Footballing prodigy has dreams dashed

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A FOOTBALLING prodigy who said his dreams of playing in the Premiership and the World Cup were destroyed by a botched knee operation has had his hopes of a £10m damages payout dashed by a judge.

Sharu Naraji, aged 27, says he was on the cusp of domestic and international stardom in 2005 when he was laid low by a ligament injury suffered during training and which ultimately ended his fledgling career in the game.

The former Sheffield United winger launched a massive compensation claim against leading US sports injury surgeon, K Donald Shelbourne, who carried out a November 2006 operation to reconstruct his cruciate ligament at his Indiania clinic.

But High Court judge Mr Justice Popplewell today refused to award the Bolton-born player a penny - despite finding that the operation had been negligently performed.

Even had the surgery been a complete success, Mr Naraji would probably never again have been able to play football at the highest level, ruled the judge, who added that, in any event, his claim against the surgeon had been brought too late under the law of Indiania.

The judge also rejected claims of negligent aftercare against Mr Shelbourne and exonerated Manchester-based consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Sanjiv Jari - who looked after him after his return to the UK - of all blame for Mr Naraji’s wrecked footballing career.