Broken dreams

By Jonathan White Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-18 5:03:02

Luke Shaw can look to past players in his bid to return before Euro 2016

Manchester United's Luke Shaw grimaces in pain after being tackled by PSV Eindhoven's Hector Moreno during their Champions League Group B match in Eindhoven, the Netherlands on Tuesday. Photo: IC

As Luke Shaw lay crumpled in a heap in Eindhoven on Tuesday night he probably feared the worst. The prognosis might have been even harder to swallow: A double fracture to the England fullback's right leg following a tackle from the Dutch club's Mexican defender Hector Moreno.

It's unfortunate timing for Shaw. After a debut season where his fitness levels were questioned and he flattered to deceive in a Manchester United shirt, the 19-year-old has been singled out as a star performer for both club and country this season. Shaw had taken the criticism seriously, taking a United trainer to Dubai with him during his summer break, and come back the attacking fullback that the Old Trafford club had paid 30 million pounds ($46.55 million) to pry away from Southampton. He had become first-choice England left back going into next summer's European Championship and was about to test himself against Europe's best in his first-ever Champions League.

Shaw faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines and has vowed to come back stronger. The fact he tweeted that message less than an hour after receiving nine minutes of treatment on the pitch is testament to his determination. He'll have been cheered by the soccer world's well wishes and the way it has looked past club affiliations to rally around in support of him. 

Regardless, it's going to be a long and lonely road to recovery and most estimates are that he will be out of action for at least six months. He faces a wait for the bones to heal before he can even consider returning to match fitness and crossing the white line again. No one can be sure if he will return the same player but there are footballers as unfortunate with injury that have recovered.

Djibril Cisse was out for 164 days (Oct 2004 to Apr 2005)

The Lord of the Manor of Frodsham suffered a double fracture without being challenged after a freak incident at Ewood Park. Cisse defied the odds to return that same season and scored a penalty in the shootout as Liverpool themselves made a comeback against the odds to defeat AC Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul. The Frenchman netted in the FA Cup final the following season when Liverpool went on to beat West Ham United. Still playing at 34, Cisse's career has taken him to Marseille, Lazio and Panathanaikos since leaving Liverpool.

Henrik Larsson was out for 214 days (Oct 1999 - May 2000)

Celtic's record scorer suffered a double fracture after a challenge by Lyon's Serge Blanc in the 1999-2000 Champions League group stages. Larsson returned on the last day of the Scottish Premier League (SPL) season for a cameo against Dundee United. In the summer of 2000 Martin O'Neill arrived at Celtic Park and the rest, as they say, is history. Larsson topscored in the league with 35 goals in 38 matches and won the European Golden Shoe for his exploits. Those goals also won Celtic a domestic treble and he finished the season with an astonishing 53 goals in all competitions. The 2001-02 season saw Larsson retain his top scorer crown in the SPL, and yet again in 2002-03. Barcelona signed the free agent in the summer of 2003 and he was a peripheral figure in his first season before another serious injury struck in November of the following campaign. Larsson missed the majority of the 2004-05 season but returned to assist both goals in Barcelona's defeat of ­Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League final. He returned to his first club, Helsingborgs, and, aside from a very brief loan spell at Manchester United, finished his playing career there in 2009. Larsson is the current Helsingborgs manager.

Bryan Oviedo was out for 242 days (Jan 2014 - Sept 2014)

The Costa Rican fullback was injured while playing for Everton in an FA Cup tie, suffering a clean break to both the tibia and fibula after a tackle. Oviedo's failure to recover in time for Costa Rica's foray to the 2014 FIFA World Cup quarter­finals was sad for a player who had just established himself as a firm favorite of the Goodison Park faithful. Oviedo managed 14 appearances during his comeback season last term but has struggled with injury again this season.

Aaron Ramsey was out for 275 days (Feb 2010 - Nov 2010)

The Welshman's meteoric rise at Arsenal was brought to a halt with a Ryan Shawcross challenge but since returning he has never looked back. Ramsey played his way back into the starting 11 in the 2011-12 season and was named the club's player of the season the following year, a campaign that he capped off with a goal in the FA Cup final win over Hull City. Ramsey also led the Gunners to the FA Cup again last season and has been integral to Wales getting within touching distance of their first major championship in 58 years. No one knows how good Ramsey could have been had he not been sidelined for a season but the 24-year-old has established himself as one of the finest midfielders in the Premier League.

Eduardo was out for 360 days (Feb 2008 - Feb 2009)

Another Arsenal player whose ­career stalled because of an agricultural English defender, the Brazilian-born Croatia international spent a year out of the game following a horror challenge by Birmingham City's Martin Taylor. The incident was so bad that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger called for Taylor to be banned for life and TV would not replay the tackle. Eduardo managed a handful of goals for the Gunners after his return but was never the same player again. He moved to Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2010, where he has now returned after a spell at Brazilian club Flamengo.

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