Over a decade ago, Brazil and Chelsea defender, Thiago Silva was almost snatched by the hands of death after catching tuberculosis, he has revealed.
Silva, 36, was diagnosed with the bacterial infection while at Dynamo Moscow in 2005.
And at the tender age of 21, he was hospitalised for six months while Russian doctors treated him for the condition.
According to Silva who spoke to AP News, the tuberculosis was so advanced, that doctors even considered removing part of his lungs to ensure he survived.
But his mother, Angela, and wife, Isabelle advised him against removing it.
“That would have ended my career, I needed guardian angels to take me away,” Silva told AP.
Silva was signed by Dynamo from Porto in January, 2005 for a fee of around £3.5m.
Despite not playing a single game for Porto, other than games for the reserve team in the second division, Dynamo signed him.
Silva became very ill, suffering with symptoms including a high temperature, coughing fits and severe sweating.
Doctors conducted a series of tests to determine what was wrong and found out it was tuberculosis, and had been for six months prior to their discovery.
Doctors told him he was two weeks away from death and was extremely lucky he came to the hospital when he did.
“In 2005 I was sent out on loan to Dynamo Moscow, but the city was horrible, I was cold and got ill,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport magazine Sport Week back in 2011.
“I was in hospital for six months. I was 10kg overweight and, despite everyone else in the hospital being so skinny and not wanting to eat, I was always hungry.
“My mother said I didn’t look ill, but I couldn’t move.
“The doctors would tell me to get up and go for a walk, but I couldn’t do it. This disease is also contagious, so I was put in isolation, only able to play computer games and go on the internet.
“Every now and then a doctor would come in and give me an injection, three or four times a day, plus 10-15 pills.
“I eventually found out that I’d had tuberculosis for six months. The doctors said if another two weeks had passed, I might not have been able to recover.
“I almost died. This is why, whenever I play, I think back to those moments in Russia.”
“I had thought of quitting football altogether,” .
“There was another occasion when I went to Flamengo for a trial and after two sessions they said I could go, as I was no better than any of the players they already had.
“I told my mother I didn’t want to play football anymore, as nobody wanted me.
“However, she said in that case I’d have to go work for my brother, so I immediately changed my mind and looked for another club!”
Detailing how she saved her husband’s career, Isabelle said;
“I told them no one would open my husband up and end his dream,” wife Isabelle told AP.
“I am not a doctor, but no one believed he should go through surgery.
“To see him wearing the Brazil shirt is a victory for us all, especially those that know him from those days.”