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Injury is part and parcel of the game, but sometimes illness keeps our beloved stars out of the game for many seasons. Today, the Fan Park Crew takes a look at a few players that have returned to the playing field after serious illness.

Eric Abidal – Retired

The Frenchman was a vital part of the Barcelona side under Pep Guardiola, before he was diagnosed with a tumour on his liver. Abidal returned a season later after his illness, and helped his side lift the Champions league.

Darren Fletcher – West Brom

The former Manchester United midfielder was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis – a disease that affects the bowel and colon. The Scottish midfielder missed almost two seasons due to the illness, but is now back playing the beautiful game and recently moved to West Brom.

Antonio Cassano – Free Agent

The former Sampdoria and Roma forward has had a tough career, but has battled through illness to get to the top. The striker suffered with injuries throughout his career and also had brain surgery after being diagnosed with acute cerebral damage.

Jonas Gutierrez - Newcastle United

The Argentine recently made his return to the football field against Manchester United. The versatile midfielder is a legend at St James' Park and battled with testicular cancer for the last year.

Thiago Silva – Paris Saint-Germain

The Brazil and PSG defender was almost forced to retire from the game back in 2005 after being diagnosed with extreme tuberculosis. At the age of 20, Silva was on the verge of quitting the sport until his mother convinced him not too.

Can you name any more players that returned from illness?

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