Injuries are the mother of all curses in football and, ultimately, can ruin a career in the game.
Marco van Basten proves the most famous example, retiring from the beautiful game at the age of just 31. He had spent the two seasons building up to his announcement on the sidelines battling a long-term ankle injury.
Perhaps the prime example from a contemporary perspective, though, is ex-Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby.
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The Frenchman played for the Gunners for no less than 11 years, accumulating 180 appearances at Highbury and the Emirates. However, his final half-decade at the club was ravaged by injury.
After amassing 40 outings during the 2009-10 season, his problems with injury saw none of his proceeding campaigns ever exceed 20 games. In fact, Diaby took to the field just twice across his final two seasons at Arsenal.
It is undoubtedly a sad tale and none more so when you recall the 31-year-old’s potential. He was, after all, tipped to be the next Patrick Vieira.
Ultimately, though, even Arsene Wenger had to concede that Diaby’s time at Arsenal had expired come 2015 and the midfielder had the chance for redemption at Marseille.
The same old problems persisted at the Stade Velodrome and just four appearances since 2015 have left his career in a state of limbo. Uncannily, he is at the same age that Van Basten’s patience snapped.
Marseille took the decision to release Diaby, who has now dipped his toe into the world of punditry. He appeared for French TV station SFR Sport ahead of Arsenal’s crazy 4-3 win over Leicester City.
The programme staged a feature in which Arsenal fans were interviewed about Diaby and the response from gooners was incredible, as was the player’s reaction. Take a look:
It’s no wonder that the 31-year-old was close to tears after so many nice comments, it seems the Frenchman remains a treasured servant of the north London club.
Moreover, it will likely bring back thoughts of what might have been and, arguably, Arsenal are missing a centre midfielder like him right now. Unfortunately, injury has snatched the privilege of us knowing.
And PremierInjuries have analysed the extent to which crocks affected Diaby’s career and it paints a painful picture. The Frenchman missed over 750 days due to injuries, the fourth most in Premier League history.
Only Ryan Taylor, Wes Brown and Tony Hibbert have been on the treatment table for longer. They, however, at least had the chance to comeback and salvage their careers.
Do you think a fit Abou Diaby would make Arsenal's starting XI? Let us know by leaving a comment below.News Now - Sport News