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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 4, 2008

Hasselbaink out to make most of 'last chance'

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's memories of his previous FA Cup final appearance haunt him to this day - but that will not prevent him doing his utmost to get Cardiff into another one this weekend.

The veteran Dutchman was part of the Chelsea side which fell to a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in his one and only final appearance in 2002 at the Millennium Stadium.

However, the result soon paled into insignificance when it emerged a blocked vein could have led him to lose the lower part of his right leg.

Speaking as he prepared for Sunday's Wembley semi-final against Barnsley, Hasselbaink explained: 'I played at the Millennium Stadium and came off after 70 minutes or so. I had a bad injury - a vein which was 75% blocked.

'I had it before the game, but we didn't know what it was. I thought it was my calf and I could play through it.

'I had a calf scan, and nothing showed - so I thought I was all right. But it was quite bad, and after the game I was out for four months.

'If it had been 80 or 90% blocked I could have lost the lower part of my leg. I don't know how it happened. Nobody knows.'

The former Middlesbrough and Leeds forward revealed he owes a debt of gratitude to his then doctor at Stamford Bridge, Neil Fraser.

'I couldn't train for the whole week, and on the Sunday afterwards we were supposed to play Villa in the last game of the season,' he added.

'The morning of that game the doctor called me and said `Jim, I want to take you to the specialist - because I don't trust this whole thing'.

'We went first to a different hospital in London, got tested and they said only 25% of the blood was coming through.

'We went to another hospital where there was a vein specialist, and he said I had to be operated on right now.

'I came for a test in the hospital and was operated on straightaway. If I'd taken a flight ... it could have happened.'

However, the former Holland international believes the experience took place simply to frighten him.

'It did worry me when the doctor explained it properly. But I am a big believer in fate and I don't think it was my fate,' he added.

'It was just my fate to scare me. I'm quite fortunate with injuries. That was the only bad injury that I had in my career.'

As for the Bluebirds' fate come the weekend, Hasselbaink is certain they are destined to beat Barnsley.

'We are going to win,' he said.

At 36, Hasselbaink admits City's surprise run to the semi-finals has given him one final shot at clinching the major trophy which has eluded him in an otherwise illustrious career.

'I don't have a lot of medals,' he conceded.

'The only one is in Portugal in the cup.

'I went to the FA Cup here - lost; the Copa del Rey in Spain - lost; the World Cup with Holland, semi-final - lost. Even the third-fourth place - lost. Middlesbrough the semi-final - lost. Realistically this is going to be my last chance.'

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