It's one of the most tragic things in football.
Seeing a world-class player carried out on a stretcher, not knowing when he will come back and wondering if he will ever be the same again. Injuries are a part of every sport. In football, an injury is especially tough to shake off. It's one of very few sports that require use of one body part almost 100 percent of the time. American football, basketball, baseball, etc. all require multiple body parts. But in football, if your legs aren't working, it destroys your career.
Here are the 12 players most affected by injury in their careers.
Fabregas has been the Gunners most important player in the past few seasons. Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, his knee problems and injury troubles have slowed the team down and left their trophy cabinet empty. The Spaniard is still one of the best players in the world and may be on his way to Barcelona.
When he arrived at Real Madrid, Kaka broke the transfer fee record with a fee of over £50 million pounds. He is still struggling to develop any consistent play at Madrid, and he is becoming one of the biggest transfer mistakes of all time. His injuries have kept him on the sidelines for months at a time. The 2007 Player of the Year will always be remembered in Madrid for his injury troubles.
Gascoigne is one of the best English midfielders of all time. He could really do it all. However, in the 1991 FA Cup Final against Nottingham Forest, he suffered a serious injury and ruptured ligaments in his right knee. When he arrived in Lazio a year later, he suffered a cheekbone injury and another knee injury, which kept him out for an entire year.
Robbie Fowler is the fourth highest goal scorer in Premier League history. During his days in Liverpool, he was a defenders worst nightmare. But he had his own nightmare when his knee injury in the 97-98 season sidelined him for over a year and kept him out of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. If not for his injuries, Fowler could be higher on that goal scorers list.
It's an image I'll never forget. When Eduardo broke his left fibula against Birmingham City, you could see his socks ripping open. When Eduardo returned, he was not the same player he was before. He left the Gunners and went to Ukraine, wondering where he would be if he wasn't injured in that match against Birmingham.
Back problems and a recurring knee injury are the reasons Rob Jones retired with only eight caps for England. He was a world-class left back. He had three operations on his left knee, and he had to leave Liverpool on a free transfer.
These things always seem to happen to Liverpool players, don't they? In October of 2004, Djibril Cisse was challenging a player for the ball, and when his foot got caught in the turf, his leg snapped like a twig. A broken tibia and fibula kept him sidelined for almost an entire season.
After brilliant performances in Bayern Munich, Hargreaves arrived in Manchester United for £17 million pounds. His second season was hampered by injuries, particularly his patellar tendinitis. He's had surgery on both his knees and has been through so much rehabilitation. In May of 2011, Alex Ferguson confirmed that Hargeaves was not offered a contract extension.
A three-time world player of the year, a world champion and a legendary player. Ronaldo's knee problems and weight issues shortened his career, and he's even suffered through hypothyroidism. He retired in 2011, and if not for his injuries, he could have become the greatest goal scorer the sport of football has ever seen.
Yet another Liverpool player. Who can forget when a teenage Michael Owen scored the legendary goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup? It was the start of a disappointing career. Owen suffered thigh injuries, torn knee ligaments, groin injuries and hamstring injuries. But he still managed to win the Ballon d'Or in 2001. How much more could he have won if not for the injuries?
Australia's finest football export, Harry Kewell's career has been riddled with injuries. His famous injury with Liverpool in 2005, another in 2008 and his problems in Galatasaray are all the reasons why he is a free agent today.
A three-time European Footballer of the Year, a FIFA World Player of the Year and 277 spectacular goals, all at 31 years of age. Marco van Basten retired as one of the best players in the world, something very few players can say. His finishing skills, volley strikes and great skill with both few are all part of his attributes. His tactical awareness make him a success as a manager also. Troublesome ankle injuries ended the career of someone who could have risen all the way to the top.