Top five rejuvenated crocks
In a week when both Michael Owen and Owen Hargreaves found the net (having found the pitch), OTP celebrates players who have made a triumphant return from the footballing glue factory.
Yes, his injuries and weight issues got the better of him in the end, but his career could have been over in 1999. His knee injury was genuinely career threatening and he suffered a knee injury to the same knee in a comeback match. He was effectively out of action for two years, but returned to fire Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title.
2. Ruud Van Nistelrooy
The Dutch – and luscious-haired – striker had questions about his knee hanging over him even before his move to Manchester United was touted. The ruptured cruciate ligament injury which held up the transfer for a year showed the concerns were not unfounded. Nailed-on to be a big money Old Trafford flop, he instead turned out to be one of the top 10 goalscorers in the club’s history.
3. Jonathan Woodgate
Still too early to get carried away with this one, but it looks very promising for Stoke on the early evidence. The ex-Real Madrid defender has barely been able to string 90 minutes together for Tottenham without breaking down with another injury. One switch to the Britannia Stadium later, and he has been immense at the heart of the Potters’ defence so far.
4. Stephen Carr
The Republic of Ireland international retired from football at the age of 32 after a series of injuries had seen him play little football for Newcastle. He was released in the summer of 2008 and announced he had hung up his boots that December after failing to secure a new club. In February 2009, Birmingham came calling. Carr became the Blues’ captain and led the side to their Carling Cup victory. And he’s still going strong at 35.
5. Djibril Cisse
Considering he has picked up two of the most sickening broken legs ever witnessed on a football pitch, one of which reportedly left him very close to needing an amputation, Cisse is lucky to be walking, never mind still playing football. Despite these two big setbacks, he’s continued to perform at a high level. He forced himself into France’s 2010 World Cup squad (although that turned out not to be the greatest of accolades) and earned a move to Lazio this summer.