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 By Chris Wright

Asensio joins Higuain, Banega and Mexes in football's strangest injuries

This article has been edited. The original appeared on March 28, 2014.

The Toe Poke was taken aback to find out the reason why Marco Asensio won't play for Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night. 

Madrid's latest sensation has a pimple that prevents him from pulling up his socks!

And it got us thinking about the other weird injuries footballers have suffered down the years. We've deliberately attempted to avoid retreading over the same old yarns (Richard Wright falling out of his loft; Darren Barnard slipping on puppy urine; Dave Beasant dropping the salad cream; Santiago Canizares missing the 2002 World Cup after dropping aftershave on his foot; Svein Grondalen being head-butted into a ditch by a moose ...) in favour of some examples you may not be so familiar with.

10. Adil Rami

While playing for Valencia in 2013, Rami incurred the wrath of the club's fans after ruling himself out of a league game against Espanyol by aggravating an existing foot injury while dancing to "Gangnam Style" at a charity concert.

While throwing some shapes up on the stage, the French defender apparently burst several blisters on his feet that subsequently became infected with a chronic case of disco fever.

9. Michel Jansen

FC Twente manager Jansen was left requiring emergency dentistry after his assistant, Youri Mulder, got a little overexcited while celebrating a goal against Ajax in October 2013 and instead of merely punching the air in celebration, accidentally caught his superior with a swift right hook.

The punch was so forceful that it dislodged one of Jansen's front teeth, sending it out of his mouth and into the middle of the technical area.

8. Juan Obelar

Former Penarol goalkeeper Obelar was on the brink of making his comeback following a self-imposed six-month hiatus from the game when he accidentally lopped off four of his digits while attempting a spot of DIY at home.

"I was doing a few things for my house, putting wood through a plane, and the next thing I know the machine ripped off four fingers," Obelar said.

Suddenly finding his potential new employers had precious little use for a goalkeeper with just a thumb on his right hand, Obelar unsurprisingly had to nix his big comeback and instead retired from the game in November 2013 at age 34.

7. Sascha Bender

Bender, while playing for Stuttgart Kickers in the German second tier, suffered a nasty facial contusion after being punched in the face during a game by teammate Christian Okpala, who explained his violent outburst after the game: "He provoked me by farting all the time."

6. Alan Knill

Former Scunthorpe manager Knill was left traumatised after surviving a potentially devastating collision with a rogue squirrel back in 2012.

As Knill was moving along on his bicycle, the squirrel darted into his path and got caught in his wheel, sending him up and over the top of his handlebars before he landed on his neck.

Thankfully, however, Knill suffered nothing more serious than a few cuts and bruises.

When Knill returned to Scunthorpe as manager of Torquay the following season, his former club were forced to insist that their supporters refrain from dressing up as squirrels in a bid to avoid any unsightly flashback episodes in the away dugout.

5. Gonzalo Higuain

Rumour has it that Higuain, having just signed for Napoli, almost gave owner Aurelio De Laurentiis heart palpitations when it emerged that his €37 million investment had been hospitalised after slipping on the gangplank and falling from a yacht only to land face-first on some rocks off the coast of Capri.

It later came to light that Higuain suffered only a slight knock to the head, with Gazzetta dello Sport confirming that the striker only required "two stitches above his eyebrow and eight along his jaw" after being taken to the hospital in nearby Capilupi.

De Laurentiis, however, was presumably left in need of a full resuscitation.

Marco Asensio got Real Madrid off to a stunning start.
Marco Asensio's bizarre problem means he won't play for Real Madrid against APOEL.

4. Neil Edwards

In April 2004, a game between Rochdale and Scunthorpe had to be delayed for a few minutes when Rochdale keeper Neil Edwards was forced to seek medical attention for possibly the strangest injury to occur while on the field of play.

Edwards had been bitten on the arm by an errant Canada goose that had landed on the pitch at Glanford Park.

3. Ever Banega

Banega somehow managed to run himself over with his own car after failing to apply the handbrake correctly before getting out to fill it up with petrol.

The vehicle rolled backward over the then-Valencia midfielder's foot and fractured both his leg and ankle. He spent the next six months on the sideline as a result. 

2. Philippe Mexes

The French centre-half was forced to sit out AC Milan's 3-0 victory over Celtic at Parkhead in the Champions League group stages in 2014 after being struck down by a problem with his vision caused by, according to Tuttosport, an "overuse of sunbeds."

1. Dusko Krtalica

Remember what we just said about Neil Edwards being able to claim the strangest on-field injury in football history? Well, forget it, because this guy has the title truly sewn up.

Back in June 2013, while playing in an amateur league in Bosnia, 51-year-old goalkeeper Dusko Krtalica complained of headaches during a game that he assumed were the direct result of him knocking his head against the goalpost while diving to make a save.

However, at full time, Krtalica then began experiencing numbness in his left arm and the slurring of his speech. As a matter of caution, he was immediately rushed to a hospital in Kosovo, which is where things took a turn for the weird.

After several tests and X-Rays, it later turned out that Krtalica had played the majority of the game with a bullet burrowed deep in his temple. (An image of the amazing X-Ray is available here.)

Police later suspected the bullet had fallen from the sky after being fired up into the air in celebration at a nearby wedding, with 12 other spent bullets also found in the area around the pitch.

Chris covers the funny side of the game for ESPN FC in the Toe Poke blog.


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