The 30-year-old Italy international suffered a serious thigh injury in 2012 and has been frustrated in his bid to regain full fitness.

Having been limited to just one appearance since the start of last season, as a substitute against Lazio on November 17 2012, he admits there were times when he doubted his ability to play again.

"It's been hard. To go a year without playing, for someone who is a footballer, is a horrible thing," Pepe told Sky Sport Italia.

"I've been away from the field of play for 362 days, but I've only been missing from the Vinovo training complex on the days when I needed scans.

"I can't think of quitting, though, as there is still a great desire. I did have doubts, I can't deny that, but now there is a good chance that I will return."

Pepe has not set a date for his return, but is optimistic he will soon be available to Juventus.

"The club, from the president to everyone else, have remained close to me in this time. And the Juventus fans have been exceptional," he added.

"I can't tell you when I will be back, but I'm well now and I'm running. We'll evaluate things on a daily basis and then we’ll decide."