10. Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany arrived to Manchester City in the summer of 2008, just before the Abu Dhabi United Group bought the club from Thaksin Shinawatra. Kompany established himself as one of the top defenders in Germany with Hamburg prior to the move, and became a starting player for City right away. He has since played 322 games for the Premier League giants, and was widely regarded as one of the best center backs in the world. However, multiple injuries have caused Kompany to miss many of City’s games since 2014. He is yet to appear in more than 25 league games since the 2013/14 season, and have suffered more than 40 injuries since moving to England. Because of ongoing injury issues, there are rumors suggesting the Belgian might be retiring at the end of the season.
9. Tomas Rosicky
Tomas Rosicky showed his potential at the very young age, and was called up to the senior Czech Republic side when he was just 19 for the Euro 2000. He was also very good with Borussia Dortmund for five years, and was interested by many big clubs across Europe. He finally took a step forward in his career by joining Arsenal in 2006, and looked like a superstar the club needed to bring back the glory days. After a great debut season, Rosicky started suffering from knee problems in the 2007/08 season, making him miss of the season latter part of the season. This was the start of his long list of injury issues, which stopped him from ever appearing in more than 28 league games during his time at Arsenal. He finally returned to Sparta Prague in 2016, and retired back in December.
8. Marco Reus
Marco Reus was one of the brightest prospects in 2013 following with performances with Borussia Dortmund and the German national team. Following the exit of top players at Dortmund such as Mario Gotze, Shinji Kagawa, and Nuri Sahin, it was expected that Reus would be on his way to a European giant as well. However, suffering an ankle injury in Germany’s 6–1 friendly win against Armenia in 2014 kickstarted series of injury issues for Reus. The injury kept the player out of action for more than two months, thus missing the 2014 World Cup. Since then, he has only made more than 26 appearances in the Bundesliga just once. The 28-year-old is currently going through the worst time in his career with just one game played in the past six months.
7. Thomas Vermaelen
Thomas Vermaelen was an emerging young defender when he joined Arsenal from Ajax for €12 million in 2009. Vermaelen became a starter right away, forming a center back pairing with the veteran center back William Gallas, and scored on his debut for the Gunners. Following Robin van Persie’s departure to Manchester United in 2012, the Belgian stepped up and took the role of the captain. He got his dream move to Barcelona following the 2014 World Cup, joining the Spanish club for £15 million. However, since the move, Vermaelen has been plagued with series of injuries. He made his debut for Barcelona almost a year after signing for the club because of injury issues, and has only played 47 games in the last four seasons.
6. Ledley King
Ledley King was touted to become of the best defenders in the Premier League and for the England national team, due to his emergence back in the early 2000s. He was a key player for Tottenham Hotspur from 2001 to 2006, even serving as a captain, and also played for England in the Euro 2004. King’s body, though, started breaking down by the 2005/06 season, and he ended up fracturing a bone in his foot just two months before the 2006 World Cup. Things would get even worse as he injured his knee just after returning from the foot injury, and then ended up breaking his metatarsal again after he recovered his knee. Strings of injuries caused King to barely feature for Spurs until his retirement in 2012, and he played just 45 minutes in the 2010 World Cup before pulling out with a groin injury.
5. Abou Diaby
Notorious for always being injured during his time at Arsenal, Abou Diaby is the perfect example of a great player ruined by injuries. He first signed for Arsenal in 2006 following a great spell at Auxerre in Ligue 1, although he did have a record of injuries even back then. Just four months after signing for Arsenal, Diaby suffered his first major injury against Sunderland, where he fractured his ankle severely following a tackle from Dan Smith. The midfielder had to undergo three surgeries to repair the injury and was told by doctors that the injury could possibly be career-ending. Although he was always given a starting role when healthy, Diaby continuously struggled to do so and only played 180 games in 10 seasons. He left the club in 2015 for a return to France with Marseille.
4. Michael Owen
Michael Owen showed the signs of being world class when he was just a teenager. He became a starter for Liverpool at the tender age of 17, and scored 18 goals in 36 league games for the Reds in the 1997/98 season. Owen would go on to score 158 goals in 297 games during his time at Liverpool, and had a brilliant 1998 and 2002 World Cups with England. The striker got his dream move to Real Madrid in 2004. However, due to multiple injuries he suffered back in England, he struggled to find form in Madrid and only scored 16 goals in 45 games. He went back to the Premier League after just a season in La Liga, with moves to Newcastle United, Manchester United, and Stoke City. However, injuries limited him from making more than 29 league appearances in a season since his time at Madrid.
3. Daniel Sturridge
Following his brilliant 2013/14 season with Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge looked like he was going to be a goal machine for Liverpool for many years to come. However, he started breaking down by the 2014/15 season, making just 18 appearances in all competitions. He has yet to make more than 20 league appearances in a season since 2014, and left the club on loan last month in order to get regular playing time before the 2018 World Cup.
2. Owen Hargreaves
Owen Hargreaves had a unique start to his career compared to other English players, as he moved to Germany at the age of 16 to start playing with the Bayern Munich youth side. He became a starter for the senior team by 2001, as well as debuting with the England national team in the same year. He made 218 appearances overall for Bayern during his seven-year stint with the first team, although he only made more than 25 league appearances just twice due to being easily prone to injuries. Despite his injury record, Manchester United signed Hargreaves for £17 million in 2007. But after a decent debut season, a recurring patellar tendinitis problem limited him to just five appearances in the next three seasons. He signed for Manchester City in 2011 hoping to rediscover his form, but his failure to escape from injuries meant the midfielder made just four appearances with the Citizens before retiring.
Sponsored Post: 10 Football Legends Who Never Made It At Club Level
1. Jack Wilshere
At the age of 26, it may be too early to say Jack Wilshere’s career has been ruined by injuries, but one has to agree he could be one of the best midfielders in the world currently if not for injury setbacks. After emerging as a top talent in the 2010/11 season, he suffered a stress fracture ankle injury during a 2011 Emirates Cup pre-season friendly against New York Red Bulls, ruling him out of action for a year and five months. Wilshere came back from the 2012/13 season and earned back the regular starting spot. However, series of injuries started in 2014 limited his playing time at the club, and forced him to go out on loan last season to AFC Bournemouth. Since returning in the summer, the Englishman is looking healthy again and has played 24 games so far in the current season.