There are only a handful of sports in the world that are more physically demanding than football. Although the modern game punishes footballers for harsh tackles more than ever, career-threatening injuries do occur sometimes. In this article, we will look at five footballers who came back from horrific injuries.
#5 Ronaldo Nazario
During the late 90’s, Ronaldo was widely regarded as the best player in the world. However, a fateful night in which he ruptured his tendon during the 1999/00 season changed his career. He returned four months later but his knee cap burst and Ronaldo could barely walk after this incident. Ronaldo made just 8 appearances for Inter Milan in the 1999/00 season and did not play a single game in the 2000/01 season.
Rumors started circling around that he might not be able to play 90 minutes of football anymore. But much to the joy of every football fan in the world, Ronaldo returned to football before the 2002 World Cup. The Rest, as they say, is history.
#4 Eduardo da Silva
Silva began his career at Dinamo Zagreb and moved to Arsenal in 2007, at the age of 24. In February 2008, Silva’s left fibula broke open after a horrific tackle from Birmingham City defender Martin Taylor. The force of impact resulted in his ankle getting broken. Such was the brutality he suffered that the broadcaster sky sports did not even show pictures of his injury during live TV.
Silva did not feature in any PL game for Arsenal in 2007-08 but finally became fit enough to play 90 minutes in 2008-09. Among footballers who came back from horrific injuries, Silva deserves a special nod.
#3 Djibril Cisse
Cisse was scoring tons of goals in Ligue 1 when Liverpool signed him in 2004. The fans ranked him highly and believed he could replace Michael Owen. But a game against Blackburn Rovers in October 2004 changed his career. While challenged for the ball, Cisse’s leg got caught in the ground and snapped.
Years later Cisse revealed that he would have lost his leg if not for the medical staff of Liverpool. The trainers did not wait for him to get to hospital and pulled back his bone effectively. It was first rumored that he might be out for 18 months. But to everybody’s surprise he returned to action in April 2005 during Liverpool’s UCL tie with Juventus.
#2 Petr Cech
Arguably the most infamous injury in the list belongs to Petr Cech. His famous skull cap is not a fashion statement. It was the only thing that saved him from early retirement. On 14 October 2006, Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt’s right knee hit Cech’s head after a nasty collision. Cech was deemed fit enough to play, a decision widely regretted by many to this day.
The delay in treatment almost cost Cech his life and he did not play any football for the next three months. He suffered intense headaches due to injury and has revealed that he has no memory of the incident.
#1 Santi Cazorla
Cazorla is the most recent example for footballers who came back from horrific injuries. Cazorla injured his right achilles tendon in an UCL tie against Ludogorets in October 2016. Cazorla was operated eight times on the ankle and the affected area also got infected. All of this led to fears that he will never be able to play football again. Cazorla was representing Arsenal during the injury period and the London club released him in 2018.
After nearly two years without playing football, Cazorla took the pitch for Villarreal in August 2018 to huge applause. He currently plays for Al-Sadd after two successful seasons at Villarreal.