The Curious Case of Ivan Klasnic

Nathan WinderContributor IDecember 29, 2009

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Ivan Klasnic (2nd L) of Bolton contests with Aaron Hughes (L), Chris Baird (2nd R) and John Paintsil (R) of Fulham during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Bolton Wanderers at Craven Cottage on November 28, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Ivan Klasnic is a striker, a scorer of goals. Klasnic has scored goals throughout his career starting with St. Pauli of the Bundesliga through his newest stop at Bolton of the English Premier League. His total of six in thirteen appearances is a nice haul for a player who only came into the league on loan in late August, but that only tells part of his story.

Klasnic began his professional career with German side St. Pauli a team located in his hometown of Hamburg. After leading his hometown team to promotion in '00/'01 Klasnic secured a transfer to Bundesliga high fliers Werder Bremen, where after a few injury plagued season he was able to emerge in the '03/'04 season as Bremen took the title.

Success with Bremen and Croatia (he chose to represent Croatia instead of Germany) followed and until he started to feel pain during the fall of 2005 everything was looking up.

As the pain emerged Klasnic realized that something was wrong. When it was believed that he needed an appendectomy blood work was done that revealed kidney issues. Doctors immediately began to treat his condition with drugs but as time went on and his performances dipped it became obvious that more treatment was necessary.

By January of 2007 Klasnic had reached a point where the continuation of his career was in question.

Klasnic managed to overcome the complications of kidney failure while undergoing two kidney transplants. Klasnic's problems began in 2007 when he learned that his kidneys were on the verge of failure. He would have to start dialysis and wait up to five years for a donor, an action that would surely end his career.

The only way for Klasnic to return to the pitch would be through a family transplant. His mother was able to supply a kidney and all seemed positive. A week later Klasnic was informed that the Kidney did not take and he was faced with the prospect of breaking the news to his family.

Fortunately for Klasnic his father was also able to offer his kidney to the star striker, this time the surgery seemed to take. 

If the story ended there it would be impressive, star footballer survives potential kidney failure, but Klasnic was not content with only surviving. Following rehabilitation Klasnic was allowed to return to action for Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, but disputes with the club, particularly the medical staff, led Klasnic to seek a new club.

Through a disappointing season at relegated FC Nantes in France Klasnic was still playing, which in itself was a success. 

In order to continue to play at the highest level Klasnic is on loan this season at Premier League side Bolton Wanderers. He appears to have taken the chance to prove that his form for Werder Bremen and the Croatian National Side is not only in the past.

A haul of half a dozen through 13 games should be seen as a success. If he can keep up his scoring pace he might also perform the small miracle of keeping Bolton in the premiership.