Soccer star weeps for lost career

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A FORMER Sheffield United player sat in tears as his lawyer recounted the allegedly botched operation he claims brought a premature end to his lucrative playing career.

Sharu Naraji, aged 27, is suing top American sports injury specialist Dr K Donald Shelbourne for at least £10m, claiming negligent surgery prevented him plying his trade in England’s top flight.

Mr Naraji, of Bolton, brought his case before London’s High Court today, and listened heartbroken as his lawyer described his vain attempts to return to his former best after the operation in November 2006.

Satinder Hunjan QC, for Mr Naraji, said the promising winger was signed for Sheffield United by Neil Warnock in 2005 and was a ‘star player with special talents’.

But before the club were promoted to the Premiership in 2006, Mr Naraji suffered a injury to his right anterior cruciate ligament which kept him out of action for months.

After researching sports injury specialists, Mr Naraji flew to the Indiana surgery of former NFL team physician Dr Shelbourne in November 2006 for an operation to reconstruct the ligament.

Mr Hunjan said the operation was negligently carried out and, instead of returning to top flight football the following year, Mr Naraji suffered continuing weakness in his right knee despite ‘determined attempts at rehabilitation’.

Mr Naraji, who says he missed out on Iran’s 2006 World Cup squad because of injury, is also making a claim against Manchester-based consultant orthopaedic surgeon Sanjiv Jari, whom he claims should have recommended another operation during subsequent consultations.

Both Dr Shelbourne and Mr Jari deny any breach of duty and dispute any action on their part caused Mr Naraji to miss out on a high-paying football career.

The hearing is due to last for seven days.