Five follow Van Persie: Man City and Anfield stars fly out for placenta 'cure'
At least five other Barclays Premier League players have tried the same controversial placenta cure that Robin van Persie hopes will speed his return from an ankle ligament injury. As the Arsenal forward flew to Belgrade on Tuesday in an attempt to cut his recovery from two months to less than three weeks, Sportsmail learned that three Manchester City players and two from Liverpool have already placed themselves in the care of radical physiotherapist Mariana Kovacevic. Alternative remedy: Robin Van Persie suffers the ankle ligament injury that has created quite a stir this week Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong have all taken their search for a remedy to her Belgrade home, and Liverpool midfielders Albert Riera and Yossi Benayoun are believed to have been there yesterday after suffering hamstring injuries against Birmingham a week last Monday. Van Persie was last night thought to be undergoing the controversial procedure that involves massaging liquid from a horse's placenta into the affected area. Sportsmail can reveal that City even flew Kovacevic over to Manchester earlier this month and discussed the possibility of adding her to their medical staff. Wary of publicity and secretive about her methods, she declined their invitation but made it clear she would continue to accept players as patients. Demand for her services has now soared to such an extent that she has recruited a management company to run her affairs. 'She used to treat people in her spare time, but it has started spiralling out of control,' said Zoran Krneta, of Star Management Signings, an English-based company with offices across Europe. 'She is quite secretive about it, but the three main elements are massage, the liquid and maybe a little bit of psychology. 'I'm not sure how much percentage applies to each, but it is effective. 'She receives people in her home, and though there has been some scepticism, she is schooled in physiotherapy. That has always been the essence of her work. Crock squad: Yossi Benayoun and(clockwise, from below right) Albert Riera, Nigel De Jong, Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta 'Hamstrings and muscle injuries are her speciality, but it ispossible she can treat the sort of ankle ligament injury that VanPersie has. 'She is very serious about her work and alwaysexamines a patient before deciding whether to proceed. If she feels itis not appropriate she will not waste their time or take theirpayment.' Another Star Management representative, SamStapleton, said: 'Mariana has been working for a few clubs quietly fora while with very successful results, but now it seems to have beenbrought to the public. She takes what she does very seriously, and thisis reflected in her treatments. She is very family orientated, and herprivacy is of paramount importance to her, her husband and children.' Benayoun feared he would be out for at least a month but is now setting his sights on the Merseyside derby with Everton a week on Sunday after confirming he had visited Kovacevic for treatment, along with Riera. 'I have been in Belgrade to see her, and I am feeling better already,' he said. 'My hope now is that I will be fit in one week, two at the most. I have a good feeling about it.' Van Persie was made aware of Kovacevic's home clinic by Hollandteam-mate Orlando Engelaar after he suffered a partial rupture of ankleligaments against Italy. Engelaar urged Van Persie to bookan appointment after explaining how PSV Eindhoven striker Danko Lazovicwas back playing again after one week, instead of five, followingtreatment by Kovacevic on a damaged hamstring. Ajax strikerMarko Pantelic also visited her, after pulling a thigh muscle againstTwente Enschede earlier this month, and is due to return to action nextweekend, at least three weeks ahead of schedule. Another Serbian player, Groningen's Goran Lovre, hailed her as a 'miracle worker' after taking a long-standing knee complaint to her last February. Acting on the recommendation of fellow Serb Dejan Stankovic, of Inter Milan, the 27-year old ignored a cynical response from Groningen's coaching staff and spent a week having his troublesome knee massaged with placenta fluid. 'She saved my season,' said Lovre. 'I had problems with my knee for two months and the problems were getting worse. I felt increasingly weak. And we have pictures showing the damage in my meniscus and cruciate ligament. 'She treated me five times a day, for seven days. And I must say, it was a miracle. If you saw pictures before the treatment compared with those of after, you wouldn't believe you were seeing the same thing, such is the difference. 'It is incredible what she has done. After one week I felt 100 per cent. The fear is gone. What exactly does she? It is not voodoo or something. She introduces a drug using an electrical device, through radiation. 'She works with players of the Serbian national team. They say that with Mariana Kovacevic, no one else needs a knee operation, and they are right. I always go to her now, for any injury. And she also has a growing reputation with Spanish and Italian clubs.' Sportsmail understands that her methods, using massage and vibration to bring about an improvement to soft tissue injuries in a matter of five to seven days, are increasingly being copied by some Premier League clubs. Fresh placenta is rich in stem cells, which can divide and develop into different types of tissue, like nerve, muscle and bone. Though Kovacevic only massages the placenta fluid on to the surface of the injury, rather than using any injections, she insists ligament injuries like Van Persie's can be remedied and that she has case records to prove it. JAMIE REDKNAPP on the life of an injured footballer: I was like a walking episode of Casualty and tried every cureEduardo insists he is the man to fill Van Persie's boots as Arsenal's goal threatQuackers! Van Persie off to Serbia for bizarre placenta treatment on injuryCrocked Van Persie likely to miss rematch with Man City rival AdebayorARSENAL FC
Related Arsenal News