Marco van Ginkel felt his career was in danger of ending after an infection complicated the Chelsea midfielder’s knee surgery.
Following a strong season on loan at PSV in the Eredivisie, Van Ginkel went under the knife in the summer of 2018.
The Dutchman had to repair his anterior cruciate ligament with a procedure hardly uncommon among top footballers.
But he could never have guessed how long he would spend on the sidelines afterwards.
Van Ginkel, 28, suffered an infection during the original operation and then had to undergo three more surgeries in just six days.
The Netherlands international was on antibiotics for three months and feared his playing days could be cut short.
Marco van Ginkel has been back in action for PSV in the Eredivisie after so much time out with injury
(Image: Pro Shots/Sipa USA)
He told Goal : “It was not 100 per cent, for sure. I think it was 50-50 whether my career would survive.”
Fortunately, after a 983-day road to recovery, Van Ginkel is back fit and playing football once again.
The Chelsea loanee, who has only ever made four appearances for the Blues despite joining them way back in 2013, is now in his third temporary spell with PSV.
Three years ago, however, Van Ginkel could not tell if he would ever be back on a pitch professionally.
Marco van Ginkel has rarely spent any time with Chelsea during nearly eight years on their books
(Image: CHELSEA FC)
“The danger was there that I would lose my career, of course,” Van Ginkel admitted. “Especially after the first week of infection, they didn’t know what the infection was doing inside the joint.
“After three months I reacted well, but it was going to be a tough, tough time to be at the top level again, to come back and play for PSV, Chelsea or whoever. At that moment, it was more about whether I could walk again. Football didn’t matter.
“The infection that came six weeks after my…