Top Five Injury-prone Football Stars of the Last Decade

In the unpredictable world of football, injuries are unfortunately an inevitable part of the game. Footballers who play at the highest level constantly undergo various treatments to decrease the risk of getting serious injuries to the maximum extent possible. Nevertheless, the football world has seen numerous cases when injuries prevented talented prodigies from reaching their full potential and ruined the players’ careers.

In this article, we will throw a glance at five football stars of the last decade who managed to maintain their permanent class despite being haunted by injuries throughout their professional careers.

Gareth Bale

Born in 1989 in the Welsh city of Cardiff, Gareth Bale established himself as one of the best wingers of his generation, known for his electrifying pace and athleticism. Bale started his football career at Southampton, mainly playing as a left-back.

After his move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, the Welshman gradually transitioned into a winger and consequently became a crucial attacking figure in the team. Despite suffering from a severe ankle ligament injury right at the beginning of his journey at Tottenham and further knee and back problems, Bale’s growth with Spurs has been massive.

Thanks to his powerful shots and ability to drive the ball forward, Bale was considered one of the Premier League’s main offensive threats in his last seasons at the North London club.

In 2013, Bale was signed by Real Madrid on a six-year deal for a then club-record transfer fee of 100 million euros. His journey as a ‘Madridista’ was nothing short of remarkable as his tenure saw him add numerous trophies to his collection, including five Champions League titles. Bale played a crucial role in securing the Copa del Rey title in his debut season with a stunning solo goal in the final against Barcelona. In the same season, he scored a goal that put his team ahead in the extra-time of a victorious Champions League final versus Atlético Madrid.

Bale’s overhead goal in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool is regarded as one of the greatest goals in the competition’s history. Despite regular injuries to his calf and ankle from the 2015/16 season onward, Bale’s career at Real Madrid is mostly characterized by moments of great success and involvement in the terrifying attacking trio with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (known as ‘BBC’).

Marco Reus

34-year-old German star Marco Reus is the epitome of loyalty in football. Borussia Dortmund’s attacking midfielder and winger has been representing The Black and Yellows since 2012, and has become one of the club’s most admired figures ever. While various high-profile players were coming and leaving the club over the years, Reus’s connection to Borussia Dortmund has been permanent. He has stayed with the team in both the brightest and toughest times.

Reus moved to Dortmund from Borussia Monchengladbach at the age of 23 after a brilliant season with 30 goal contributions in 32 Bundesliga games. Over his first two seasons at BVB, Reus recorded 42 goals and 38 assists in 96 games, which includes massive contributions against football giants, such as Real Madrid, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

Reus helped the club reach the Champions League final and win the German Super Cup versus Bayern, where he scored a brace. Reus’ sublime performances in the 2013/14 season won him a Bundesliga Player of the Year award.

Unfortunately, despite Reus’ incredible talent and hard work, he is often considered one of the unluckiest players to ever step on the football pitch. His severe ligament tear at the end of the 2013/14 season left him out of Germany’s World Cup-winning squad, depriving him of a dream international trophy.

Since Reus joined BVB, the club has fallen short of winning the Bundesliga in all seasons, getting subjected to Bayern Munich’s dominance. Reus’s frequent injury-related absence periods brought frustration to Dortmund’s passionate fanbase.

Yet, through all challenges, Reus has demonstrated remarkable resilience, always returning to the pitch with renewed determination. His unwavering dedication to the club’s cause has endeared him to fans, cementing his status as a true Dortmund icon.

Vincent Kompany

From his early days at Anderlecht to his magical spell at Manchester City, the Belgian wall Vincent Kompany was synonymous with quality defending. His towering presence in defence along with the developed leadership traits inspired his teammates and earned him the admiration of fans all over the world.

Kompany’s leadership in the Man City’s backline guided the team to new highs over the years. During his tenure with the club from 2008 to 2019, The Citizens won 10 domestic trophies, including four Premier League titles. His superb game-winning strike from a long distance on the Premier League’s vital Matchday 37 against Leicester City in 2019 concluded his last season at the club with a huge triumph, securing a fourth Premiership in a captivating way.

There is still room for speculation whether Kompany could amplify his achievements if he stayed fitter throughout his career. Since the beginning of the 2012/13 campaign, the Belgian centre-back was sidelined for at least 55 days each season due to various injuries, missing a total of 197 games for his club and country.

Despite dealing with recurring groin, calf, and hamstring problems, Kompany solidified his reputation as one of the best Belgian and Premier League defenders ever.

Franck Ribéry

The French magician Franck Ribéry’s brilliant dribbling and playmaking abilities have left a huge mark in modern football. His remarkable time at Bayern Munich is preserved in the memories of numerous fans worldwide.

Ribéry was signed by Bayern in 2007, after showcasing his talent while playing for Galatasaray, Marseille, and the French national team. During his spell with the club until 2019, Bayern won 23 trophies, including nine Bundesliga titles and a historic Champions League cup in 2013.

Ribéry’s stellar performances for Bayern in the 2012/13 season earned him a UEFA Best Player in Europe award. The Frenchman’s enormous contribution throughout the campaign guided the team to a renowned treble. Ribéry also assisted Arjen Robben’s game-winning goal in a Champions League final versus Borussia Dortmund with a beautiful backheel pass.

Unfortunately for Ribéry, the older he became, the more often he suffered injuries. His proneness to injuries rose, especially after a rough 2014/15 season. Nonetheless, despite enduring recurrent injury woes throughout his career, Ribéry was a generational player. Bayern Munich’s former agile left-winger is widely recognized as a true legend of the game.

Arjen Robben

The perseverance and mental strength of an incredible Dutch icon Arjen Robben are arguably the most impressive among all players in football history. Robben’s staggering record of injuries in his professional career raised beliefs that the player was cursed. However, Robben defied all odds, proving time and again that his abilities and determination could overcome even the most daunting obstacles.

After demonstrating his immense potential in the Netherlands, the Dutchman attracted various top clubs, ultimately leading to his move to Chelsea in 2004, where he showcased his talent despite facing frequent injury setbacks. Although Robben’s class was evident, injuries continued to haunt him during his further spell at Real Madrid, prompting his transfer to Bayern Munich.

It was at Bayern where Robben’s career truly flourished. In the very first season in a new team, he became a Bundesliga Player of the Year. He quickly established a special connection with his teammate Ribéry, forming the iconic winger duo for years, known as “Robbery.”

However, in his initial seasons at Bayern, Robben also faced emotionally tough moments, including a World Cup final loss and notable misses in crucial matches for the Netherlands and Bayern. Despite those setbacks and constantly disturbing injuries, Robben bounced back in great fashion, scoring a game-winning goal and providing an assist in the 2013 Champions League final, earning him a Man of the Match award and the nickname “Mr. Wembley.”

Legendary Robben was deemed unstoppable during his prime due to his masterful dribbling and a trademark move cutting to his deadly left foot, which often resulted in a pinpoint long-range shot or an intelligent assist to a teammate. He is among the most decorated football players ever with 30 club trophies in his collection and is considered one of the best Dutch players of all time.

Through his resilience and incredible skills, Robben earned the love of the fans and consistently proved to be the one to rely on in the matches of the highest status. Robben revealed his clutch genes with his standout performances on the biggest stage both at a club and an international level numerous times in his career and deservedly holds the status of one of the greatest wingers in football history.

Notable mentions

Notable mentions include football stars like Eden Hazard, Neymar and Thiago Alcântara, who could also make this list considering their recurrent injury woes in the latest stages of their careers.

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