Nobody in their right mind wants to see another play injured, major injuries can be devastating to footballers and can potentially end their careers. Unfortunately injuries are a real threat and many are unpredictable. Injuries can hit any player at any point in their career... here are 5 careers plagued by injury.
5. Michael Owen
Michael Owen, the 4th highest goal scorer for the England national team has had his fair share of injury upsets. In 1999 Owen picked up a hamstring injury in a league game against Leeds United, it ended his season and recurred for the future 2 years.
After a successful couple of seasons at Liverpool and a disappointing spell for Real Madrid, Owen found himself at Newcastle and picked up an injury within days of signing for them. Missing the opening of the season. However the worst was yet to come, on 31st December 2005 Owen fractured his metatarsal in a game against Newcastle. 4 months and 2 operations later, Owen was back in action, but not for long.
In the first minute of a World Cup 2006 match against Sweden, Owen injured damaged his cruciate ligament, ending his World Cup before it had even began.
By late 2007, after minor injuries for Owen, including concussion a thigh strain, it was reported Owen needed an urgent operation on a double hernia.
Following surgery, Owen stayed largely injury free, now playing for Manchester United, in March 2010, poor old Owen picked up yet another thigh injury, ruling him out of the rest of the season.
Despite having an impressive career and playing for some of the best clubs in the world, Owen is another that was never truly been as great as he should have. Being a mere 9 goals from equalling England's all time goal scoring record, we will never know if he could ever have reached that, should he remained injury free.
Ronaldo is a modern day footballing legend. Two time World Cup winner, winner of 2 Balon D'ors, the all time leading goal scorer in the FIFA World Cup and countless other individual and team honours. Sometimes it is a wonder how this striker has achieved so much, in a career threatened by persistent knee injuries.
It was at his first club, PSV where his injury woes began. In his second season at the club he tore ligaments in his right knee, causing him to miss most of the season. Despite this setback he still managed a 12 goals in 13 appearances.
After a brief but successful spell at Barcelona, he moved to Inter Milan, where in 1999, he ruptured a tendon in his left knee and required surgery. Lightning struck twice when after 7 minutes into his comeback game from injury, he injured the same knee twice, needing more surgery and a long period of rehabilitation.
Several years and minor injuries later, 2008, now playing for bitter rivals AC Milan, Ronaldo landed awkwardly jumping for a cross, rupturing his left knee ligaments for a third time in his career.
In February 2011 Ronaldo announced his retirement, claiming his body could no longer handle playing football and his repeated injuries had taken its toll.
Ronaldo is an inspiration to all and has incredibly recovered from four potentially career ending injuries and on the way, captured the heart of football fans everywhere and got his name in the history books.
3 Ledley King
Ledley King has had praise heaped on him from many people, including Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, who claims King is "the only defender in the country who was able to get the better of him without committing fouls." However things aren't all rosy for King.
At the start of the 2006 season, fresh from missing the end of the 2005 season due to breaking his metatarsal, King injured his knee in training. Upon his return some months later, he broke his metarsal for the second time. By December 2007, King was under the knife, requiring surgery in attempt to correct his knee injury and in April the club released a statement saying they were planning to rest him for the remainder of the season.
By the start of the 2008 it was apparent King had a problem. A persistent knee injury limits him to a single game a week and only if he doesn't train. It is a massive accomplishment for King, to be the player he is by only performing specialist fitness work during the week, which somewhat limits his progress as a footballer.
2. Owen Hargreaves
Having suffered a torn thigh muscle and a torn calf muscle, within the space of two months back in 2002 then an adductor problem near the end of the season, Hargreaves was very much a first team regular at Bayern Munich by 2006. In 2006 Hargreaves suffered a leg break, resulting in his absence for the majority of Bayern's season.
On a full recovery, Hargreaves won the England Player of the Year award and voted England Player of the World Cup by official FA polls.
After such a successful World Cup, finally finding his feet, Hargreaves signed for Manchester United for £17m. After a successful first season, knee tendon problems limited him to 2 league appearances.
Having visited physiotherapists in London, Sweden and America, Hargreaves, now 30, is still plagued by his injury problem, having made 4 league appearances for United since his first successful first season. Unfortunately, it is another career that has been ruined by injury and had it not been for injury, Hargreaves could have achieved so much more and become the player he was destined to become.
1. Dean Ashton
Poor old Dean Ashton was forever plagued with injury throughout his career. At his first club, Crewe Alexandra he was regarded as a massive prospect, earning caps with England at Under-16, Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 level, despite a disrupted second season with damaged knee ligaments disrupted.
He continued to impress for Norwich City, who spent a club record of £3,000,000 on the striker. Due to an injury which meant him missing an FA cup game, resulting in him not being cup tied, West Ham made an offer, which eventually rose to £7.25m for the striker, the club where he would end his career.
Within a year of joining West Ham, he had been called up to the England squad, however it was not meant to be, as one day before the match, a hard challenge by Shaun Wright Philips broke Ashtons ankle. Ruling Ashton out for a year and a whole premier league season. A year later, he was then recalled up to make his debut, however a sprained knee ligament removed the possibility of him making his debut that game.
Two years later Dean Ashton gained his first and only England cap, a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.
Gianfranco Zola, newly appointed at The Hammers, found Ashton injuring his ankle after his first ever training session under the new manager.
Sadly on the 11th of December 2009, Dean Ashton announced he was retiring at the young age of 26, claiming he never fully recovered from the ankle injury inflicted in training by Shaun Wright Philips all those years ago.