Former Tottenham Hotspur star Christian Ziege has opened up on how he nearly died while playing for the club.
Ziege joined Spurs in the summer of 2001 from Liverpool, and although he went on to make 47 appearances for the club, the former Germany international saw his contract terminated by mutual consent three years later so he could return to his native homeland.
Linking up with Borussia Mönchengladbach in June 2004, Ziege announced his retirement 16 months later, citing a persistent ankle injury as the reason.
Now head coach of FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in Austria’s third division, the former left-winger has revealed how he endured a Boxing Day to forget in 2002, with his near life-ending experience coming just hours after he was sent off for the second time in four days during a 2-2 draw with Charlton at White Hart Lane.
“I had a dead leg, no big deal. But my thigh was swelling and swelling. I learned later that the blood was trapped between two skins, it had nowhere to go,” Ziege told the Mail .
“I did not want to go to hospital, not at Christmas, but my wife insisted. Thank God she did. By the time we arrived I was unconscious.
“There was pressure on everything inside my body, I was fighting for my life.
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“They opened the leg and it went down like a balloon. But it left a big hole, something went completely wrong. I still suffer now, but I am also lucky. Another 30 minutes and they would have cut off my leg to save me.
“In this moment, you realise that life is so much more than just a football game.”