It was a very special feeling after being out for so long to come on finally at home against Altach. It was really great to see after the match how many people were pleased for me. I got a lot of messages, which really thrilled me!"
How was it to find out that you would need an operation?
"It was a huge shock, but that made me even more grateful to receive all the support from my surroundings. These kind of injuries happen to footballers, and there is no other option than sticking with it and working towards a comeback."
Did you expect to get so much playing time so soon after making your comeback?
"I hadn't expected it. I knew that I would get my chance at some stage. I hadn't imagined it would come so quickly. I am giving everything to pay back the chance I was given with good performances, and I am just grateful to be fit again."
How pleased have you been with your performances in recent weeks?
"I'm essentially very pleased, but there are still things I need to improve, of course. Primarily I am just happy to be able to play again! I am so grateful to everyone who helped me to make a comeback. My family, my agent and our integration coach Musti were there a lot for me in this time. Our physios and athletics coach did some really fantastic work to get me fit again as soon as possible - and they deserve a very special thank you!"
Where do you see your strengths, and where would you like to improve?
"I would say that I am technically relatively strong on the ball for a defender. That is definitely a strength of mine, also when it comes to having to play short passes in tight spaces with team-mates. My aim is to provide assists whenever possible. What I have learned here is aggressive off-the-ball play - and I really like that."
Now you are back, what are your aims for the near future?
"It's important to put in good performances week in, week out. In every training session and every match, I want to give my best. The most important thing at the end is that we achieve our aims as a team."
You have a few days off in the international break, how will you spend those?
"I would love to pay a visit to my family in Mali, but that's not possible, unfortunately, due to the distance. So I'll stay here in Salzburg and use the time to recover, and I will be training individually to prepare for next week and the Bundesliga home match."
Guindo & Co. back in action: on Saturday 25 November our Red Bulls are back from the international break with a home match. At 17:00 CET we host TSV Hartberg in the 14th game week of the ADMIRAL Bundesliga. Tickets are available online:
Gallery: Best of Daouda Guindo