Taken in by Marseille in a gamble that is so far yet to pay off, Abou Diaby’s career is following the same pattern it always has: injury, brief return, injury, repeat. Arsene Wenger had shown faith in the player at Arsenal, but Diaby was unable to fully fight back and play for the Premier League club.
The 30-year-old former Arsenal central midfielder is currently recovering from yet another ankle surgery following just 130 minutes on the pitch for Marseille this season.
Speaking to France Football, Diaby opened up about his difficult career, even admitting that his injury problems frustrated him so much, he gave up watching Arsenal games at the Emirates from the stands because ‘it was too hard to not be able to do anything’.
The midfielder also came back on the moment when his problems all started, when then Sunderland full-back Dan Smith came in late with a studs-up tackle, breaking the Frenchman’s ankle and rupturing his ankle ligaments.
He said: “It led to other muscular problems that stopped me from progressing. [The situation] was particular. The match was at Sunderland, and they drove me to London for the operation. It was a four hour trip, but I wasn’t allowed to move.
“The club doctor was with me. I wasn’t crying, but I was so angry. I felt the tackle had been done on purpose when there was only a minute left. I push the ball, but he comes from behind, and when someone comes to hurt you, you know it, you can feel it.”
Never actually counting his injuries (40 different ones in the Premier League), the player also made it clear he wasn’t a huge fan of being called ‘Mr Glass’, nor did he appreciate people saying all he was doing was raking in the money.
He said: “If it was money I was worried about, I would have stopped a long time ago.”
Only thinking about retiring once (in 2013), the player explained he would never give up trying to come back to full fitness.
What would make him actually call it a day? If a doctor told him ‘Look, it’s a lost cause’.
So far, that hasn’t been the case.