This subject must rate near to top of any fans ‘pet hate’ list. A footballer signed with high hopes who spends more time off the pitch than he does on it, as well as taking the clubs money! Here is my very own list of the top 10 ‘sick note’ footballers!
Signed with high expectations, Hargreaves has kept the physio’s happy more than the fans. Undoubtedly missed this season in United’s midfield, the Old Trafford faithful will be happy to hear he has started first team training once again. He has made just 25 appearances for United in the last 2 years and has suffered from ‘jumpers knee’ on four occasions. After seeing American specialist Richard Steadman, the midfielder looks set for a return.
Widely renowned as one of the top 3 players to have ever graced a football pitch, it is staggering to think what the boy from Brazil could have done had his career not been ravaged by injuries. A 17 year old phenomenon, Ronaldo was the best striker in the World. He has previously ruptured all ligaments in both knee’s as well as suffering from cruciate ligament damage. It’s easy to understand why comfort eating come so easy to him but none the less, always managed to score goals. His goal ratio’s at PSV, Inter, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Corinthians are all close to a goal every game. A real legend!
No mention of injury-prone players would be complete without a mention of the original sick note. A number of season’s at Spurs were blighted by injuries. He will be remembered for a fantastic strike which hit both posts and went in for England. Despite the trouble, his career ended on a happy note when he ended up at Bournemouth and on his last game scored in the 88th minute of his last game against Chester City. The general belief was that if Anderton had not struggled so badly with injuries then he could have formed a key part of the England set-up.
The English Ronaldo would be very close to summing up Michael Owen. A top striker who bounced onto the scene at a very young age but has suffered from injuries ever since. The only thing missing is a gap in his teeth. Owen was signed by Newcastle but failed to make a considerable impact due to a number of injuries. Upon relegation he opted to utilise a relegation clause in his contract and joined Manchester United. A Champions League hat-trick and an injury time winner against City had people calling for his selection this summer. His Carling cup goal was soured minutes later when he pulled up, as he has many times before, and was replaced. Out for the season and the World Cup but still determined to come back next season. Michael Owen in a nutshell.
Probably the only footballer playing in a top league for a top 5 side who does not have to train but still gets picked. Despite how it might sound, the case of Ledley King is not an admirable one. The player is so injured that it is believed he cannot play two consecutive games and has to undergo treatment after every game he does. Again, another case of what might have been given his ability to defend with only one fit leg.
Must be up there with Darren Anderton on this note. Harry Kewell spent a big part of his Liverpool career on the treatment table. A surprise starter in the Champions League final against Milan, he was booed off by fans when he pulled up with an injury without completing the first half of the match. Reports suggest the Australian winger cost the Reds £157,554 for every game he played.
Arguably one of the country’s most talented strikers. Had it not been for his injury then I’m fairly sure he would be wearing the number 9 shirt for England this summer. Ashton injured his ankle whilst training for England and failed to recover fully despite a return to the West Ham side. He, presumably reluctantly, took the advice of doctors who suggested retirement and will be a hero at West Ham forever.
Woodgate’s problems first surfaced at Newcastle where he only played 28 games, before he was signed by Real Madrid for £13.4 million, despite still being injured. Woodgate eventually played for Madrid but after only nine appearances, and an early red card on his eventual return for Los Blancos, he was shipped out on a year-long loan to Middlesbrough. Despite an excellent 2007-2008 season he suffered another injury and was replaced by David Wheater. Harry Redknapp brought Woodgate to Spurs for £7 million but, despite scoring the winner in the Carling Cup Final against Chelsea, his career has stalled once again.
The Ghanaian midfielder made a big name for himself at Fenerbahce before falling foul to injuries. His contract with the Turkish giants was cancelled and he found himself desperate for a club. He went on loan at Tottenham but they were reluctant to offer him a contract because of injury worries. Despite these, he still managed to start for Ghana during their World Cup and African Nations qualifying campaign. Currently at Italian side Bologna and hoping to be part of the World Cup squad.
After joining Newcastle from Ipswich for £6million, Dyer suffered his first hamstring injury that would hamper him for years. He eventually found his way to West Ham but, 10 days after his debut, he suffered a severe leg break and was out for the season. In 2009 he again suffered hamstring problems, and is likely to be offloaded this summer unless he can prove his worth in the final games of this season.