Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said he thought he was suffering the effects of post-Interlull travel after his return from Gabon in March.

The striker felt tired during the Gunners 3-0 defeat to Liverpool in early April, but didn’t consider the fact he might have contracted a potentially serious illness.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal, Aubameyang revealed the extent to which malaria had debilitated him.

“I felt just a bit tired, especially against Liverpool but I thought it was just because of the travel,” he said.

“I was feeling very, very bad. I think this was my worst moment of being sick in my life because it was really hard. For three days in a row I had a fever all day and all night, non stop.

“Even the paracetamol and stuff had no effect on this so after that I spoke to the doctor and said I needed to go to the hospital because I had travelled to Africa so maybe it was something like malaria.

“I stayed in hospital for three days, I was really down and I think I lost 4kg, so it was a really bad moment and I think for my family it was a bit scary to see me like this.

“After this I had some good treatment, the stuff did very well and the doctors as well and I am lucky I took it at the right moment because sometimes with malaria if you don’t treat it quickly, you can have big problems.”

The captain estimates he’s at about 90% fitness right now, and did make a goalscoring return against Newcastle on Sunday. With a deficit to overturn tomorrow night against Villarreal, let’s hope what has been a difficult season for Aubameyang can end with a flourish.

Earlier, Mikel Arteta gave his full backing to the 31 year old after he’d been the subject of criticism from certain TV pundits for his – now understandable – sub-par performance against Liverpool.

“My job, my responsibility, is to protect our players and try to get the maximum out of them,” he said.

“We know certain things that the outside world doesn’t know. They can comment but sometimes without knowing all the details, which is a little bit unfair for the people.

“We make decisions that sometimes people are judging but without really knowing the detail. That criticism is part of our job.

“Auba played well [against Newcastle] and he felt much better than the days before.  Obviously, scoring a goal is really important for him as well, so he’s in a good place.

“This game always gives you another opportunity. If you are there, then you are ready for the taking.

“He can turn things around really quickly so hopefully we can see that tomorrow.”

BONUS PODCAST – WHAT THE ‘EK IS GOING ON

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ParteyPants

Been a tough season for Auba in a lot of ways. Epic moment of redemption incoming we hope. COYG.

Jacques

Let’s all support him and hope he can finish the season strongly like last year. He deserves all the best for his preservance after a difficult season with travel issues, family issues, and now this. Looking with glass half-full, I am glad he did not suffer a leg injury that may have limited his running.

Auba brace tomorrow. COYG!

Jarghs

Come on… Hat trick, at least!

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

To our players, give us at least something. Please do not spoil the all-english CL and Europa League finals.

Spanish Gooner

CL is already spoilt I’m afraid

punter

Malaria, its been around for 30million years and claimed about 400,000 people just in 2019. Mind boggles with the damage it has done in the past.

Johnny 4 Hats

A friend of mine got malaria on his gap year and it fucked him for ages. He would suddenly get really tired and just totally bereft of energy.

I did a bit of travelling in Africa and it was drilled into us that malaria tablets had to be taken daily. They gave us seriously messed up dreams but we all were ok. Surprised that a sportsman like Auba wasn’t given preemptive meds for this eventuality.

Goonerink

Malaria meds stop the symptoms afaik rather than stop the illness itself

Johnny 4 Hats

The Sp*rs vaccine I’ve been developing has the same results.

It won’t prevent people supporting them but it will stop them acting like cunts.

magirlyeyes

Good luck with that!

Mpls

Well done. I didn’t know the two could be separated.

JeremyDG

Are Astra Zenica manufacturing them? I hear the vaccine has side effects. Apparently you can turn into a bottle, fall over alot, speak incoherent nonsense and grow stupid dreadlocks.

JeremyDG

You can develop an allergy to shiny metal objects.

Timorous Me

It took until injury time, but eventually you scored the winner.

Chidi

Good save

C.B.

I hope it doesn’t affect their DNA.

Not winning trophies is built in.

Tapps

I’m working on a similar one – but for the playing squad. They will still resemble footballers (from a distance, at least), but won’t actually win anything. I’m in my 13th year of testing, and all is going well.

ArseEpi

Just to clarify for any that may be misled by this comment. Malaria prevention meds are lower doses of those used to treat malaria disease. These meds kill the parasite. The prevention regimen is highly effective when taken. Too bad the rigor for COVID testing the players not extended to ensuring malaria prophylaxis. COYG.

goongot

I never knew malaria was such a big deal. Growing up in india ( third world country it is even if our pm projects us otherwise) every kid has contracted malaria. While it’s indeed a life threatning disease, it’s not taken as seriously as it is in europe.

PeteyB

If you grow up around it, and survive to a good age, you may develop some level of immunity through exposure. That immunity drops off over time, so somebody like Auba who may have a similar attitude to you or I, will have lost some of his natural immunity.
I can fully understand not taking the antimalarials as they can mess you up a bit also, and if you’re careful about avoiding too many bites you have to be pretty unlucky.

Spanish Gooner

Also worth pointing out that Aubameyang is French of Gabonese descent so he would never have been around the disease as a boy and is unlikely to have any kind of natural resistance to it

OurTitA

Dunno which India you’ve grown up in mate but no, not every kid growing up here has been infected with Malaria and it is taken extremely seriously in India too. But yes, our bodies are comparatively more immune to life threatening diseases as we’re exposed to all sorts of pollutants and pathogens from a young age. Also FYI, “The Third World” refered to all the countries that weren’t actively aligned with either the US and their allies or the Soviet Union and their communist allies during the Cold War. So yes India is a “third world” country but then so… Read more »

People in colder climates have very little exposure to malaria, so the thought of contracting a disease with such threatening symptoms is not to be taken lightly. The only disease that has surpassed malaria in terms of annual global death toll is COVID-19. Though I’m willing to bet if you asked people here in the U.K. which out of COVID or malaria would they want to be taken ill by. They’d probably say COVID. Exposure is key I read that if global temperatures continue to rise (current cold weather aside), diseases like Malaria might become a more frequent occurrence in… Read more »

Chidi

It’s because our bodies are already adapted to it. I’m Nigerian and Malaria isn’t so much of a big deal. One is expected to contract it once in a while. Except from the very rare case of someone dying from it which makes you wonder. For the most part, autoimmune response to it has adapted and evolved. Last I had it I only infused extra rest periods into my schedule and few days later was good as new without medication.

I hope his 90% is enough for a hattrick ☺️
COYG

Qwertymonster

The thing is that Malaria needs to be treated really early. The good thing is that in India doctors are very quick to diagnose Malaria symptoms as malaria which reduces the damage.

gunnertron

I don’t ever recall any of our players having had to deal with so many things in a single season. Bar RVP, Diaby (and to a lesser extend Eduardo and Ramsey ) having to constantly fight injury nightmares. I hope this is the last of it and an Auba that’s focused on football and a team that’s set up to support there’s still incredible moments left from him yet.

Eddie Ritchie

Diaby maybe

PeteyB

Santi and his flesh eating bacteria may argue with that

Biggles

Let’s all hope that he continues his recovery, building on the goal against Newcastle, and is fully fit for the semi-final return leg.

JeremyDG

Pour lad has had a rough season. Covid, Arsenal being shit, loss of form, his mum, malaria. Finish with a bang Auba and we’ll sweep the last 12 months under the rug, never to speak of it again.

JeremyDG

with the exception of the fa cup of course

Qwaliteee

Speak of what? The fact that up until the Christmas game against Chelsea, with the inclusion of ESL and Saka, we didn’t have anyone supplying the forwards in the channels.

Auba has had an indifferent season, but our lack of goals return is down to Arteta and his ‘selections’….

Qwaliteee

*ESR

SB Still

ManC and Chelsea in CL finals yuck 🤮

ManU with a foot in the EL finals shit!

We have a foot of the tournament. However, we owe it to the footballing fraternity and need to get to and win the EL final!

Santori

Newcastle a very different team to Villareal. That said, there is reason to just play Auba up top regardless with Laca not an option. Pepe or Marteimlli left, Saka on right, ESR through the middle. I hope Tierney is good so Xhaka and Partey can hold in midfield. Not fond of Xhaka at Lback no fault of his but as mentioned, we’ve seen Chukuweze and how dynamic he is (plus their fullbacks supporting…not sure why we are not using Cedric if Tierney isn’t available. Difficult choice at Rback for me, I’d like to see Bellerin but he has been in… Read more »

The Arsenal

I know he signed a deal for alot of money so people fear another Ozil but i find it alarming just how quick some fans turned on him this season.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

That’s Arsenal fans for you

Daniel

We’ve seen it so many times, our “fans ” are so quick to turn on our players, I hope those who had a go at Auba feel ashamed of themselves, hes had a really shit year, but he’s still doing what he can for the team