There are some football players who played with injuries, but is it really worth it? Injuries are a part of professional sports that many spectators wish could be erased. They tend to take away the special feeling of a win when important players are out injured because there is always the notion of ‘what if’.
Football players who played with injuries
Sometimes, though, players do their best to carry on with injuries because they know their absence would be detrimental to their team. As hard as it seems, the players on this list did just that and continued on even though their bodies screamed at them to stop.
1. Jude Bellingham
Firstly we have the hottest name in the game currently, Jude Bellingham. The England international is currently heralded as the best player on the planet after scoring 15 goals in his first 16 appearances since joining Real Madrid.
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The bad news for him is that he dislocated his left shoulder in a 0-0 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano on November 5th. He would proceed to finish the game but did not feature in the next two club and international games, instead either on the bench or out of the team entirely.
Last weekend though, Bellingham returned to action in Madrid’s trip to Cadiz, scoring their third goal in a 3-0 win. He did this battling through pain as it was clear to anyone watching, including Cadiz players that his left shoulder was heavily protected. You could even see him on several occasions trying to avoid any contact with the area because it would have resulted in excruciating pain. He was a warrior through it and it will give the Madrid faithful something else about him to fall in love with.
2. Karim Benzema
A former Madridista is up next in Karim Benzema. The Ballon d’Or winner now plies his trade in Saudi Arabia but was once the most feared man in all of Europe due to his leadership and goal-scoring prowess. Many may have noticed that he did all this with a wrap on his right hand. Contrary to what many believe, this wrap is actually there for medical reasons instead of just style.
The Frenchman broke his right pinky finger in a collision with Real Betis defender Marc Bartra during a La Liga match in January 2019. Surgery was required, and doctors told Benzema he would need two months of rehab before being healthy enough to return to the pitch. Benzema however kindly told his doctors to shove it and was back on the pitch in the very next match, playing the full 90 minutes.
Unfortunately, this decision would bite him back as he eventually injured his finger even further but never stopped playing even though he needed further surgery. It may have also turned into a lucky charm as he went on to have the best seasons of his career.
3. Ronaldo Nazario
Another former Madrid legend familiar with injuries was Ronaldo Nazario. His performances as a world-class striker earned him some of the most prestigious comparisons with football legends like Pele and Maradona. One of the most feared strikers of his generation, the World Cup winner made sure that he delivered every single time he stepped foot on the pitch.
However, a fact that isn’t known by many is that the Brazilian legend just hours before the 1998 World Cup final reportedly experienced a ‘fit’, that had foam erupting from his mouth. He was forbidden from playing by the doctors but he too told them to politely back off as he was not going to miss the most important game of his career at the time.
Brazil would end up losing on the back of a terrible performance by Ronaldo leading to massive speculation that his sponsor Nike had forced him to play. However, both Ronaldo and Nike denied all the speculation and the Selecao got their revenge four years later going all the way with a fully fit and firing Ronaldo.
4. Luis Suarez
From one great striker in one era to one who many consider to be the greatest of this era, next up we have the mercurial Luis Suarez. He recently bid farewell to Gremio on the back of scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Vasco de Gama. The 36-year-old is now a free agent and many would assume that his next destination will be Miami to play alongside his best friend Messi, but his knees may have a larger part to play in his decision than he would have liked.
He expressed after the game how he is in so much pain and the president of Gremio would later go on to clarify that the Uruguayan is suffering from osteoarthritis in his right knee. This basically means that Suarez happens to be in constant pain and could even be a candidate for a prosthetic knee.
In a lengthy and sad interview with Sport 890 radio in Uruguay, Suarez explains how difficult it has become for him to even wake up in the morning or play football with his children. He would also say that he needs to take painkillers and injections before games just so that he can play. A truly heartbreaking state of affairs.
Even with his knee hanging on by a thread, Suárez still managed to be productive in his time with Grêmio, scoring 27 goals in 52 appearances. Perhaps against his better judgment, it appears he may try to soldier on for one more ride in Miami.
5. Samuel Umtiti
In 2018, Samuel Umtiti picked up a knee injury that could have been treated with surgery, but he instead opted for conservative treatment and proceeded to play in the 2018 World Cup, which he won with France. However, this choice resulted in the defender spending much of the following season with Barcelona injured.
In hindsight, the defender may have given up his career for the World Cup win given what happened to him with injuries afterwards. French fans surely owe him a token of appreciation for this but whether it was worth it or not is up to him to decide.
The Manchester United striker has been plagued by injuries the last couple of seasons to the point where he has been out more than he has played. He gave a rare interview to a French magazine where he spoke about how difficult it was for him under former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who supposedly pushed the Frenchman to play even when he wasn’t fully fit.
His performances dipped and he was criticized for it, which he accepted, but says he never got any credit for putting his body on the line because nobody knew he did so.
The Manchester United forward is still bitter about the situation and says he felt ‘injustice’ at the criticism his performance received. Now that we know, it could be fair to think that this habit could have led to his increased injuries in recent years. Truly terrible.
7. Bastian Schweinsteiger
We finish off the list with Bayern Munich legend, Bastian Schweinsteiger. The midfielder was an integral part of Bayern Munich’s treble-winning side during the 2012/13 season. Yet, what is less known is that not wanting to miss out on any important matches for the Bavarian side that year, the former German international never revealed that he was playing through the season with a fairly serious ankle injury.
He never spoke a word in regard to the serious nature of the injury and only until after the season it was revealed that he would need surgery to repair the damaged ankle. His efforts surely were not in vain as he now resides in Bavarian history books. A true warrior indeed.
There you have it, 7 players who played on with injuries. Don’t leave just yet, we have a little quiz for you today.
Can you name the World Cup legend who played on with a broken arm in the 1970 tournament?
Let us know in the comments.