The game of football can give ecstasy and agony in equal measures. Footballers can touch the sky or hit rock bottom depending on which way fate swings for them.
Injuries, especially recurrent ones, are some of the persistent scourges in the lives of professional footballers the world over that have led to many dreams being shattered. From Marco van Basten calling time on his career at 28 to Michael Ballack missing out on a home World Cup, injuries have broken many hearts and shattered many dreams.
In this article, we will take a look at five world-class footballers, active and retired, who have struggled with persistent injuries that have stopped them from reaching even greater heights.
5 great players who have struggled with recurring injuries
#5 Arjen Robben
Arjen Robben, one of the greatest wingers of the contemporary game, was at his best during a lengthy trophy-laden spell at Bayern Munich where he famously teamed up with French winger Franck Ribery.
However, Robben could have succeeded at many more clubs had he not been beset by injuries so often in his career.
The Dutchman struggled with a plethora of injuries while at Chelsea; broken bones, ankle issues and hamstring injuries riddling his stay in London. He could have been a huge success as a Galactico as well, but his Real Madrid career failed because of this unfortunate proclivity.
Despite all his success at Bayern Munich, Robben's stay in Bavaria was also marred by a series of injuries, including a recurrent issue with his hamstring.
#4 Thiago Alcantara
The midfield maestro played a stellar role in Bayern Munich's Champions League triumph last season and has now embarked on a new challenge at English champions Liverpool.
However, Alcantara could have been one of the greatest midfielders of all time had he not been injured so often. At the start of his career at Liverpool, he was sidelined for the Arsenal game in the weekend and has now tested positive for COVID-19.
Thiago Alcantara had been injured more than 20 times during his stay at Bayern Munich. In fact, he missed 74 games in seven seasons due to injuries at the Bavarian giants.
Now on the wrong side of 30, Alcantara's prime years are possibly behind him, and sadly they were all injury-riddled. Thus, despite the quality he has demonstrated over the years, the former Barcelona player's potential has not been completely fulfilled due to his long tryst with injuries.