Martin Skrtel became a fan favourite during his eight years with Liverpool for many reasons beyond the conventional.
For instance, Mohamed Salah is a huge favourite at Anfield because he is a bona fide goal machine.
For Skrtel, it was all about his bravery and determination and the centre-back never gave anyone an easy game when he was on the pitch.
However, the now-Fenerbache man had a scare whilst playing for his country Slovakia on Sunday evening as they battled Thailand in a friendly.
In the 27th minute, the ball was smashed at the defender’s head from very close range and it actually knocked him out, causing him to swallow his tongue in the process.
Skrtel’s teammates attended to him immediately to pull his tongue out and help him regain consciousness.
Still, Twitter couldn’t believe what Skrtel did next – he carried on playing!
Normally, that’s game over for any player and especially in an international friendly, you’d think the former Liverpool man would have come off. However, he would go on to play another 47 minutes before being withdrawn in the 74th minute.
Pretty crazy, right? We don’t know whether to call him brave, a warrior or stupid!
Upon leaving Anfield in 2016, the Slovakian left a heartfelt Instagram message to all Liverpool fans.
“I would like to say big thanks to all Liverpool fans around the world for the support they been showing to me and my family throughout 8 and half years!
Relieved to hear Martin Skrtel is okay after getting knocked out and swallowing his tongue today pic.twitter.com/dzra8KCyqH
— Ste Carson (@sjrcarson) March 25, 2018
So, Martin Skrtel swallowed his tongue in the 27th minute after being knocked out, then got some treatment and continued the game after being subbed of in the 73rd minute. May not be the sharpest defender, but next to no one have his warrior instinct. Very loveable trait
— Maxi (@MaaxiAngelo) March 25, 2018
“It was pleasure and privilege represent such a massive club as Liverpool FC. The club, city and fans will be in our hearts forever”
Skrtel would also explain why he had to leave the club and head to Turkey.
I was also wishing Skrtel a speedy recovery until I realised that he got knocked out, swallowed his tongue, rescued by teammates, played for 70 odd minutes. Recovery? What recovery? The lad is a beast. Martin'Ninja'Skrtel. #OnceARedAlwaysARed #YNWA
— Phoenix1892❤️ (@MpbYNWA) March 25, 2018
Martin Skrtel got knocked out, his team mate had to pull his tongue out so he didn’t swallow it, got medical assistance, then carried on! Warrior.
— David Whorton (@DavidWhorton) March 25, 2018
“Eight and a half years, that’s a lot,” Skrtel said. “I wanted to change and also want a new challenge. I am thankful to all the managers I worked with at Liverpool.
“Jurgen Klopp is a wonderful person but I feel if I stayed I couldn’t have played like before. I’m a Liverpool fan from now on.
What a man Skrtel is, carried on playing after swallowing his tongue
— KloppGirl (@kop_girl77) March 25, 2018
Praying that Martin Skrtel is okay , apparently he collapsed on the pitch and even stopped breathing till a player revived him , sending love and thoughts to Martin Skrtel and his family get well soon Martin #YNWA 🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴 pic.twitter.com/IhgjifNMt0
— Danny (@DWLFC94) March 25, 2018
“It’d be great if we won two finals last year but these things happen. I hope they’ll win something in the future.”
At least Skrtel appears to be alright – what a brave man.