10 footballers who returned from career threatening injuries

Nothing scares a footballer more than getting injured. It’s indeed every footballer’s nightmare. That’s why some players are reluctant to dive into tackles. Getting injured ruins both the player’s and coach’s plan and more importantly, could ruin a player’s career.

There are many talented players that never remained the same after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Injuries have destroyed the careers of many players. However, there are players that recovered from career-ending injuries. And they are listed below.

#10. Francesco Totti

Francesco Totti

Date of Birth: 27 September 1976
Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Country: Italy
Playing Position: Forward
Retired: 2017

The AS Roma legend is undoubtedly one of the greatest Italian players of all time. Totti played predominantly as a number 10 throughout his career mainly as as an offensive midfield playmaker or as a supporting or deep lying forward behind the main striker. He retired in 2017 after 24 years of playing for Roma. During his career, he once suffered a serious injury when he fractured his left fibula and severed a lot of ligaments in a series match against Empoli. There were reports he would be sidelined for a very long time and that he would never return to his best. However, he did come back powerfully and he was a member of the Italian squad that won the 2006 world cup.

And his performances didn’t suffer after his return. He remained the elegant, world-class, and technically gifted attacking midfielder that we’ve allways known him as.

#9. Roy Keane

Roy Keane

Date of Birth: 10 August 1971
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Country: Ireland
Playing Position: Midfielder
Retired: 2006

Roy Keane is a well-celebrated Manchester United legend. He is renowned for his never give up attitude and leadership skills.

Keane, however, suffered an injury that almost ended his career in the 1997/98 season, an ACL injury. ACL injuries were feared more back then as current modern health care practices and equipments were not available back then to help players recover from the injuries.

Keane would later return to playing the following season and lead United to a historic double. But Keane never forgets. He injured Haland (the guy who gave him the ACL injury). Keane in his 2002 Autobiography stated that he intended to hurt Haland “I’d waited long enough. I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you cunt. And don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries”. Whatever it is you do, don’t offend Roy Keane. He doesn’t forget.

#8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Date of Birth: 3 October 1981
Height: 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Country: Sweden
Playing Position: Striker

“Lions do not recover like humans!” Those were Ibrahimovic’s words when be returned from a cruciate ligament injury many feared would end his career. If you know Ibrahimovic, you’ll know he’s good at making snide remarks at interviews. That’s why he coulddn’t resist saying ‘Lions don’t heal like men’ on his return from the cruciate ligament injury. Ibrahimovic was 35-years-old when he picked up the injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League. Picking such a serious injury at that age will force many players into retirement but Ibrahimovic pulled a rabbit out of a hat when he returned earlier than expected. It’s just simply incredible. Maybe lions don’t heal like humans afterall.

And we hope Lions don’t also get injured like men, as we would love Zlatan to stay injury free and enjoy his football for as long as we can.

#7. Patrick Battiston

Patrick Battiston

Date of Birth: 12 March 1957
Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Country: France
Playing Position: Defender
Retired: Around 1990

Okay, this is one of the most horrific injuries you can see in football. Battiston came off the bench in the 1982 World cup semi-final against West Germany in Seville and was played through on goal by Michel Platini when German Goalkeeper Harald Schumacher ran into him like a locomotive! Schumacher’s seemingly iron head hit Battiston in the face, breaking his bones, removing his teeth and knocking him out cold. Talk about a knockout on the football pitch. Battiston had to be placed on oxygen and Platini later said that he thought that Battiston was dead, because “he had no pulse and looked pale”.

The annoying thing is that the referee did not give a foul talkless of showing the German goalkeeper a card. Schumacher showed no remorse although he later went to apologize personally to Battiston.

#6. Eduardo da Silva

Eduardo da Silva

Date of Birth: 25 February 1983
Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[
Country: Croatia
Playing Position: Forward

There are a number of times when I imagined what some players’ careers would be if they had not suffered severe injuries. All I see most times are potential being fulfilled and world-class performances being displayed week in week out.

Eduardo da Silva joined Arsenal for £7.5 million in 2007 and earned his place in the starting eleven after consistent quality performances. That was supposed to be the beginning of something special for da Silva but a horrific leg injury, which included a broken left fibula and an open dislocation of his left ankle, which he suffered against Birmingham City was the beginning of the end for him. Eduardo’s injury was so graphic that Sky Sports, which was broadcasting the game live, decided not to show replays of the incident.

Eduardo returned to action after almost a year and would later complete a move to Shakhtar in 2010. You can only imagine what his career would look like if he never suffered that devastating injury.

#5. Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw

Date of Birth: 12 July 1995
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Country: England
Playing Position: Defender

Everybody knew Luke Shaw is destined to be a star when he was selected in England’s squad for the 2014 World Cup as a teenager, and he holds the record of being the youngest player to appear at the 2014 tournament.

Manchester United didn’t want to miss out on the promising youngster and paid Southampton a fee rumoured to be around £30 million for his services.

Life was going well for Shaw at Old Trafford until he suffered a double fracture in his leg after a sliding tackle from Hector Moreno in the champions league match against PSV on 15 September 2015. He was attended to by nine medical staff and given oxygen before being stretchered off the pitch.

He returned to action ten months later and his career seems to be back on the right track. He was voted Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year and Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year last season, so it’s safe to say all is well with the Englishman.

#4. Alan Smith

Alan Smith

Date of Birth: 28 October 1980
Height: 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Country: England
Playing Position: Midfielder/Striker
Retired: 2018

Alan Smith is one of those players that never reached fulfilled their potential because of a serious injury. At the beginning of his Manchester United career, Smith was being groomed as the successor to Roy Keane in United’s midfield. The then United Coach, Alex Ferguson once said, “Roy sees characteristics in Alan that he saw in himself as a young player, which could help Alan develop into a very good player in that position.”

But Smith’s injury against Liverpool on 18 February 2006 ensured he would never fulfill his potential. His ankle was severely dislocated after he attempted to block John Arne Risse freekick. He returned to action in 8 months time but he was not the same player he used to be.

#3. Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey

Date of Birth: 26 December 1990
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Country: Wales
Playing Position: Midfielder

Aaron Ramsey is well-loved by Arsenal fans. Until he decided to leave on a free transfer to Italian giants Juventus. Ramsey arrived at Arsenal on a £4.8 million deal as a talented youngster. He was making waves until he suffered a severe double fracture in his lower right leg. Believe it or not, the defender that injured him (Stoke’s City Ryan Shawcross) was in tears after seeing the state Ramsey was. Initially, there was no return date for his injury.

However, it took him nine months to recover from the injury and he was loaned out to Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City to regain his confidence and form. The loan moves paid off as he returned back to Arsenal much better and you pretty know how he turned out.

#2. Petr Cech

Petr Cech

Date of Birth: 20 May 1982
Height: 1.96m
Country: Czech Republic
Playing Position: Goalkeeper
Retired: 2019

Chelsea Legend Petr Cech needs no introduction if you are a fan of the Premier league. He’s regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers to have played in the PL. Cech is famous for wearing a rugby style headguard. He didn’t just start wearing the headguard out of the blue. It was after he suffered a horrific head injury that almost claimed his life.
Cech collided with Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt during a Premier League match against Reading at the Madejski Stadium on 14 October 2006. Hunt hit the goalkeeper on the head with his right knee, and Cech needed to be taken off. The most bizarre thing about that match is that Cech’s replacement, Carlo Cudicini, was also knocked unconscious during the match and Captain John Terry was forced to play as a goalkeeper.

Cech almost died from the injury after doctors were initially unaware of how severe it was. He was hospitalized for some time before he was allowed to go home. He, however, returned to action in three months time and wore a headguard to protect his head until he was completely recovered. He continued to wear the headguard until he retired from football.

#1. Djibril Cisse

Djibril Cisse

Date of Birth: 12 August 1981
Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Country: France
Playing Position: Striker

Cisse completed a £14 million transfer from French club Auxurre to Liverpool after scoring 70 goals in 128 matches. Many expected the striker to continue his development and become a key man for the Reds. However, the striker suffered a devastating injury when playing against Blackburn Rovers on 30 October 2004. Cisse’s leg snapped when contesting for the ball with Blackburn’s Jay Mcevely, breaking his fibula and tibia. The physios told him he could be out for up to 18 months! According to Cisse, it was the hardwork of the medical team that prevented his leg from being amputated.

However, the striker made a triumphant return to football six months later. He scored in Liverpool’s last league match of the season as well as converting his penalty in the 2005 Champions League final. Cisse suffered, but he conquered!


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