Kolo Toure described his return to competitive action on Wednesday night after a six-month ban as 'special'.
The Ivorian, who was banned for a failed drugs test, made his comeback as captain in Manchester City's 2-0 Carling Cup win over Birmingham City.
"I feel great - it was a special time for me to be back on the pitch," the defender, 30, told the club's website.
"Having been out for six months, it's been really difficult - not doing what I love."
Toure was suspended in March after failing a drugs test, widely reported to have been as a result of taking his wife's slimming pills.
His ban ended earlier this month, on Friday 3 September, and he celebrated his return wearing the armband for Roberto Mancini's side.
"It was the correct decision to choose him as captain," the Italian said after the match. "It's great for him to be back after a year."
Toure, who played the full 90 minutes, made his mark as he cleared Curtis Davies's overhead kick off the line in the first half.
"For me, it was really important to concentrate on the game and win, because I didn't want to start with a loss," the Ivorian added.
He also paid tribute to those who gave him moral support during his ban, including Arsene Wenger - the coach of his former club Arsenal - and the Gunners' former vice-champion David Dein.
"I just want to thank all the people who have supported me during this really hard time," the Ivory Coast international told BBC Sport.
""This football club showed they really liked me. I also want to thank David Dein and Mr Wenger because they have been supporting me and have never let me down."
Toure played under Wenger for seven years at Arsenal, before joining City in 2009.