Abou Diaby’s footballing career was sadly a tragic tale.
The Frenchman was one of the most talented midfielders of his generation and for a while, it looked as if he would be the new Patrick Vieira for both Arsenal and France.
But football is a cruel, cruel world, with injuries having a devastating impact on the lanky maestro, which heartbreakingly resulted in him hanging up his boots in 2019 at the age of just 32.
Diaby’s fitness woes started way back in 2006. In a game against Sunderland for Arsenal, the former France international suffered a severe ankle fracture following a reckless tackle by Dan Smith.
After that horrific incident, injuries unfortunately became a common theme in Diaby’s footballing journey.
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However, that didn’t stop him from showcasing his undeniable quality when he was able to play in Arsenal’s first-team.
At the start of the 2012/13 season, it really looked as if Diaby had turned a corner. The now 35-year-old started the first three Premier League games of the campaign for Arsene Wenger’s side and he looked a million dollars on the pitch.
Diaby was absolutely everywhere that day at Anfield and his highlights from the match are an absolute joy to watch – which you can do below.
Diaby vs Liverpool in 2012
Liverpool simply had no answer to Diaby’s marauding runs from deep, while their attempts to muscle him off the ball failed quite spectacularly.
But the performance will always remain a bittersweet one, as it was the last time we saw a fully fit Diaby in an Arsenal shirt.
In the following game against Chelsea, the Frenchman picked up yet another injury and this time around, the knock signalled the start of a very rapid decline.
So instead of being the start of something great, Diaby’s dazzling display on Merseyside remains the Premier League’s ultimate “what if?” showing.
In a parallel universe where he was able to replicate that performance regularly for a number of years, Arsenal probably have a few more Premier League titles to their name…