It’s often a pity when we see talented footballers have their careers stalled or ruined by injury. We wait and wait – hoping that one day we’ll see them flourish and fulfil the potential that we want to believe they have. Today the Fan Park will look at a few players whose careers were perhaps ruined by their injury problems.
He had the technique, the passion and the skill that it takes to become one of the best midfielders in modern football, and if it weren’t for his legs, he could’ve perhaps seen his name in many more headlines. He was named England’s best player at the 2006 World Cup, and it’s after that where his career slowed down. Following his move to Manchester United, Hargreaves suffered a new, serious injury in 2008. He remained sidelined until 2010, where Hargreaves made his first start for Manchester United after 777 days, but was helped off the field after just six minutes.
The tall French midfielder took a while to fit in at Arsenal after joining the London club in 2006. After more regular first team football and some powerful displays, he started looking as though he was destined for great things with the Gunners. However, injuries stalled his career and in 11 seasons he has only played 200 senior games for the Gunners.
Although we saw the Brazilian enjoy many successful years at AC Milan, Kaka probably never hit the pinnacles he planned to reach. He’s been around for years, but Kaka is still only 32-years-old. His move to Real Madrid in 2009 was massive transfer news, but little niggles here and there left his fans wishing that he'd never left Italy.
Although the midfielder appears to have overcome the worst of his injuries, it might be too late. Aquilani could’ve been more of a household name if it weren’t for his terrible spell at Liverpool - where he spent three seasons, only managing 18 league games. He was 24-years-old when made his move to Merseyside, but his injury problems stagnated his progress. He has managed 17 Serie A games for Fiorentina this season, where he has failed to create or score a goal.
Now a club ambassador at Tottenham Hotspur, the retired England international was once rated amongst the best defenders in England. He had everything a centre-back needed to succeed in the Premier League, but his constant knee injuries saw him only playing one game every two weeks. King was told by doctors that his knee would naturally swell after playing and take around seven days to recover. However, he was kept at the club because his managers knew that when he did manage to run, the chances of Tottenham winning were improved.
Can you name any other footballers whose careers were perhaps ruined by injuries?