Cristiano Ronaldo's heart surgery at 15 almost derailed his career
- Cristiano Ronaldo almost had his dream taken away from his as a 15-year-old.
- As a teenager, Cristiano Ronaldo underwent surgery to fix an irregular heartbeat.
Cristiano Ronaldo has cemented his status as one of the greats of the game, but did you know that the Portuguese international's career could've been over even before it began?
As a youngster, Cristiano Ronaldo had a unique heart condition, as it raced a lot even when he wasn't playing. While his family initially feared that his young career would end rather prematurely, Ronaldo was never bothered by these claims, as he knew he was destined for the top.
Cristiano Ronaldo could have retired prematurely.
In 2009, his mother Dolores Aveiro revealed in an interview that Cristiano Ronaldo has an operation to correct an irregular heartbeat, after which he continued playing without any complications.
"His heart raced a lot when he wasn't running. They used a sort of laser to cauterise the source of the problem. He was operated on in the morning and came out at the end of the afternoon."
"Before we knew exactly what he had, I was worried because there was the possibility of him giving up playing football. But the treatment went well and after some days he was back at training again."
As a 15-year-old, Cristiano Ronaldo didn't let the setback get to him, as he rose through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon rapidly before earning a move to Manchester United. His mother also added that the surgery allowed him to run even faster, as he began to terrorize defenders with his pace, guile and trickery on the ball.
"Cristiano wasn’t very worried - he didn’t take the situation very seriously - but I got a big fright. It seems the treatment allowed him to run even faster!"
While injuries have forced footballers to retire prematurely, a handful of players have saddeningly died on the pitch. In the Premier League era, Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch in 2012 and was rushed to the hospital. The Englishman's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes as per the doctors, who then performed emergency surgery to ensure that he made a full recovery.
Muamba announced his retirement later that year after being advised by medical professionals to do so. Since overcoming poverty and a medical condition as a youngster, Ronaldo's story of hard work and dedication has cemented his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
While Ronaldo's story is sure to have a happy ending whenever he decides to call it quits, it could have been so different when he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat as a 15-year-old.
Aside from winning everything there is to win at club level and the European Championships in Portugal in 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo has a staggering five Ballon d'Or awards to his name. The Portuguese international returned to Italy recently, where he will spend a period in isolation before taking part in socially distance training.
Football has been stopped since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, with the Bundesliga set to resume in a week, the rest of Europe is expected to follow suit when it is safe to do so.