Emmanuel Adebayor expects six months at Real Madrid to offer the best chance to get back to his best after Manchester City lost confidence in the striker.
Adebayor agreed to a six-month loan spell with the Spanish giant after falling out of favor of Roberto Mancini's squad at City, and sees his time in Madrid as a make-or-break moment.
Adebayor failed to find his best form since leaving Arsenal in 2008 and acknowledged that the trauma of a deadly attack on the Togo team bus by masked gunmen at last year's African Cup of Nations has affected his play.
"It's true I had ups and down and I was almost dead too, and I was a little bit traumatized by all those things," Adebayor said Thursday at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium. "(But) all those things are behind me. 2010 started very badly for me and 2011 has started very well. I have to be very happy."
Madrid has an option to buy Adebayor at the end of the season, meaning the striker has extra incentive to put on an impressive performance. And with the change of scenery and chance for increased playing time, he expects to flourish.
"I'm a footballer and all that I need is to play football and to be on the pitch and playing," Adebayor said. "I don't think there were a a lot of things wrong (at City), I just think (Mancini) lost confidence in me."
Madrid acquired Adebayor to help fill a hole in attack with Gonzalo Higuain injured and Karim Benzema struggling recently.
Benzema seemed to respond to the pressure as he scored both game-winning goals in Madrid's last two victories, including Wednesday's classy strike in a 1-0 Copa del Rey win at Sevilla.
"I'm not here to replace anybody, I'm just here to play my football," the 26-year-old Adebayor said. "I have to score goals and make things happen."
Adebayor had already been in touch with coach Jose Mourinho, and he trained with Madrid's B-team on Thursday under the watchful eye of Zinedine Zidane. He could make his debut in Madrid's league game against Osasuna on Sunday.
"I'll take my time to learn about (the league) and see how I feel," said Adebayor, who also confirmed he was on the verge of joining Madrid rival Barcelona before City. "Everyone in this league is good so I have to raise my game as well."
Adebayor's arrival was seen as a victory for Mourinho as the Portuguese coach insisted the squad needed another striker while director general Jorge Valdano said the team had enough options to last the season.
Valdano, who attended the player presentation, would not answer questions about his relationship with Mourinho.
After the Sevilla win, Valdano was asked about reports that he will start traveling separately from the team.
"If we need a little more distance between ourselves so he feels more comfortable then I'll give it to him," Valdano said after the game. "What it's about is that (Mourinho) can do his work with total liberty."
Madrid trails Barcelona by four points in the league table and is on the verge of reaching the domestic cup final, where Barcelona is likely to await.
Adebayor offers a physical presence inside the box similar to Didier Drogba, who was one of the catalysts for Mourinho's successful spell at Chelsea.
The 2008 African Footballer of the Year, who also played at Monaco, scored 62 domestic goals in three years at Arsenal before heading to City in a reported 25-million pound (then $41 million) transfer.
Adebayor, who retired from playing for Togo after the bus attack, scored 19 goals in 36 appearances for City.