'Messi of medicine' Ramon Cugat who operated on Hudson-Odoi's torn Achilles is football's go-to surgeon

'Messi of medicine' Ramon Cugat who operated on Hudson-Odoi's torn Achilles is football's go-to surgeon

April 24, 2019

PEP Guardiola insists he's the best surgeon in the world, responsible for the success of Lionel Messi and Xavi in aiding their recovery from injury, so Callum Hudson-Odoi should be feeling positive.

Barcelona-based doctor Ramon Cugat operated on the Chelsea winger yesterday, just a day after he ruptured his Achilles tendon during a 2-2 draw with Burnley on Monday.

And his pedigree is so well thought of by the Man City boss, any time one of his players suffered a serious injury, Guardiola would send the injured athlete straight to the Spanish surgeon's clinic for medical treatment.


Dr Cugat, 68, is somewhat of a pioneer.

A number of years ago, he created a technique called PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) which is said to speed the healing process.

That involves drawing blood from the injured player, that is then placed in a centrifuge to separate the PRP and then re-injected into the affected area.

Each injection is said to cost around £435, and was seen being administrated to John Stones in Man City's Amazon documentary, All or Nothing.

Guardiola's relationship with Cugat began over two decades ago, when the midfielder was struggling with persistent hamstring problems.

Barcelona's medical team couldn't figure out the issues, and the playmaker missed 400 days of football from 1997 to 1998.

Guardiola was soon back on the pitch thanks to Cugat, and when he became boss at the Nou Camp 10 years later he regularly sent his players to be treated by the 'Messi of medicine'.

The La Liga giants even attempted to recruit Cugat on their staff, but he declined.

The son of a farming family, he later explained: “What I like is to be a doctor of all footballers, where I am open to the world.

"In a club, I would see a pair of broken cruciate ligaments in about three years, but here you see hundreds. That’s the experience you can then apply – it’s a huge database.”


Cugat's link to the beautiful game began in the 1960s, when he moved from L'Aldea, a rural area of Catalonia, to Barcelona.

As a promising footballer, he played for their youth teams up until 1971.

Two years prior to quitting football, he enrolled at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona and started his venture in sports medicine.

By 1975, he had graduated in medicine and surgery, and by 1977 he received his doctorate and earned the title 'Specialist in Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery'.

In 1979 he studied in England and the United States, and then began collaborating with Bertram Zarins, Head of Sports Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard University.

Ramon Cugat is the best orthapaedic surgeon in the world, and the best psychologist in the world.

Cugat didn't return to Spain until 1990, where he took on jobs at University of Barcelona, was appointed as orthopaedic surgeon to the American Football Team Barcelona Dragons, and was was appointed a member of the team of orthopedic surgeons during the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Guardiola discovered Cugat at the Department of Trauma and Orthopedics at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, when he directed the Arthroscopic Surgery Unit between 1992-2004.

In 2007, Cugat became co-director of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Trauma at the Hospital Quiron Barcelona, just three miles from the Nou Camp.


Guardiola's time at Bayern Munich encountered problems behind-the-scenes, and he reportedly clashed with their long-standing club medic, Hans Müller-Wohlfahrt over insisting Cugat treat the Bavarians injured stars.

And when Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara was sent to Cugat in March 2014, Müller-Wohlfahrt's patience reached tipping point.

“Thiago once returned from Spain after four weeks, seemingly fit,” Müller-Wohlfahrt wrote in his autobiography My Life My Medicine.

“But when I evaluated him I said, ’stop! The injury has not healed completely, even though you are pain free'.

Incidentally, Thiago got injured again after seeing Cugat, and was out for an entire year with a knee injury. But that didn't stop him lavishing praise on the surgeon's holistic nature.

“Ramon Cugat is the best orthapaedic surgeon in the world,” he said, “and the best psychologist in the world.

“He spent free Sundays being with me to see how my knee was and how my head was.

"He did a great job with me. He believed in the recovery we were doing at all times.”

Cugat only works with footballers, and his client list is a who's who of world class talent. From Iniesta to De Bruyne, none have had any complaints after they've walked into his medical room.


And when West Ham United's Argentinian star Miguel Lanzini was injured in a pre-World Cup training camp with Argentina in June last year, Cugat was his first port of call.

The Hammers Head of Medical Richard Collinge confirmed: “On the positive side, we were local to Dr Cugat. We had a consultation on Tuesday and surgery on Thursday.”

Lanzini remained in Barcelona for a few more weeks for intense rehab, including leaning on Cugat's psychological wisdom, before returning back to London.

For the next few week's that's exactly the approach Hudson-Odoi will be likely to receive from the top doc as he aims to return back to full fitness.

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