10 players who played on through injury: Bony, Fabregas, Ronaldo & more

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Footballers are often accused of being soft, but former Arsenal and Manchester City players are among those to have played on through injury.

In an era where footballers are renowned for spending sustained periods of time on the floor when no injury has been sustained – either to waste time or to attempt to draw punishment for an opponent – it is nice to remember there are also times when they show the kind of warrior spirit we all love to see as fans.

Here are some of our favourite examples of courage from players battling through the worst of injuries.

Wilfried Bony

So Bony definitely shouldn’t have played on, having picked up an injury moments after being introduced as a second-half substitute in Swansea’s clash with Leicester.

The Ivorian continued after landing awkwardly, but a scan revealed he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and would miss the rest of the season.

But the club statement commended him for playing on in a hard-earned point so it’s all worth it, eh?

Cesc Fabregas

It’s still not known whether Fabregas fractured his leg in the Barcelona game or even in the previous match against Birmingham.

Whichever way, scoring a penalty against a European giant with a fractured leg is a pretty impressive feat, even if it seemed to worsen the problem.

Jason Roberts

Also playing and scoring with a fractured leg was Wigan’s Roberts way back in 2005. He lined up against Reading in the last game of the Championship season, scoring the second goal in a 3-1 win which sent Latics up to the Premier League.


Just hours before the 1998 World Cup final, star striker Ronaldo reportedly had a fit, and was foaming at the mouth.

Rushed to hospital, Edmundo was pencilled in to play, but ‘The Animal’ was having none of it, and returned against medical advice to start the match.

The incident has sprouted several conspiracy theories, including one which suggests Nike forced Ronaldo to play in the final.

Inevitably, Brazil lost the final to hosts France, though they did manage to make up for it four years later…

Terry Butcher

A famous image to England fans, this injury against Sweden in 1989 is iconic.

Dietmar Hamann

A week after Liverpool’s Champions League victory over AC Milan, Hamann was ordered to have an X-Ray by the German team doctor. Turns out he had a broken foot.

“I can remember when I did it but not how. I was determined to shake it off, despite the discomfort,” Hamann said. “I remember the Liverpool team doctor putting some ice on it afterwards but we were walking on air by then.”

Not only did he break his foot during extra time, but Hamann went on to get the ball rolling by scoring Liverpool’s first penalty in the shoot-out. “All that mattered was that I scored,” he said.

Bert Trautmann

“Hello Fritz, fancy a cup of tea?”

That was the line delivered to German soldier Trautmann when he was captured by British soldiers during the Second World War

Fast forward to 1956, Trautmann is lining up in goal for Manchester City against Birmingham in the FA Cup final. In the 73rd minute, he collided with Peter Murphy, but chose to play on, seeing out his side’s 3-1 victory with some crucial saves.

Visibly crooked when collecting his winners medal, it was discovered that Trautmann had in fact broken his neck in the challenge. “You should be dead,” said the doctor.

Vincent Kompany

The man who always seems to be injured can’t really be blamed for wanting to play through the pain barrier at times, but playing 60 minutes after breaking your nose, cracking your eye socket and suffering concussion is no walk in the park.

Stuart Pearce

Of course Psycho makes an appearance in this list. He broke his leg in the first half of a match between West Ham and Watford, carried on until half-time and even readied himself for the second half.

“He put his boot back on and said ‘I’ll give it a go’,” said manager Harry Redknapp. “Even he can’t run off such a bad injury.”

Six months later, Pearce broke the same leg in a match against Southampton – and refused to be stretchered off.

Martin Palermo

A brilliant story, Palermo suffered a complete tear to his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for Boca Juniors in 1999 – but didn’t know and went on to score his 100th goal in the Argentine top flight in that match.

While still injured, his club reached the quarter-final of the Copa Libertadores, naming Palermo among the substitutes. He came on for the last 15 minutes and scored the goal which sent them into the semi-final – Boca eventually winning the competition.

His bad luck with injuries didn’t end there, though, as while at Villareal he scored and ran to celebrate with supporters, but a wall underneath him collapsed and he suffered a double leg break.

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