10 players who rejuvenated their self-worth
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Van Nistelrooy almost did not make the jump from the Eredivisie to the Premier League.
The Dutchman was about to complete an £18.5 million transfer to Manchester United in 2000, but the move was postponed and then cancelled after he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury that year.
But in 2001, Van Nistelrooy signed a five-year contract after passing his medical and went on to become one of the most clinical strikers to have ever featured for the Red Devils.
Cech’s shuddering collision with the knee of Reading’s Stephen Hunt in 2006 shocked the Premier League as the goalkeeper suffered a fractured skull and had to undergo emergency surgery.
While some had doubts over how the injury would affect the solid custodian, it hasn’t stopped Cech, who now wears protective head gear on the pitch and is still a safe pair of hands over a decade later for new club Arsenal.
Vision would be something all football fans would associate with Paul Scholes, who always had an eye for the pass as a Manchester United player.
But after experiencing blurred vision in a game against Birmingham City in late 2005, Scholes was diagnosed with a blocked vein that was causing bleeding behind his right eye, missing half of that season.
The injury mattered little though, as the ginger wizard returned and continued to turn in excellent performances.
The man known affectionately as Spiderman, for putting on a Spidey mask during his goal celebrations, made a swinging comeback after recovering from testicular cancer.
After chemotherapy, the winger made a full recovery. A fan favourite among the Toon Army faithful, he has since left Newcastle United and now plies his trade in Argentina with Independiente.
The former Barcelona defender discovered a tumour in his liver in 2011 and after an operation, returned to playing within just two months.
But his cancer returned again and he had to undergo a liver transplant from his cousin the following year.
Abidal went on to feature for Monaco and Olympiacos and set up the Eric Abidal Foundation to give back and raise awareness about cancer.
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The Swede made his name at Celtic and was a cult figure as he banged in the goals for the Hoops, but a horrific broken leg in 1999 against Lyon could have even ended his career.
Larsson recovered and came back even stronger, however, winning the European Golden Shoe in 2001 after leading Celtic to a domestic treble.
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While some players have been unfortunate enough to break one leg, Cisse broke both of his legs in separate instances.
The Frenchman broke his left leg in action for Liverpool in 2004 and then his right when playing for his national side in 2006.
But despite his injury woes, the striker went on to play for Marseille, Lazio and Panathinaikos, among other teams.
Now an important part of Antonio Conte’s side, Moses has flourished in the right-wing back position.
But that is a far cry from his days spent on loan at Liverpool, Stoke and West Ham, where Moses struggled to impress.
This abrupt change in fortunes could be attributed to the faith that Conte has placed in him, transforming him into a player who now has no lack of confidence and helped the Blues win last season’s EPL crown.
Salah’s stunning career comeback at Fiorentina, Roma and Liverpool is made all the more impressive given how he had flattered to deceive as a Chelsea player.
Salah was brought in from Basel to fill the gap vacated by the departing Juan Mata but only lasted one season after earning few opportunities.
The Egyptian impressed in Italy and has been catching the eye at Liverpool, proving that he has still much to offer for the Reds.
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The ultimate pantomime villain, Suarez’s struggles were all of his own making more than anything, having sunk his teeth into three different opponents on as many occasions.
His first offence was while playing for Ajax, the second while featuring for Liverpool and the last while representing Uruguay at the World Cup.
But the tricky forward has kept away from biting opponents at Barcelona and his appetite for goals have made him a key part of the club’s attack.
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