Top 5 Worst Injuries To Players in Europe During 2013-14 Season

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Top 5 Injuries in Europe During 2013-14 Season

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Injuries in sports are unavoidable, and as any athlete, coach and fan knows, they can strike at any time. A player could be at the top of his game, scoring goals with ease or defending like a brick wall, and then in an instant their season can be over. In every top European league, from the grit of England's Premier League to the flair of Spain's La Liga down to Italy's tactical Serie A, onlookers can only sit by and watch as quality players lose time on the field every week due to injuries.

Of course, not all injuries are season ending, and with the advancements that have been made in physical therapy and diet regimens over the years, players are making it back onto the field quicker than ever. But the physical nature of professional soccer causes severe wear and tear on an athlete's body resulting in a variety of injuries that range from minor to severe.

According to statistics from Australian physiotherapy group Physio Works, 40-45 percent of leg injuries involve the ankle and foot -- something that is obvious to anyone who has ever played the game -- and range in severity. Fortunately, the more serious types of injuries involving knees and heads occur less frequently, with 25 percent of leg injuries affecting knees and 4-22 percent involving players' heads.

Some players do tend to stay healthier than others, either due to luck or meticulous preparation. Soccer fans rarely see players like Cristiano Ronaldo out for extended periods of time while others like Arjen Robben have earned nicknames like "the man of glass" for spending so much time on the treatment table. With that in mind, here are the top 5 worst injuries during the 2013-14 European seasons so far.

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5. Lionel Messi

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Whether you like him or not, Lionel Messi has established himself as one of the best players the world has ever seen, so it always feels like something is missing when he is not on the field scoring goals at will for FC Barcelona. Fortunately for Messi lovers and neutrals alike, the man they call "La Pulga," or the flea in English, has not had many serious injuries.

But after tearing his hamstring back in early November, Barcelona had to make due without their star man for a little less than two months. Despite the injury to their all-time leading goalscorer, Barcelona managed to retain first place in Spain's La Liga, holding off the challenge of the Madrid duo of Atletico and Real Madrid. And guess what he did immediately after taking the field on his return this January? He scored two goals. Typical Messi.

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4. Mario Gomez

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German international Mario Gomez was once the talk of Europe as far as central forwards are concerned before damaging knee ligaments in only his third league game with Italian side Fiorentina in September. Combining size and power with a true poacher's instinct, Gomez scored 75 times in 115 appearances over four years with defending Champions League and Bundesliga champs Bayern Munich.

It was a tough blow for Fiorentina who spent $38.5 million to bring the big German to Florence as he scored two goals in three matches with his new club. It was even tougher for Gomez, though, considering he left Bayern in search of guaranteed playing time ahead of the 2014 World Cup. However, the good news is that after three months out of action, Gomez should be back on the field come February.

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3. Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott
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With Arsenal flying high at the top of the EPL table this season, it was a real blow for manager Arsene Wenger when England international Theo Walcott was stretchered off the field with a torn ACL only a week into 2014. With ACL rehab requiring a minimum of six to eight months of recovery, Walcott will miss both the rest of the season and, more importantly, the World Cup in Brazil.

The only positive about Walcott's injury is that it happened after the opening of the January transfer window, meaning Wenger has the opportunity to either bring in a replacement for the pacey winger or rely on the players he has on the bench. Whatever happens, Arsenal will sorely miss Walcott's blistering speed as they attempt to hold onto top spot in the league.

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2. Giuseppe Rossi

Giuseppe Rossi
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Probably one of the most tragic injuries in recent memory, Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi will spend several months in New York recovering from reoccurring damage to the ACL of his right knee. At only 26, Rossi has already undergone three surgeries since first tearing it back in 2011 while playing for Spanish side Villarreal, missing 18 months in the process.

After returning to to the field with Fiorentina last May, Rossi has been a revelation during the 2013-14 season. He scored 14 goals in 18 appearances, including a hat-trick in a 4-2 home win against league-leading Juventus, which remains their only loss of the season to date.

Although the American-born Rossi is not well liked in the American soccer community due to his decision to play for the Italian national team instead of the U.S., you have to feel for a player who has had such a great return to playing only for it to be cut short once again.

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1. Alexis Ruano

Alexis Ruano
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All of the injuries previously mentioned are certainly painful in their own right, but surely none of them compare to what Getafe's Alexis Ruano went through this past weekend. The 28-year-old central defender experienced a man's worst nightmare in his sides 2-0 Copa Del Rey loss to FC Barcelona when he ruptured veins in his testicle. Unfortunately, that was not a typo.

According to Getafe manager Luis Garcia, Ruano's testicle swelled to the size of a small balloon and their trainer admitted that he has never had to deal with an injury as unusual as this. The less said about this one the better.

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