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THE LIST: Sportsmail's 50 most memorable sporting comebacks - Nos 40-31

09 Mar 2010 00:03:14

THE LIST: Sportsmail's 50 most memorable sporting comebacks - Nos 40-31

HAVE YOUR SAY...     Which star made the best comeback - and who shouldn't have bothered? Always leave them wanting more, so they say. To coincide with Michael Schumacher's return to F1, The List presents our 50 favourite comebacks, be they good or bad. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK Always leave them wanting more was Walt Disney's old adage. But insport as in showbusiness, some performers just can't help themselves. MichaelSchumacher hung up his racesuit at the end of the 2006 season, bowingout of Formula One as a seven-time motorsport legend. But itwasn't enough of a legacy to keep him off the track for good. The41-year-old is relishing a return for Mercedes and it remains to beseen whether it will be a heroic return, or one to sully his greatreputation. To mark the occasion, Sportsmail celebrates our favourite comebacks, be they good or bad. As always, we reveal 10 each day through the week till our No 1 is revealed on Friday. And we want you to get involved and have your say. Read Nos 50-4140 Steve Thompson On April 15, 2007 England hooker and 2003 World Cup winner Thompson announced his retirement from rugby due to a neck injury sustained during Northampton's Heineken Cup pool match with Biarritz at Franklins Gardens three months earlier. He took a pay-off but after surgery felt strong enough to start playing again for French side Brive and was recalled to the England squad in 2009 - where he's stayed ever since. Going strong: Thompson is still playing at the top level 39 Neil HarrisDiagnosed with testicular cancer in the summer of 2001 just after he'd helped Millwall win League One, Harris was out of football for six months while he had treatment. Returned on New Year's Day with a goal at Watford, was sold by manager Dennis Wise in 2004 but returned to the The Den three years later, broke Teddy Sheringham's goal-scoring record at the club - and has just signed a new deal to stay with the Lions until 2012. On the mark: Harris (No 9) scores against MK Dons last month 38 Fiorentina Formed in 1926, the Italian giants went bankrupt in 2002 and reformed as Florentia Viola, and started in the bottom division. Now back in the top flight after a series of promotions, they are also in the latter stages of the Champions League. Purple patch: Fiorentina are back mixing it with the big boys of the game 37 Tedy Bruschi On February 16, 2005, just days after playing in the 2005 Pro Bowl,New England Patriots linebacker Bruschi was taken to hospital with symptoms including temporarynumbness, blurred vision, and headaches - he was diagnosed with amild stroke. Eight months later to the day  Bruschiwas medically cleared to resume playing football and rejoined theteam on the practice field three days later. He played on until 2008. 36 Martina Navratilova One of the true tennis greats having won 18 singles Grand Slamtitles and a record 31 women's doubles titles, Navratilova retired in1994. On her comeback, although she had limited success in singles, she won the mixeddoubles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2003 and she didbecome the oldest player to win a professional match in the Open era at47 years and 8 months. Went on to win 167 singles titles and 177 at doubles, records for both. New England hero: Bruschi Record breaker: Navratilova 35 Zinedine ZidaneHelped France win the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 before retiring after Euro 2004. France looked tame without him so he came back in September  2005 to breathe life into a flagging World Cup campaign. Helped them qualify, then reach the final - before getting sent off for head butting Italy's Marco Materazzi in a final Les Bleus lost on penalties. On the Marco: Zidane floored Materazzi with a headbutt to the chest 34 Mario Lemieux Upon his first retirement after contracting cancer, Pittsburgh Penguins star Lemieux became the only player to leave the NHL with a greater than two points per game average (1494 pointsin 745 games). On December 27, 2000, he returned to the NHL against theToronto Maple Leafs and played on until 2006 when he was 41. King of the ice: Penguins legend Lemieux was a real battler 33 Randy CoutureOn September 2, 2008 the UFC announced a three-fight deal with 45-year-old Randy Couture to return to active competition after two years out. Hisfirst fight back saw him lose to Brock Lesnar but undeterred by this he has carried on and will fight in this year's championship. 32 Paul Merson Paul Merson's career was put on the line in November 1994 when headmitted to being an alcoholic and cocaine addict. The FootballAssociation arranged for Merson to undergo a three-month rehabilitationprogramme and he returned to the Arsenal side in February 1995, just before thedismissal of George Graham as manager. Played on for Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Portsmouth and Walsall until 2006 and managed the Saddlers at the end of his career. Top Gunner: But winger Merson had his demons during his playing days 31 Geoff Boycott Boycott spent 1974 to 1977 in self-imposed exile from the Englandcricket team. He claimed he had simply lost his appetite for Test cricket. In his 'comeback' Test against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1977he ran out Derek Randall in front of his home crowd before going on tomake a century. Went to score 100 centuries and finally quit playing in 1986. Winners: Boycott (right) and Randall walk off together in 1977 The best of the rest of The ListSportsmail's top 50 Premier League players of the decadeSportsmail's top 50 last-gasp goals in British footballSportsmail's top 50 footballers never to play at the World CupSportsmail's top 50 sporting feuds of all timeSportsmail's 50 great sports photographsSportsmail's top 50 commentators of all timeSportsmail's top 50 sporting venuesSportsmail's top 50 performers of the season so farSportsmail's top 50 all-time managers in BritainSportsmail's top 50 goal poachersSportsmail's top 50 footballing traitorsSportsmail's top 50 FA Cup heroesSportsmail's greatest Wembley finals in historySportsmail's top 50 biggest hitters in cricketSportsmail's top 50 British & Irish LionsSportsmail's top 50 Ashes heroes


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