When it was announced on Thursday that Tottenham captain Ledley King was retiring at just 31 years of age, the news was not met shock but with sad sense of resignation.
Like the passing of an old relative, Spurs fans have had a long time to come to terms with the realisation that their star centre-back would not be with them forever.
King was the most gifted English defender of his generation, with an elegant grace and exceptional reading of the game that put most of his contemporaries to shame. It is just a shame that his knees were not similarly reliable.
In a 14-year career, King made just 323 appearances for his one and only club, plus a further 21 for England.
King is perhaps the best example of a highly talented player whose career was significantly curtailed through injury, but he is by no means the only one.
Here is an XI of players who, while managing to have careers at the highest level, will still look back and wonder what might have been.
GK: Chris Kirkland
Kirkland's England debut against Greece in 2006 famously won his father and some friends £10,000 each for a bet they put on when he was just 11 years old. Just as well, because he never played for England again. Recently joined Sheffield Wednesday where, at the age of 31, he is hoping to take his number of league appearances past the 200 mark.
RB: Jonathan Woodgate
Woodgate is shoe-horned in at right-back in this team. But if it was good enough for Stoke manager Tony Pulis last season then it's good enough for Early Doors today. The Middlesbrough defender has been beset by injuries his entire career. He was even injured when Real Madrid bought him in 2004. After not appearing at all in his first season at the Bernabeu, he marked his eventual debut with an own goal and a red card.
CB: Paul McGrath
One of the best players ever to come out of Irish football, McGrath's problems both with alcohol addiction and injury are well-documented. The former Manchester United and Aston Villa centre-back revealed in his book 'Back from the Brink' that he would sometimes try to hold his breath when marking opponents so that they didn't smell booze.
CB: Ledley King
"Oh Ledley, Ledley / He's only got one knee / He's better than John Terry / Oh Ledley, Ledley"
LB: Kieran Gibbs
As with any team, it's important to blend in some youth to go with the experience in the side. Gibbs has long been seen as the long-term left-back at Arsenal, who have never sufficiently replaced Ashley Cole. However, since Gibbs made his professional debut in 2006 — the same year that Cole almost swerved off the road — he has made just 28 league starts for the Gunners.
RM: Owen Hargreaves
Having made just 39 appearances for Manchester United during his four years at Old Trafford, Hargreaves collected a winner's medal in both the Champions League and the Premier League. Surely no player has ever had a better games-to-glory ratio. After just four games for Manchester City last season, Hargreaves is looking for a new club again, so expect another of his exercise videos to pop up online soon.
CM: Jamie Redknapp
He may now be chiefly famous for wearing tight trousers and saying 'literally' and 'Boswinga' a lot for a living, but Redknapp was once a rather good footballer. Far better than his 268 league starts over a 16-year career would suggest, anyway.
CM: Bryan Robson
Robson made more than 450 appearances for Manchester United and won two league titles, but even so you are still left wondering what more could have been achieved had he not spent so much of his 13 years at the club out injured. England fans were left wondering the same when he withdrew early from both the 1986 and 1990 World Cups.
LM: Paul Gascoigne
The archetypal wasted talent. Gazza had the whole world at his feet when he decided to declare war on Gary Charles's knee during the 1991 FA Cup final. His wild and reckless tackle only resulted in him rupturing his own cruciate ligaments, however, and he was never the same player again.
FW: Michael Owen
A young striker who once looked nailed on to become England's all-time top scorer has had his career curtailed by possibly the most fragile hamstrings in football. No doubt he will insist he is fit and ready to play 40 games a season as he searches for a new club, but he has been damaged goods ever since he lamely flopped to the ground against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup.
Arguably the best player of all time never to win the European Cup, the original Ronaldo had some of the peak years of his career at Inter and Real Madrid lost to injury. Not that the comfort eating and partying helped his recovery much of course. But then, two World Cup winner's medals and the record for most goals in the competition is probably some consolation as he embarks on a retirement indulging in buffets and assorted Brazilian beauties.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'm more proud of him (than he is of me). Definitely. He's been through so much in his life. Being misdiagnosed by the doctors then being in a wheelchair for three years after breaking his hip was a lot to go through. But he still managed to battle through it. He's had a tough time. And now he's here." — Swansea forward Scott Sinclair on his brother Martin. The pair are set to become the first brothers to play football in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the same year at this year's London Games.
FOREIGN VIEW: "I was happy with the transfer and sad about my exit from Milan because I experienced there were some strong emotions there. People call me a mercenary, which leaves me upset. I am not making more money at PSG. This is not my fault, I would like to apologise to the fans. This was a difficult situation for me: I did not want to leave Milan, and neither did my family." — Thiago Silva reveals that he was happy at AC Milan and did not want to join Paris Saint-Germain.
COMING UP: We'll be bringing you live coverage of Team GB's Olympic warm-up match against Brazil - featuring plenty of mouth-watering head-to-heads like Neymar v Jack Butland and Hulk v James Tomkins — as well as Manchester City's latest pre-season friendly against Besiktas.
Jim White will be filing his latest blog around lunchtime, while Eurobot has already cranked itself into gear for another's day's dispensing of transfer news.