Petr Cech played his second season with Chelsea while suffering two serious shoulder injuries.
The Czech Republic international had already won the Premier League title with the club in the previous season and would go on to help them retain that crown in 2005/6.
"There was one thing I never talked about, and people didn’t know at the time," Cech said in an interview with the Chelsea club website.
"Halfway through my first season at Chelsea, I broke the labrum in my shoulder. I carried on and finished the season.
"It felt like during the summer it would recover. It didn’t! During the second season, I already had a massive problem with my shoulder and I was protecting it. Then, in the first part of my second season, I did exactly the same thing to my other shoulder. So I played my second season with broken shoulders!
"I was trying to get the pain low for the games and find ways to train properly so I didn’t feel the unbelievable pain every day, which was difficult to avoid.
"I thought about having surgery during the second season, but I didn’t want to risk missing the World Cup in Germany that summer. Nobody really knew how long it would take me to come back.
"To my relief I decided to have the surgery after the World Cup. I came back fast from that and I was enjoying games and not having pain while training and moving. A few games later, we played Reading!"
The game against Reading to which he refers, played in October 2006, is infamous. It was one where Cech sustained a fractured skull during a collision with Ireland international Stephen Hunt.
"Nobody knew if I would be able to come back," Cech said.
"There were plenty of questions, and not many answers. In my head I had to prepare for the end of my career. That made me see things in a different way.
"Plan A was to do everything I could to come back. That was my target. But I had a plan B in the back of my head and I was preparing for the worst if I couldn’t come back. If it wasn’t possible, it wasn’t possible."
Just 12 weeks after undergoing surgery, Cech was back playing for Chelsea.
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