Staying fit plays a major role in what you can achieve as a footballer, although some did not let even injury stop them on their quests. Here are eight high-profile stars who suffered long spells on the sidelines during their careers, including a player still widely regarded by many as the best striker of all time.
Click through the gallery above to see eight players whose careers took knocks due to injury, according to Transfermarkt.
Some luck is required if you are to reach the top as a professional footballer. Luck, such as a shot deflecting to your advantage on the way to goal, and luck, such as remaining injury-free.
There are few players who suffered with fitness issues and yet are considered among the beautiful game's elite, such as Marco van Basten and Ronaldo Nazario.
Van Basten, who scored plenty of goals at club and international level, was forced to retire at just 31 years old following an injury he picked up at the age of 28. According to Transfermarkt, the Dutchman missed 118 matches due to spells on the sidelines in a career that was glittered with goals and glory.
Brazil icon Ronaldo suffered a similar fate to Van Basten, despite his many achievements. By the time the 1998 FIFA World Cup arrived, the striker was spoken of as the world’s best player even though he was just 21 years old.
Following the disappointment of losing the final of that tournament to France, Ronaldo found further sorrow in the years that followed, during which he ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee. Having hardly played before the 2002 World Cup, the forward returned for his country slower and even more vulnerable to injury, but was still able to inspire the Selecao to victory at the showpiece.
Although he missed 124 club matches through injury in his incredible career, the world is arguably yet to see a No. 9 with his perfect balance of speed and skill.
The recently retired Abou Diaby also features in the gallery, as does former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves – to see the rest of the players, click through the gallery above!
Which of these players would you have loved to see enjoy longer careers? Let us know in the comments section below.