Just before the first leg of the Porto tie, Christian Maggio took a knock in training that put him out of the match. He still traveled with the team to Portugal, but the next thing we knew after the club got back, there were reports that Maggio was undergoing emergency surgery for a collapsed lung.
Maggio missed two months after the freak injury, including the Coppa Italia final. Napoli were able to get by without him thanks to surprisingly strong performances from Henrique Buss at right back, but after his surgery it seemed like Maggio's situation was cloaked in mystery. Now, Maggio is talking, and he lead off with six terrifying words:
“My lung was no longer there.”
“The problem had started in Naples, as I felt pain after a knock to the chest in training. I went to [Porto] and on the way back felt ill,” Maggio said in a TV interview in Naples. “I couldn’t breathe and asked to go to hospital. From the initial test they could already tell my lung was no longer there. It was a real psychological blow, going from feeling perfectly fine to lying on a hospital bed.”
As bad as dealing with any injury is, the sheer randomness and uncontrollable nature of the situation must have been incredibly hard to deal with. He seems to have gotten through everything with his head screwed on straight, though, and got through his first match back without too much issue.
Now, he's challenged with surviving the cut after being placed on Cesar Prandelli's provisional roster for Italy. Despite being a regular for Italy under Prandelli, Maggio is far from a lock; he's had multiple injury spells that have lead to reduced playing time and rough form this past season. Still, it sounds as though he's ready to put his head down and do all the work needed to impress Italy's manager and stamp his name on the roster of players heading to Brazil.