8 stars whose careers were wrecked by injuries as ex-Arsenal ace Diaby turns 35

Premier League legend and former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira once tipped Abou Diaby to be a better player than he had ever been – but a string of long-term injuries ruined a once promising career.

On what is his 35th birthday, we have taken a look at the nine-years that the former France midfielder spent in north London – and how highly he was thought of by Arsene Wenger.

Although he is a prime example, there are plenty more former Premier League and international stars who were never able to reach their full potential due to extended periods on the sidelines.

Daily Star Sport have taken a look at eight players that could've gone on to bigger and better things, one of which is hoping to return to the top flight via the Championship Play-Offs.

Abou Diaby

After joining Arsenal from Auxerre way back in 2006, Diaby quickly settled into first-team proceedings while dealing with the first of many injuries.

He only managed 39 Premier League outings across his first three seasons under Wenger, but managed 24 and 29 across the 2008/09 and 2009/10 as he reached the peak of his career.

Notable absences included ankle, calf and thigh problems, with a damaging cruciate ligament rupture during the 2012/13 campaign – and his release from the club coming in 2015.

Having made 180 appearances for the club and scoring 19 goals, he joined Marseille, where he would play six times across two full seasons before hanging up his boots.

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere was tipped to have a long future in the Arsenal and England first-teams having burst onto the scene against Barcelona in the Champions League way in 2011.

However, the midfielder would end up missing 154 games through injury during his time at the club, before joining and being released by West Ham.

Having signed for Championship outfit Bournemouth last summer, he will be hoping to play a key role in their Play-Off campaign as he looks to get back into the Premier League.

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  • Ledley King

    Ledley King is considered by many to be one of the most talented defenders of his generation – but his career with Spurs and England was severely limited by a series of injuries.

    The 40-year-old could only manage 75 Premier League appearances out of a possible 190 during the final five seasons of his career, with 21 England caps split across five years.

    It was a chronic knee injury that saw King call time on his playing days in July of 2012, but he returned as a first team coach under Jose Mourinho earlier this season.

    Owen Hargreaves

    Owen Hargreaves joined Manchester United from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2007 having impressed in both the Bundesliga and with the England national team.

    The Canada born midfielder had won four league titles and the Champions League during his time in Germany, but failed to make the impact he would've liked in England.

    Hargreaves missed an astonishing 740 days of action between 2007 and 2011, but ended up getting a move to rivals Manchester City – where he would make four appearances before retiring.

    Jamie Redknapp

    Jamie Redknapp was well respected as a creative midfielder during his time with Liverpool, but injury woe meant that he never quite reached his potential.

    The 47-year-old pundit wasn't able to make more than 17 outings for Spurs in the league across his three seasons at the club, and retired after playing 16 times in his only season at Southampton.

    Redknapp told Paddy Power earlier this year: "I was a bit unlucky with injuries, there was a bit of mismanagement of them I would say. But, I’m not a bitter person…"

    Alexandre Pato

    Alexandre Pato recently joined Orlando City after spending time without a club following his departure from Sao Paulo after just a season last year.

    It might come as a surprise to some that he is only 31 years of age, having burst onto the scene as a teenager with Milan back in 2008, with injuries stopping him from reaching his potential.

    Moves to Corinthians, Villarreal and Tianjin Tianhai have come ether side of a loan deal with Chelsea, during which time he was limited to just two Premier League appearances and a single goal.

    Marco Van Basten

    Marco Van Basten called time on his memorable career in the summer of 1995 after spending two full seasons on the sidelines while on the books at Milan.

    Having scored a sensational 154 goals across 174 outings with Ajax, the Netherlands hero won four Serie A titles to add to his three Eredivisie crowns.

    Although he did manage 24 goals in his 58 international caps and starred at the successful UEFA Euro 1988, his career did not end on the terms he would've liked.

    Daniel Sturridge

    Daniel Sturridge was only able to show glimpses of his true talent during his time in the Premier League with Manchester City, Chelsea, Bolton, Liverpool and West Brom.

    The former England striker managed his best season alongside Luis Suarez as the Reds narrowly missed out on the title with 21 goals across 29 league outings.

    Sturridge, who scored eight goals across 26 England caps, has been without a club since leaving Trabzonspor last year, having only recently turned 31.

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