5 Famous Football (Soccer) Players Who Tore Their ACL - And Returned

5 Famous Football (Soccer) Players Who Tore Their ACL - And Returned

Soccer (Or football for those of you who don't reside in the USA) is often mentioned when we talk about athletes suffering the dreaded ACL Tear. With all the stopping, starting, quick movements, and tackling, legs and knees are bound to end up in positions that they don't belong in. 

And while ACL Tears are definitely a common occurrence in soccer, the encouraging news is that in this day and age it is perfectly reasonable to expect athletes to return from the injury even better than before.

Here's a list of some famous soccer players who've battled the dreaded ACL Tear. 

Kurt Zouma - Chelsea/France Defender

Kurt Zouma Tears ACL

The Young Frenchman's Season Ended After He Landed Awkwardly Against Manchester United

Hopefully, we’ll see Zouma patrolling the Chelsea back line for years to come.

One of the bright spots of Chelsea's dismal defense of the 2105-2016 Premier title was fullback Kurt Zouma. Patrolling the back with strength and determination, Zouma was quickly settling into his role as a future stalwart of the Chelsea back line, despite the team's all-around atrocious play.

The dreaded ACL Tear struck again during a game against fearsome foes Manchester United. Zouma came down awkwardly on his leg, and that's all it took to tear the knee ligament. The injury was yet another blight upon the Chelsea season-- the young defender was just starting to find his stride as the logical replacement for beloved-yet-aging team captain John Terry.

Fortunately for Zouma, he made a full recovery from the injury and recently returned. Hopefully, we'll see him patrolling the Chelsea back line for years to come.

Update: Happy to report that Zouma has undergone a full recovery and is currently on loan to Stoke City. His form has returned, and he was called up to represent France recently: article here.

Paul Gascoigne - Tottenham/England Striker

Paul Gascoigne

The beloved England International was known for his fiery demeanor. His ill-advised horror tackle led to an unfortunate ACL injury.

English superstar and beloved national player Gascoigne, (affectionately known as "Gazza") was to blame for his own ACL injury after attempting a doom tackle on a Nottingham Forest player during the 1991 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

There's nothing fortunate about tearing the ACL, but the fact was made worse for Gascoigne when you take into consideration that he was just about to complete a move to Italian Giants Lazio from Tottenham.

His untimely injury delayed his transfer to Italy, and some fans and pundits agree he was never the same after the unfortunate injury. Maybe if this injury had occurred in the present day, Gazza would've been able to bounce back more effectively. 

Regardless, this was surely a case of an athlete's passion (and recklessness) resulting in a tough injury. 

Here's an article about the incident from The Daily Mail.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy - Manchester United/The Netherlands Striker

Ruud Van Nilstelrooy

The Dutchman didn't let an ACL tear stop him from becoming one of the most prolific goal scorers in the Premier League.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy will be forever remembered as one of the most prolific strikers of the modern era. The sight of the of the floppy hair Dutchman torching defenses was the stuff of nightmares for opposing fans of Manchester United in the Premier League and Real Madrid of the Spanish Primera Division. 

Although it didn't seem to affect his career negatively, Van Nistelrooy actually suffered an ACL tear of his own while playing for Dutch team PSV. The injury delayed his eventual move to Manchester United, but when he arrived, he arrived with a bang, becoming one of the top goal scorers in The Premier League for years. 

Ruud is another great example of an athlete returning from the dreaded ACL injury to do great things. If he can do it, you can too.

Theo Walcott - Arsenal/England Winger

Theo Walcott

The Arsenal speedster suffered ligament damage to the ACL, but eventually returned to the Arsenal lineup to help lead them to 2 Cup Titles.

Theo Walcott of Arsenal has long show brilliant flashes of potential that had fans of English SuperClub Arsenal salivating for years. Blessed with incredible speed and quickness, Walcott has been slowed throughout his career by a spate of minor and major injuries.

The young Englishman was forced to miss the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to torn ligaments to his ACL. He suffered the injury during a match against North London rivals Tottenham after attempting a tackle on England teammate Danny Rose. 

Fortunately for Arsenal and Walcott himself, Theo made a full recovery and continues to torment opposing defenses, flying in from the wing to lead the Arsenal offensive charge. 

Here's more on Walcott's 2014 injury.

Francesco Totti - Roma/Italy Striker


Francesco Totti

The Roma Captain returned from an ACL Tear to continue to anchor the Italian Club.

The name Fancesco Totti is virtually synonumous with Roma, the famous soccer team that inhabits "The Eternal City." Totti played his entire career for Roma, and his incredible tenure earned him recognition as one of the greatest Captains to play the game.

Totti is another example of a player who shook off the dreaded ACL injury to regain his former level of play. After tearing his ACL at the end of the 07-08 season, the Italian striker came back to continue his run as the go-to guy for I Luppi.

Why Do Female Athletes Have A Higher Risk of ACL Tears and How Can ACL Tears in Women Be Prevented?

Why Do Female Athletes Have A Higher Risk of ACL Tears and How Can ACL Tears in Women Be Prevented?

How Often Does a Second ACL Tear Occur & Famous Athletes Who Tore Their ACL Twice

How Often Does a Second ACL Tear Occur & Famous Athletes Who Tore Their ACL Twice