CSKA Moscow winger Mark Gonzalez has returned to action after 14 months out with a serious hip injury, coming through an exhibition match that he hopes is the first step to regaining full fitness for next season.
Gonzalez, who last appeared in a competitive match in April 2011, played the last half hour in a 5-0 victory over second-tier Moscow suburbs side FC Khimki on Thursday.
The 27-year-old former Liverpool man had cautiously returned to training earlier this month after an attempt to restart training in January was aborted when the injury flared up.
This time, however, he said the early signs were good.
"I feel great," Gonzalez told R-Sport. "No, super-great. I have finally played the first match after long medical treatment and rehabilitation."
Gonzalev stressed there was still some way to go if he is to make CSKA's opening game of the 2012-13 season against FC Rostov on July 22.
"I'm not in optimal shape yet, but in the three weeks remaining to the start of the season I will gain it and be ready to perform for CSKA."
Part of the battle, he said, was "to regain understanding" with his teammates on the pitch.
Gonzalez spent the 2006-07 season at Liverpool, where he played 25 games and scored two goals, but struggled to hold down a first-team place and was sold to Real Betis.
Since joining CSKA in 2009, Gonzalez has scored seven goals in 31 league appearances, but played only five games in the extended 2011-12 season due to the hip injury.
He has 46 caps for Chile and has scored four international goals.