Borussia Dortmund's Dario Scuderi has officially retired from professional football.
The sad news has emerged this week after the young Italian had spent three years fighting back from a knee injury, which was so horrific it made international headlines and shocked doctors.
The fateful moment came back in 2016 when, during a UEFA Youth League game with Legia Warsaw, he displaced his left knee in the 15th minute after getting his studs stuck in the pitch.
Scuderi was quickly stretched off and images of the injury had many people predicting that he would never play football again.
His surgeon, Michael Strobel, commented at the time: "It [was] the worst injury you could possibly imagine. Pretty much everything tore: the ligaments, all the muscle and tendons."
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Scuderi's terrible injury
However, Scuderi was determined to continue his footballing dream and undertook no less than nine separate surgeries to re-enter the Dortmund fray.
The Italian was remarkably able to make a substitute appearance for the reserves in a 2018 friendly, before making the U23 squad for a competitive game in May.
Scuderi would spend the victory over Wuppertaler SV sat on the bench, but making the team for the first time in 967 days was an impressive feat regardless.
Retiring from football
Nevertheless, it wasn't enough for Scuderi to change his mind about retiring this summer and he has sadly been forced to hang up his boots at 21 years old.
The defender took the decision because of concerns that returning for Dortmund would do further damage to his knee.
There could be little doubting that Scuderi would have made a professional appearance and perhaps even challenged for an Italy cap if injury hadn't robbed him of three years.
Initially moving to Signal Iduna park at the age of 11, the youngster rose through the ranks and played alongside the likes of Felix Passlack in the U19 side.
It was even said that Scuderi had "caught the eye of [then] head coach Thomas Tuchel and [was] highly valued by U19 coach Hannes Wolf due to his versatility."
However, the latest update has confirmed that his Dortmund journey has now ended and that the 21-year-old will be seeking new ventures.
Dortmund have shown their class throughout the whole situation, though, and have long made preparations for the worst case scenario for Scuderi.
As well as giving 100% backing to his rehabilitation, they have funded his studies in Sports Management to maximise his career chances outside of the beautiful game.
Have you ever seen an injury worse than Scuderi's? Have your say in the comments section below.News Now - Sport News