The 15 saddest injuries in football history

  • Kat Lucas
The 15 saddest injuries in football history

Injuries, sadly, are part and parcel of football.

Nobody likes to see players suffering for their trade, but it's an inevitable consequence of a contact sport.

Down the years, there have been some horrific scenes witnessed on the pitch. 

Back in November, we recalled some of the worst injuries in Premier League history. 

Sometimes, however, an injury doesn't have to be particularly horrific to render it downright sad.

Whether that's because it ended a career, ruined the most important night of a player's life, or simply because it left them in tears, many such moments have been very hard to watch.

Ronaldo Nazario vs Lazio

What made Ronaldo's knee injury against Lazio so devastating was that it happened just six minutes into his comeback, five months on from his first serious setback. The Inter Milan star was through on goal and attempted a stepover when his right knee caved underneath him and he was left writhing in agony. 'El Fenomeno' was never the same player again. 


Fernando Torres vs Sevilla

In his second spell with Atletico Madrid, the striker was left unconscious after a sickening clash of heads. Diego Simeone said he had heard the impact on his neck from the dugout. Players from both sides were left in tears and Torres was fortunate it wasn't more serious. He managed to return two weeks later.


Mo Salah vs Real Madrid

The Egyptian, enjoying the season of his life, injured his shoulder in the first half of the 2018 Champions League final when pulled down by the villain of the piece, Sergio Ramos. Salah was forced to leave the field and Liverpool went on to lose - though that arguably would have happened anyway due to Loris Karius' errors.  


Dani Carvajal vs Liverpool

It's easy to forget that Salah wasn't the only casualty that night. Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal went off in tears too amid fears he would miss the upcoming World Cup. Fortunately, his hamstring wasn't as bad as it was first thought. 


Neymar vs Colombia

Neymar's first World Cup should not have ended like this. Juan Zuniga's knee broke a vertebra in the Brazilian's spine and to the amazement of the watching world, the challenge went unpunished. Zuniga later apologised but it was no consolation to the Selecao, who went out in the next round without their talisman.

Brazil v Colombia: Quarter Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Cristiano Ronaldo vs France

Ronaldo has admittedly been reduced to tears on many occasions down the years, but there was no mistaking his sincerity when he was injured in a clash with Dimitri Payet just nine minutes into the final of Euro 2016. It was the Portuguese forward's greatest chance to lift a European trophy and fortunately, his teammates still got the job done. Ronaldo spent the rest of the final leading from the sidelines. 


Lionel Messi vs Sevilla

In the scheme of things, Messi was only ruled out for a few weeks, but he was clearly in immense pain when he broke his arm against Sevilla in 2018. His arm had pinned underneath him at an awkward angle and it was later confirmed the Argentine had fractured the radial bone in his right arm.

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga

Oleg Gusev vs Dnipro

The Dynamo Kiev captain swallowed his tongue following a collision with the goalkeeper. Dnipro midfielder Jaba Kankava's quick thinking saved his life. Gusev was taken away on a stretcher and in a neck brace.


Luis Suarez vs Sevilla 

Nobody was near Suarez when he pulled up and then slunk to the floor in the Copa del Rey final. Replays showed how the Uruguayan had hyperextended his hamstring. The number nine believed (incorrectly, as it turned out) that he had been ruled out of the 2016 Copa America and was inconsolable as he sat with his head in his hands on the bench. 


Gabriel Jesus vs Crystal Palace 

Injuries have been a persistent problem during Jesus' short career so far. Against Crystal Palace in 2017, frustration got the better of him when he had to go off after just 23 minutes. The young striker broke down, having already played through the pain of an earlier knock in the game.

Crystal Palace v Manchester City - Premier League

Aaron Ramsey vs Stoke 

Culprit Ryan Shawcross was as distressed as anyone after Ramsey's double leg break at Stoke in 2010. Just 19 years of age at the time, Ramsey was given oxygen for several minutes. 

Stoke City v Arsenal - Premier League

Eduardo da Silva vs Birmingham 

That brought a tragic sense of de ja vu to all concerned at Arsenal. Only two years earlier, Eduardo da Silva had suffered a horrific leg break and dislocated ankle under a challenge from Birmingham's Martin Taylor, who Arsene Wenger initially demanded was banned for life.

The forward could reportedly have lost his foot had it been any worse. It was so bad the cameras wouldn't show replays, with the bone apparently visible through his sock.

Arsenal's physio Gary Lewellyn (C) tends

Petr Cech vs Reading 

Cech almost died in the line of duty while playing for Chelsea against Reading in 2006. A controversial collision with Stephen Hunt left the stopper with a fractured skull. It was as bad as it looked and he had to have two metal plates fitted in his head. 

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech lies is eva

Ryan Mason vs Chelsea

Unlike Cech, former Hull midfielder Mason was unable to continue playing after a clash of heads with Chelsea's Gary Cahill brought a sad end to his career at the age of just 26. He was forced to retire in February 2018 on the advice of medical specialists. 

Chelsea v Hull City - Premier League

Andre Gomes vs Tottenham 

A complete accident, but one which left Son Heung-min in floods of tears as he headed down the tunnel following his red card. Martin Atkinson brought a yellow out of his pocket at first, changing his mind once he saw the state of Gomes' ankle. 


It's a relief to know that some of these players made a speedy recovery. Others weren't so lucky.

Injuries are among the saddest parts of the game and there's nothing worse than seeing scenes like the above on the pitch.

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