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Hargreaves: I Cried After Last Game For United. It’s A Wonderful Club.

Owen Hargreaves has given a frank interview today in The Daily Mail where he discusses his injury hell as well as his hopes for the future. He doesn’t have an agent and offered to play for United for free this season, showing the measure of the man, and sadly, making his story all the more heart breaking.

The injury started when he was with Bayern Munich and broke his leg. Hargreaves claims that the recovery from that injury was the start of his problems.

“When you suffer an injury like that you go into plaster and you lose a lot of muscle,” he said. “And even when I was finally ready to come back, I probably didn’t have the same bulk. That was probably when I started to damage the patella tendon on the outside of my knee joint. I played 10 straight games for Munich and then one day we did some sprint training and it went pop. It was probably a month before the end of the season. It settled down and I got through the medical at United but now I realise the problem was probably developing quite rapidly. The quadriceps is the shock absorber for the tendon and when the tendon starts to break down it doesn’t have the ability to heal itself. When I joined United I told myself I’m not going to let it bother me. I’m the new guy, there are high expectations, I want to play. The niggle is there so I sit out an England game. We started doing double sessions and my knee flared up. So I dropped out of a few sessions; did a bit of maintenance. But I just lived with the discomfort.”

We’ve seen Ole Gunnar Solksjaer come back from an injury when nobody seemed to believe he could do it, meaning United fans were maybe more patient than most when Hargreaves was attempting to make his return.

Last season, he started against Wolves, much to our surprise, but only lasted five minutes before doing his hamstring when crossing the ball.

“When I walked off the pitch after five minutes in that game against Wolves last season, people must have thought, ‘What is it with this guy? Is he made of fucking glass? Is he kidding?’” he said. “It was my first game in two years. I lasted five minutes before I tore my fucking hamstring. And when I had the scan afterwards there were two tears in my calf, too. Walking off the pitch that day was the longest walk of my life. It took all my energy just to make it back to the dressing-room. It’s my first game in two years, I’ve had a standing ovation and I’ve now got 70,000 people looking at me – millions more on TV – and all I can think is, ‘Try not to limp’. I look like a joker. I wanted to try to keep playing. I think it shows how desperate I was, trying to battle on with two muscle injuries. I wanted to at least get to half-time. But I last five minutes! I’m not an emotional guy but when I finally made it into the dressing-room, I just cried. I was sitting there with one of the physios and I was so overwhelmed. I had put so much into it. For two years I had been visualising the moment in my mind.”

It wasn’t just Hargreaves who was devastated, but his team mates too, with Edwin Van der Sar taking it upon himself to look after our broken midfielder. He went round to his house that evening just to sit and talk with him.

After recovering from that injury, Hargreaves played in a Reserves game and ended up dislocating his shoulder, and that was his season over. His contract expired in the summer.

“I said my goodbyes to the boys before the Champions League final. That was it. I was gone,” he said. “I don’t blame them for letting me go. I can understand it. There comes a point when you have to say this hasn’t worked out. The game has moved on. See you later, all the best. I told the boss I will play 40 games this season. He said he could see me playing again, but he wanted to start bringing the younger players through. When I played for him he was fantastic. He’s a great manager. He knows the players who can win a game for him. He’s the best at that. The guys were great, too. It’s a wonderful club.”

Best of luck, Owen.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. wayne says:

    @Costas,i think it must be the mountain view and the sunshine,keeps us centred,as you can

  2. Corea says:

    Nothing more to say, Classy guy, awesome player on the helthy day.
    Best of luck Owen.

  3. StatesideAussie says:

    It’s a fucking tragedy, is what it is. I will never forget the sight of him tearing Roma apart — I think it ended only 1-0 or something, but it could easily have been another 7-goal thrashing. He was unbelievable that day. And on other days. But in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be.

  4. Supatrice says:

    I think people feeling overwelmingly sorry for him and calling it a “tragedy” need to maybe put it in perspective for a second. Come on people, he has had a great career in football, won the german league, the premier league and has TWO Champions League winners medals to his name as well as being voted one of the best players at a world cup and he is also rich beyond most of our wildest dreams.

    I feel gutted for him, and I hope and believe that leaving UTD wont be the end of the Owen Hargreaves story. There’s not too many players who I wish great success for after leaving UTD but he’s one of them. It’s a shame, but it’s no fucking tragedy!

  5. StatesideAussie says:

    Supatrice … what are you, some sort of god who keeps score of how many awards (and money) an athlete earns and then gets to pass judgement on whether they had enough or not? Yeah, Hargreaves won quite a bit, and earned every piece of it. It wasn’t like it got handed to him on a plate. When you’re born with a gift (or whatever it is that allows one to excel at the highest levels of professional sport), and then your career gets cut short by injury and you miss the 3 or 4 years when you should have been at your absolute peak, that’s tragic, pal. It was not only tragic for him, but for us too, because he was a very special player and there’s no doubt our midfield was greatly weakened without him.

    Some players never quite deliver on their potential. I don’t call that tragic. Some players just go off the rails. I don’t call that tragic, either. But when a brilliant player suffers a career-ending injury, especially when he is only just entering his prime years, then that is a tragedy.

  6. king999 says:

    Supatrice – not everything is measured in terms of money mate. Yes, he’s had a good career and has won a few during his short stint as you list. But the boy had potential to be a great. He was at the right club (obviously), playing in a position with few takers (he’d probably walk into the United squad if fit even today) and was at the peak of his abilities with United too building up to great things. For him to fall short of that due to injury and his persistent fight to get back from it and failing; is nothing short of heartbreaking which ever way you put it.

    He was my favorite player of that Double winning season, despite Ronaldo’s contributions. He brought so much to the team. And kudos to VDS for his mention here, shows there is a big heart underneath that United crest.

  7. parryheid says:

    Did he actually start more than a dozen games for United in any season?.

  8. StatesideAussie says:

    parryheid … trying to be provactive? Or just too lazy or dumb to look it up on wikipedia?

  9. parryheid says:

    Asking a question that bother you or what.

  10. mattos says:

    owen hargreaves.. ma man

  11. ZuluUtd-Malta says:

    I wished that we gave you another last gasp chance to show your fitness but unfortunatly it was’nt to be. We lost one of the best anchor men there is around !
    Good luck Owen & thanks for the memories !!


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