Injuries that were turning points in careers

Gazza

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Not career ending, but injuries that really changed a player’s trajectory

Michael Owen at Leeds in 1999 - when his hamstring completely went and he collapsed in the middle of a run. He had arguably his best season in 2001/02 but he was never the same player in terms of his explosive pace.

Obvious one would be Ronaldo #9 for Inter, November 1999 vs Lecce, when he did his knee tendon for the first time.

Any others

Edit: There may also be cases of players having serious injuries and coming back even better than before, too.
 

duffer

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Essien went from one of the best midfielders in the league to a utility player.

He tore crutiate ligaments in both knees and had more than 10 knee operations.
 
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nokillingmoths

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Slightly different but the injuries to Rooney, martial and Wilson letting Rashford start for us.

Don't think he becomes a united first team player if that doesn't happen. Can't think of many examples of a player taking a chance better than he did.
 

Lay

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Did Rooney’s injury hamper him? The one where he got before we played Bayern (he played the game basically on one foot)

Falcao’s injury. Was against a lower league team I believe
 

Robbo*

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Not career ending, but injuries that really changed a player’s trajectory

Michael Owen at Leeds in 1999 - when his hamstring completely went and he collapsed in the middle of a run. He had arguably his best season in 2001/02 but he was never the same player in terms of his explosive pace.

Obvious one would be Ronaldo #9 for Inter, November 1999 vs Lecce, when he did his knee tendon for the first time.

Any others

Edit: There may also be cases of players having serious injuries and coming back even better than before, too.
Your namesake was also a good example of this
 

Alemar

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Petr Cech, surely.
 

Chipper

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I was a big fan of El-Shaarawy when he broke through and at one point was picturing him on one side, Bale on the other and how that might work out. 2013-15 he had a lot of injuries and I sometimes think that really stunted his potential. Hard to say for sure, and we'll never know how he would have turned out if not for that. While never becoming the player I thought he might become I reckon he showed good determination to fight back the way he did, making a success of himself with Roma and picking up more caps. I was saddened when he went to China.

For someone with a United connection I always wonder about Giuseppe Rossi.
 

Bojan11

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Didn’t ruin his career but Vidic after that injury against Basel was never the same.
 

Web of Bissaka

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Cristiano Ronaldo 08/09 injuries.

His game change from a flamboyant all-around winger geared for entertainment ---to---> a forward direct machine geared to score exponential record-breaking goals.
 
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Did Rooney’s injury hamper him? The one where he got before we played Bayern (he played the game basically on one foot)
It hampered him for a bit & he had a shit World Cup in 2010 but he went on to have his best season in 11-12 so it didn’t finish him.


Cristiano Ronaldo 08/09 injuries.

His game change from a flamboyant all-around winger geared for entertainment ---to---> a forward direct machine geared to score exponential record-breaking goals.
I’ve always said, Madrid got the goal machine & stat padder, but we got the best of Ronaldo. The man was an outrageously entertaining footballer from about 05-08. Fair play to him for evolving & extending his career by literally years, but he’s never topped his United years in terms of footballing ability.
 

Klopper76

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Luke Shaw was forming a pretty good partner ship on United's left with Depay I seem to remember. Then he had that horrific injury against PSV and it feels like he never fully recovered.

I always wondered what kind of player Sturridge would've been if he'd been able to stay fit for five minutes. He was incredible during 13/14.
 

groovyalbert

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Got to throw a mention in for Ben Thornley.
 

Amarsdd

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Possebon, he looked promising then against Boro I think it went downhill from there
this was around the time when I first started following the United academy and I thought he would be our Fabregas. It was such a heartbreak that he lost all his confidence after that injury and was never the same player again.
 

Web of Bissaka

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Luke Shaw was forming a pretty good partner ship on United's left with Depay I seem to remember. Then he had that horrific injury against PSV and it feels like he never fully recovered.
Good example.

Shaw's game changed from the adventurous attacking LB to a more cautious defensive LB (Mou also have his influence here but I'm sure that horrific injury play at the back of Shaw's mind each time he exert more effort into all-out attacking). Oh well, doesn't matter, his game improved from those experiences and Shaw's game is rightly balance now under Ole (consistently balanced ever since this year 2020).
 

Chief123

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Ruud Van Nistelrooy was probably a positive story. In the summer he was set to move to Utd he tore his ACL just before the move. Ended up being a year out of football and ended up moving the summer after to Utd. He came back a phenomenal player and went on to have an amazing career. Good story. :)
 

Cheech Wizard

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Djibril Cissé for us. Two leg breaks in space of 20 months. Came back too soon in between both injuries. Should have gone on to be our main striker for years after his goal record in France but just had horrible luck with them leg breaks. He wanted to play the striker role but Benitez played him out wide when he recovered before breaking his leg again for France on the day we agreed to loan him out to Marseille. Then he was journeyman ever since.
 

diarm

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Gary Neville's international career probably would've looked a little different if it wasn't for all the injury problems that plagued Rob Jones. Neville was good enough to still have made an impact for England but he certainly wouldn't have had the shirt to himself so easily for so long.
 

Gio

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Ian Durrant’s leg break when he was emerging as a young Scholes-esque prospect.

Jim Beglin’s leg break against Everton.
 

Dave Smith

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Essien went from one of the best midfielders in the league to a utility player.

He tore crutiate ligaments in both knees and had more than 10 knee operations.
I would say Essien is the best example in the past 15 years for an English club.
 

Mogget

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I always wonder how good Diaby could have been if it wasn't for that Dan Smith tackle, which he never really recovered from, and led to him being so injury prone.
 

welshwingwizard

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Ruud van Nistelrooy. He has come out and said the injury which had him out for a season and delayed the united move made him a better player giving him mental strength.
 

RedDevilRoshi

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Will Keane - I remember being very excited about this lad as he was just an absolute goal machine. Think he tore his ACL and was never the same when he came back and was eventually shipped off.
 

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Injuries ruined Hargreaves career. Was fantastic for United and England and then it went to shit with injuries for 3 years.
 

arnie_ni

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I always thought Antonio valencia was a shadow of the player after his leg break against rangers.
 

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Alan Smith had a pretty promising start with us before that horrific injury against Liverpool.

Valencia was never the same after that CL game against Rangers. Before that injury he was imperious down the right.
 

AshRK

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Phil jones but I don't know which injury took his career downwards.
 

Dancfc

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Essien went from one of the best midfielders in the league to a utility player.

He tore crutiate ligaments in both knees and had more than 10 knee operations.
I wouldn't even say that, he was barely PL level when he returned in 10/11, if atall.

His decline was every bit as drastic as Torres' he just didn't make a big money move to draw attention to it.
 

Gazza

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For a positive turning point, see Roy Keane and his cruciate. Came back for the Treble season and then I think his best individual season, 2000/01.
 

Rooney in Paris

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I always wonder how good Diaby could have been if it wasn't for that Dan Smith tackle, which he never really recovered from, and led to him being so injury prone.
Nothing special. He was a decent midfielder, but just kept getting better in Arsenal fans' minds with each injury, when in reality he wasn't that good.
 

Eddy_JukeZ

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It hampered him for a bit & he had a shit World Cup in 2010 but he went on to have his best season in 11-12 so it didn’t finish him.



I’ve always said, Madrid got the goal machine & stat padder, but we got the best of Ronaldo. The man was an outrageously entertaining footballer from about 05-08. Fair play to him for evolving & extending his career by literally years, but he’s never topped his United years in terms of footballing ability.
That's a very bold claim.

His performances in the big games drastically improved once he went to Real.

He changed his game for the better.