11 footballers who played through the pain barrier (and definitely, definitely shouldn't have)

Vincent Kompany

Jose Mourinho has regularly questioned the steel of some of his players, but these 11 sacrificed it all to be on the pitch – whether for the team's benefit or for their own glory tends to vary... 

Beckham and Owen shut down in Shizuoka

David Beckham’s metatarsal became the most searched bone on the internet after it was broken by Deportivo La Coruna’s ‘hatchet man’ Aldo Duscher in the Champions League less than two months before the 2002 World Cup. Beckham made it to Japan and South Korea, much to the chagrin of Alex Ferguson, but Becks later admitted: “There were obviously aspects of my game that were not right.”

That much was clear when he leapt over a tackle, which led to a Brazil counter-attack and the equalising goal in the quarter-finals.

Michael Owen had given England the lead that day, but the Liverpool ace later revealed he hadn’t trained all week because of a tight groin and wasn’t able to do things at full pace. England lost 2-1 after Sven-Goran Eriksson bemoaned: “We couldn’t keep the ball.” Not easy to do with two world-class crocks.

Vincent Kompany gets some rearranged face time

The likeable Belgian defender isn't the luckiest with injuries, so you can hardly blame the man when he plays on. In a 2013 World Cup qualifier, the unfortunate stopper crashed into Serbian keeper Vladimir Stojkovic after going up for a corner and coming off worst.

Despite later being diagnosed with a broken nose, a cracked eye socket and mild concussion, the Manchester City star returned to play out the last 60 minutes as Belgium won 2-1 to take first place in the group. Kompany took to Twitter to post his new face with the message: "What wouldn't you do for your country hey?” Commendable bravery, even if FFT really can’t recommend playing with a concussion.

Stuart Pearce gives broken leg the boot

In 1999, England’s most rugged left-back broke his leg after a collision with Micah Hyde of Watford at Upton Park, and yet hobbled on until half-time. West Ham boss Harry Redknapp told reporters after the match that Pearce got his boot back on at the break because he wanted to go out for the second period.

He tried so hard to put his weight on the leg, but there was no way. Even he can't run off such a bad injury

- Harry Redknapp

“Stuart tried to come back for the second half,” Redknapp explained. “He put his boot back on and said 'I'll give it a go'. What an amazing character. He tried so hard to put his weight on the leg, but there was no way. Even he can't run off such a bad injury.”

Six months later, ‘Psycho’ broke the same leg against Southampton and refused to be stretchered off.

Ally Maxwell cannae move but wins the cup

Nicknamed ‘the family final’, this 1991 Scottish Cup decider featured Tommy McLean and brother Jim in direct managerial opposition as Motherwell took on Dundee United. There was nothing overly friendly about how the match eventually played out.

Motherwell were leading 3-1 when keeper Ally Maxwell was kneed in the stomach in a collision with Dundee’s John Clark in the second half. As there were no substitute keepers to call upon, Maxwell had to play on despite significant injuries.

Ally Maxwell

Maxwell will not be beaten (except for the three times he was beaten)

His captain Tom Boyd recalls his own reaction after Dundee United pulled the game back to 3-3: “When Darren Jackson equalised in the last minute, I shouted and screamed at Ally because I thought he had should have come off his line quicker. What none of us realised was the extent of Ally's injury. His ribs and spleen were badly damaged and he could hardly move.”

Yet the story was to have a positive ending for Boyd’s side. After Motherwell’s Steve Kirk scored to make it 4-3 in extra-time, Maxwell stretched to tip a volley from Maurice Malpas over the bar to secure the Cup – before heading to hospital, missing all the celebrations.