VINCENT PERICARD revealed he’s rediscovered his love of football after making a return with Moneyfields.
The former Pompey striker admitted he’s enjoying the game once again after battling depression.
Pericard was given a surprise run out by Moneys this week after retiring in 2012, at the age of 29.
The pressures of professional football and a string of injuries prompted the former Juventus and French under-21 international to hang up his boots.
But now he’s been convinced to make a comeback and play for free in the Wessex League premier division – eight divisions below the Premier League, where he turned out for the Blues and Stoke.
Pericard, 32, explained he never felt he would lace his boots again after walking away from the sport.
But now he’s keen to help Miles Rutherford’s title bid this season.
And Pericard is happy to do whatever it takes to do that now he’s playing with a smile on his face.
He said: ‘This has really came out of the blue for me because I never thought I would be playing football again.
‘It has taken me three years out of football to finally be comfortable to play just for fun.
‘It is about the love of the game not the competitive side, this is why I am doing it for no money.
‘I just want to have fun playing again and I am willing to contribute where I am needed, whether that is playing, on the bench, talking to the media or just being a presence around the club.
‘If in the push for promotion they want to play me in defence or midfield then I would be happy for that because you have to think of the big picture and that is getting the club promoted.’’
Moneyfields fans will have to wait a little longer to get a glimpse of Pericard running out on home turf.
The hitman was forced off 50 minutes into his debut against Folland Sports on Tuesday night with a hamstring injury – a match Moneys won 1-0.
That ruled him out of today’s match with Christchurch as the Dover Road side look to stay top of the league – but Pericard is keen to stay for the long haul.
He is currently operating on a match-by-match agreement, after starting in a lone striker’s role last time out.
The absence of top-scorer Steve Hutchings through suspension, after he picked up a three-game ban, paved the way for Pericard to link up with Moneys.
It was a family connection which oiled the move, with relative Connor Bailey turning out for the club.
Now a career which began with Juve – before his £400,000 move to Pompey in 2002 – and took in stints at the likes of Sheffield United, Plymouth, Southampton, Millwall, Carlisle and Swindon, has another stop-off.
Pericard said: ‘Connor is my daughter’s uncle and I have been close to their family for six years.
‘Every time I came back to Portsmouth he would ask me to come watch Moneyfields, but I never had the opportunity.
‘Then one day he phoned me to tell me that one of their strikers was suspended and explained that they were in a good position for promotion and asked me if I wanted to join them.’