Middlesbrough: Jonathan Woodgate regrets injuries impact
Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Woodgate believes injuries have prevented him from fulfilling his potential as a professional footballer.
He has made 357 appearances for six clubs and won eight England caps.
However, thigh and hamstring problems have limited the 33-year-old's chances, particularly at Real Madrid where he played just 12 games in 32 months.
"My career could have been so much more, but that's life. You've got to get on with it," he told BBC Tees.
Despite the injuries, Woodgate was a popular figure with the Real supporters following his move from Newcastle United.
After a season on the sidelines with a thigh problem, he eventually pulled on the famous white shirt and was given a standing ovation on his debut against Athletic Bilbao in September 2005.
Even that was a bittersweet experience, as he scored an own goal and was then sent-off after two bookable offences.
"It was an incredible debut," he said. "The reaction was unbelievable, my mum and dad couldn't believe it either.
"When I did interviews, I tried to speak in Spanish and trying to learn, and I think that's why they took to me, because they could see me trying."
The Middlesbrough-born defender has had three spells at his hometown club, the first when then Real boss Fabio Capello allowed him to join Boro on loan in August 2006.
More recently, he rejoined Tony Mowbray's side on a permanent basis after being released by Stoke in July 2012.
"I fulfilled my ambition and a dream, something I've always wanted to do. My dad, my mum and my sister were there and were over the moon to see me finally playing for Middlesbrough," Woodgate added.
"It was the team I'd supported throughout my youth, it was a great feeling."