It happened last Saturday. Valencia midfielder Éver Banega filled his car with petrol and went into the shop to pay. There was just one problem: he'd left the handbrake off. When he came out, his car was rolling away. So he tried to stop it the way a footballer stops a ball -- with his foot. The car crushed his ankle, breaking his fibula. Banega was operated on and although the operation was a success, he will be about of action for six months. Let's be honest: at first it was funny. But when the news hit, you just felt desperately sorry for him. Six months, for goodness' sake. And all because he forgot to leave the handbrake on.
There have been plenty of nasty injuries over the years in Spain: just earlier this season Athletic's Oscar de Marcos needed 25 stitches in his gonads after getting booted in
The thing is, those injuries were different. Those were injuries that were someone else's fault. Banega's wasn't; Banega's was all his own work. And Banega's not the first player in Spain to pick an injury that is, well, frankly a bit silly. He's not even the first Valencia player to do so. And he's not the first Valencia player to try to control something other than the ball ... with disastrous consequences. So let s introduce to you Spain's gallery of ill-fated -- and let's face it, pretty daft -- footballers:
He was a pretty unlucky type, was Cañi. He also had a habit of leaving things in the goal during games ... and sometimes those things were just that little bit too close to the fans behind. He had his favorite towel stolen from one goal -- he even offered a reward for it to be returned, which it was -- and during a game at Real Betis one Christmas, he left his water bottle in the net behind him. By the time the thirsty shot-stopper came to take a drink, the water in it had been replaced with something a little warmer. And a little yellowier too. Charming.
After all, you have to stop your players injuring themselves. Well, you have to try. Trouble is, they'll always find a way.