8. Cristian Chivu
When Cristian Chivu fractured his skull in January, it was unclear whether he would survive, let alone ever play football again. In May, he and his Inter teammates won the Champions League final.
7. Carlos Tevez
As a child, Carlos Tevez was scalded by hot water, leaving him with a scar running from his right ear to his chest. When he transferred from Manchester United to town rivals Manchester City in 2009, it was rumoured that the fee was a record-breaking £45 million.
6. Steve Ogrizovic
Coventry goalkeeper Steve Ogrizovic was not afraid to nose-dive into a tackle, and had the nose to prove it. Widely considered one of the greatest keepers of his time, he was never picked to play for England, perhaps because of his foreign-sounding name.
In spite of his rather bizarre teeth alignment, Ronaldinho has never been afraid to flash a broad, winning smile. Then again, he’s had a lot to smile about, having been named FIFA World Player of the Year twice.
4. Franck Ribery
At the age of two, Franck Ribery was in a car crash with his family. It took over a hundred stitches to patch him up after the accident. Franz Beckenbauer today puts him on a par with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
3. Petr Cech
When Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech fractured his scull during a 2006 game, doctors told him that another hit could kill him. Cech said screw that, and had a special helmet constructed. He is still playing, and is by many considered the best goalkeeper in the world.
2. Robert Schlienz
Driving to a game in 1948, Robert Schlienz carelessly let his arm hang out the window. When he hit a pothole, the car overturned and his arm was damaged beyond repair. After amputating one arm, most players would have retired, but Schlienz kept playing. He went on to become captain of his team Stuttgart, won two national championships, and even played three games for Germany.
Garrincha won the World Cup twice with Brazil, making top scorer and player of the tournament the second time around. So what, you might say, he pales in comparison to teammate Pele. That may be, but then again Pele wasn’t born with a deformed spine, a right leg bent inwards, and a left leg six centimetres shorter than the other, and curved outwards. Garrincha was.
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