Johan Djourou: I must accept Hamburg suspension, but it hurts

Former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has told Swiss paper Blick he needs to "accept" his Hamburg exile after being suspended by the club for the rest of the season.

Djourou, who began the campaign as captain, has only featured three times in 2017 and last played in the 8-0 humiliation at Bayern Munich in February.

Earlier this week, Djourou and two of his teammates, Ashton Gotz and Nabil Bahoui, were told they are no longer part of Hamburg's squad.

"It hurts. No doubt about it," Djourou, whose contract expires this summer, said. "Football is not only a job for me but a calling, my passion and my love.

"During my time here, there were eight different coaches and three different sporting directors. All those experiences and the difficult moments tied me to the club."

However, with his time at Hamburg coming to an end, Djourou said he could do nothing but deal with the decision as Hamburg fight against relegation.

"The club made the call, and I have to accept it," he added. "A few weeks ago, I said that I will give it my all for this club until the final day of my contract, and nothing has changed.

"If the club need me, I will be there. We have to avoid relegation."

Hamburg are currently in the relegation playoff place but could fall back into the automatic drop zone with three games to go.