Ronaldo, Salah, Rooney, Putellas: The worst-timed football injuries ever

Worst timed injuries ever

As a player, there are few things worse than getting injured before a big match or competition. 

Over the years, some of football’s most admired stars have suffered this cruel fate and missed out on the biggest game or tournament of their lives. 

Spanish women’s midfielder, Alexia Putellas, is the latest name to add to that list. The Barcelona star is the reigning Women’s Ballon d’Or winner and was set to light up Euro 2022 this summer. 

However, the 28-year-old suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage on the eve of the competition, having sprained her knee in training. 

Putellas says she has faith she can “finish what I started” but she will be forced to watch Euro 2022 from the stands. 

The Spaniard will understandably be gutted to miss such a big event, but she is far from the first footballer to be dealt such an agonising blow. 

Here are some of the other worst-timed injuries of all time: 

Cristiano Ronaldo

In 2016, Ronaldo helped inspire Portugal to the final of Euro 2016 as he sought to win a major international competition for the first time. 

Yet, in the final against France, the Manchester United star was stretchered off after just 25 minutes, after a challenge from Dimitri Payet. 

In the end, it was substitute Eder who scored an extra-time winner for Portugal.

Ronaldo would no doubt have wished it was him who scored the all-important goal, though he did still lift the trophy as captain. 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Wayne Rooney

Rooney remains England’s record goal scorer but the former striker was desperately unlucky at major tournaments. 

At Euro 2004, Rooney was the breakout star of the competition –– scoring four goals in England’s opening four games. 

However, he suffered an injury against Portugal in the quarter-finals as England were eliminated. 

Wayne Rooney

Two years later, Rooney injured his metatarsal just a month before the 2006 World Cup and faced a race against time to be fit for the tournament. 

Rooney was selected for England’s squad but was clearly still suffering from pain and failed to score once during the competition. 

To compound matters, he was sent off against Portugal in the last eight, after stamping on Ricardo Carvalho. 

Jordan Nobbs 

Few players have been more unlucky with injuries than Jordan Nobbs. 

In 2015, the Arsenal star picked up a hamstring injury just weeks before the 2015 Women’s World Cup. 

Four years later, Nobbs was ruled out of the World Cup again after rupturing her ACL against Everton. 

Nobbs was finally set to star for England this summer at the Euros, but suffered a knee injury in April, that led to her missing out on Sarina Wiegman’s squad. 

Jordan Nobbs


Romario was expected to be the star of the 1990 World Cup, having starred for Brazil at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. 

However, the Brazilian picked up a serious injury just before the tournament. 

In the end, Romario was still awarded a spot in the squad, but played just 66 minutes as Brazil went crashing out in the last 16. 


Mo Salah 

Salah was instrumental in Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final in 2018. 

Yet, the Egyptian was forced to come off with a shoulder injury after just 30 minutes against Real Madrid. 

Salah had initially tried to play on but eventually left the field in tears. 

Liverpool went on to lose the final 3-1 as Loris Karius’ infamous blunders cost Jurgen Klopp’s side the trophy. 


Marco Reus 

Reus was arguably Germany’s standout player in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup –– scoring five goals and registering three assists. 

But the Borussia Dortmund forward suffered an ankle injury in Germany’s pre-tournament warm-up game, which ruled him out of the competition. 

Joachim Löw’s side went on to win the World Cup, while Reus could only watch. 

Two years later, a groin injury then forced him to miss Euro 2016 as well.

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