3 Valiant Warriors Who Died But Immediately Returned And Secured Glory

Like Lazarus of Bethany before them, these three footballers overcame the greatest enemy of humanity — death.

Last week, there was a horrific moment in the Champions League when Real Madrid left back Marcelo shattered his arm while unleashing a blood-curdling scream that was captured by live television cameras. Millions of viewers at home thought they were going to be sick.

Why do soccer players flop?

"I'm not gonna make it!" Photo: @IndyFootball | Twitter

But what happened next was the stuff of legend. Moments later, Marcelo fused his own arm back together and delivered a gobsmacking ball for Cristiano Ronaldo to waste. It was the most noble play on record. 

With that as our inspiration, here are three other times when knightly footballers braved death and boldly delivered the goods.  

3 Times Soccer Players Rose From The Dead Like Lazarus

#3. Neymar Scores Fastest Olympic Goal, But The Speed Almost Kills Him. Almost.

Why do soccer players flop?

"My insides! . . . Have some, Honduras!" Photo: @FIFAbyWordLink | Twitter

Brazil wanted to win gold in the football at the 2016 Olympic Games. They wanted that U-23 tournament so badly that they included Barcelona star Neymar as one of their three over-age players. That was the right call to make. 

Neymar graciously accepted the invite, because he is gallant and honorable — the protagonist of our story. 

In the semifinals of the tournament, Brazil came up against a massively unfavored Honduras side. Neymar promptly scored the fastest goal in Olympic history, clocking in at just 14 seconds. However, the sheer speed of the righteous attack caused something inside Neymar’s chest to die.

He was stretchered off as the 52,000 inside the Maracana began to beat their breasts, tear their garments and weep for the Brazilian Adonis. But no less than 60 seconds later, the lionhearted winger strode forth onto the pitch after putting all of his intestines back in order.

He would then register two assists and another goal in Brazil’s 6-0 victory. Valorous. 

#2. Rivaldo’s Recovery From Having His Head Crushed 

Why do soccer players flop?

"As I lay dying . . . Have some, China!" Photo: @bettingslip | Twitter

With Brazil holding a slender 2-1 lead over Turkey in their 2002 World Cup Group C opener, Turkish midfielder Hakan Unsal became annoyed with Rivaldo over the amount of time he was wasting before a corner kick in the 94th minute. 

Unsal leathered one into Rivaldo’s knee/thigh — a message to get on with things. However, the contact with the Brazilian’s leg caused his face to explode in agony. Withering on the ground like a discarded Doritos bag caught against a chainlink fence on a blustery autumn day, many feared for the No. 10’s life.

Referee Kim Young-joo issued a second yellow to Unsal, suspending him for Turkey’s next match against Costa Rica. 

Brazil had their second group match only five days later against China, but would the Barcelona star recover from his nasty facial wound in time? 

Yes. He would orchestrate Brazil’s 4-0 victory, scoring the second from a Ronaldinho pass and playing a large role in the fourth. Samba Warrior. 

#1. Inner Valencia Is Carted Off, Evades Police Capture, Returns To Score A Brace

Why do soccer players flop?

"I can't breath! . . . I'm having a baby!" Photo: @marcadorec | Twitter

This is the greatest hero story ever told. Step aside Theseus, Odysseus, Jesus and Gautama Buddha, here we have a true hero venturing forth from the world of common day and into a region of supernatural wonder, returning to bestow the boons of his decisive victory on mankind. 

Let’s set the stage: It’s October 6, 2016. A Thursday. Ecuador are hosting Chile in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Quito. La Tricolor have started qualifying strongly, and now they're hammering Chile, the back-to-back Copa America champions, 3-0 in front of a delighted home crowd of over 30,000.

In the 82nd minute, Enner Valencia goes down. It’s bad. He needs to be stretchered off the field with an oxygen mask over his face. He’s then placed on a cart that makes its way towards an ambulance. This is horrific.

But what’s this?! His cart is being chased by a police battalion! There’s an arrest warrant for Valencia in Ecuador due to a dispute over unpaid child support fees, and our valiant Everton attacker is now under even more duress. 

Amazingly, our hero’s journey continues as he escapes capture, gets loaded onto the ambulance and clears out! 

Later that day, although the judicial process continues, Valencia’s arrest warrant is revoked, allowing him to return to the national team camp. But with a match against Bolivia in La Paz only five days later, will the chivalrous Valencia recover in time? 

Yes! Valencia recovers from his mysterious ailment (the burden of being a sire) and scores a brace at the vaunted Estadio Hernando Siles, including Ecuador’s equalizer in the 88th minute! Fatherhood. 

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