Having had surgery on a thigh problem and with his contract expiring, De Melo admits he was worried about what the future held.
After returning to Brazil to work on his recovery, De Melo discovered some real style scoring five goals in 11 matches to justify being handed a contract extension until 2014.
"My footballing career seemed to be over," said the Brazilian striker. "At least that's what a lot of people were saying. But in a way that's what's so exciting about football. Things can happen very quickly, but they can be really good or really bad. No-one thought I would stay at Lille.
"One month after the operation, I started working very hard in the gym. I worked for three and a half hours in the morning and then three and a half hours in the afternoon.
"People think that in Brazil it's all about being a technical player, but I tell you, they work hard in the gym. It's no secret. When I came back to Lille, I had a physiotherapist with me and I continued the extra work with the weights. Now, I have a full gym at home and have kept working over and above the team's regular training sessions."