Inspiring Ivan Klasnic is the real comeback HERO

Ivan KlasnicTHERE’S been a lot of talk of brave comebacks at the European Championships but, with all due respect to Turkey and their remarkable recovery against the Czech Republic, it pales in comparison to Ivan Klasnic’s own personal battle against the odds.

In January 2007, the Werder Bremen striker was diagnosed with kidney failure and rushed into hospital for a life-saving transplant from his very generous mother. Unfortunately, the Croatian striker’s body wasn’t having anything to do with Mrs Klasnic’s cast-offs and promptly rejected it.

OPERATION

A second operation was carried out, this time with Mr Klasnic senior’s kidney coming on as a late substitute and, thankfully, reaching some kind of accord with his son’s body.

Most people would consider such an episode a very good reason to go into early retirement, but not this young man.

Klasnic returned to training in under six months, was back in the team a month before last Christmas and, last night in Klagenfurt, slammed home the winning goal for his country giving Croatia maximum points in Group B.

All of which, I’m sure you’ll agree, puts those three Turkish goals and football itself, firmly into perspective.

If Poland had shown just a fraction of Klasnic’s determination and bravery, they might have left these Championships with their heads held high. Instead, they sloped off into the night having shrugged their shoulders at the slight chance of qualification and played out time against Croatia’s second string.

The Werder Bremen striker Klasnic, 28, became the first man to play and score at a major football tournament after a kidney transplant. Only very few sportsmen in general have returned to action after such an operation.

“The man who did not give up after pessimistic forecasts and two kidney transplants,” the Index portal says above an interview with Klasnic.

“I’m so happy I was allowed to play again. This miracle that I could runout onto the pitch is my second life in football,” Klasnic said. Hail the real hero….

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