Life of a professional footballer has its attractions, but it also has its horrors. Over the years, many footballers have had their careers ruined by injuries. Many promises have gone unfulfilled, and many talents have gotten wasted.
Here we will take a look at five such Premier League footballers who seemed destined to rule the world of football before injuries destroyed their careers.
5) Dean Ashton (Norwich City, West Ham)
He was once regarded as one of most talented English strikers. He joined West Ham United from Norwich City in 2006 and was called up for national duty by England manager Steve McClaren for a friendly against Greece the same year.
One day before the game, he broke his ankle in a heavy tackle from Shaun Wright-Phillips in training. He missed the entire 2006/2007 season due to the injury.
He managed to make a comeback during the following season and scored ten league goals for the Hammers. However, injury problems soon resurfaced and he announced his retirement at the age of 26.
4) Vegard Heggem (Liverpool)
The Norway international moved to the Reds from Rosenberg in 1998. He was a constant presence in the Liverpool team for two seasons before his career was plagued with hamstring injuries.
He failed to make an appearance during his last two seasons with the Reds and announced his retirement in 2003 at the age of 28.
3. Alan Smith (Man Utd)
Smith rose to prominence as a striker/winger during his days with Leeds and was an integral part of the club’s 2000/2001 Champions League semi-final run.
He was converted to a defensive midfielder by Sir Alex Ferguson following his move to Old Trafford after the 2003-04 season. On February 18 2006, Smith suffered a broken leg and a dislocated ankle during a 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool.
He was never able to recover fully from his injury, and his spell at Old Trafford was constantly blighted by recurring injury problems. He moved to Newcastle in 2007 but continued to struggle with his fitness. He was never the same player again and is currently the player-coach of League Two club Notts County.
2. Abou Diaby (Arsenal)
He was regarded as the next Patrick Vieira by Arsenal fans. He moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2006. Five months later, he suffered a broken ankle in a horrible tackle from Sunderland’s Dan Smith. He had to undergo three surgeries to repair the injury.
He could never really recover from the injury and his remaining time at Arsenal was constantly plagued with recurring problems. He managed only 32 league appearances for the Gunners during his last five seasons at the club. He moved to Marseille this summer, where he’s still trying to recover from another injury setback.
1. Owen Hargreaves (Man Utd)
He was once regarded as the best English midfielder. He rose through Bayern Munich’s youth ranks and won four Bundesliga and one Champions League titles with them.
He moved to United in 2007 and won Premier League and Champions League titles in his first year with the club.
He was also voted England’s Player of the Year in 2006.
However, that turned out to be his last season in professional football before his career was hampered by recurring patellar tendinitis problem. He managed only four league appearances for United in next three seasons.
He tried to resurrect his career by signing with Man City in 2011 but managed only four appearances before he was released by the club. At the age of 35, he is currently working as a football pundit for BT Sport.