Cancer, blindness and a one-armed duo: Footballers' unusual ailments

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Paul Scholes – Blurred vision in one eye

No introduction is needed for this Manchester United legend. Over two decades at Old Trafford, he amassed over 700 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 155 goals along the way.

He has 11 Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and two Champions League trophies, along with numerous individual awards, to his name.

Scholes initially retired from professional football in 2011, but that only last around six months

And he won half of these despite struggling to overcome blurred vision. Scholes first noticed the problem during a Premier League game against Birmingham back in December 2005.

At the time he stated that he started seeing “four balls coming towards me” instead of just one.

After consulting a number of specialists, he was diagnosed with a blocked vein that was causing bleeding behind his right eye, ordered to take a complete rest from physical activity for six months.

In his return to football the following season, Scholes played his finest season yet, included in the PFA Team of the Year and also shortlisted for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

Scholes was a perennial winner

Best known for his pinpoint cross-field balls and first-time volleys, Scholes initially retired from professional football in 2011, but that only last around six months, returning to the field to help out when the club was beset by injuries.

He then hung up the boots for good in 2013 and is currently a television pundit for BT Sport.

He also co-owns Salford City, alongside ex-United teammates Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, and Singaporean businessman Peter Lim.

David de Gea – Far-sighted, underwent lasik surgery

Admittedly, this is not an ailment per se. But for a goalkeeper in England’s top tier that cost United almost £19 million (S$33.6m) back in 2011, one would expect far-sightedness to be the least of his worries.

His Old Trafford career didn’t start too well, with a string of errors in the first half of the 2011/12 season leading to him being dropped to the bench.

Manchester United then employed a full-time optometrist, based at their training ground, to assess de Gea’s condition.

Interestingly the 26-year-old, who has worn glasses for most of his life and contact lenses when he plays, had already played for Atletico Madrid and Spain’s youth teams despite his vision issues.

Sir Alex Ferguson, though, was not taking any chances. The former manager booked the 1.92m-tall custodian for lasik surgery in the summer of 2012.

Five years on, the surgery must have worked because he only seems to be getting better and is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.