Eduardo Da Silva

The 10 Worst Injuries in Football History

Injuries are part and parcel of a contact sport like football, where players come in contact every few minutes as they jostle for possession. However, some injuries can be much worse than others and can set players back not just in the sport, but in day-to-day life as well.

Since football is mainly a running sport, muscle injuries in the legs are the most common type of injury that happens to players. Sprains, twists, and bruises are the others, but when it comes to the breakage of bones, that is where things get really difficult for the ones suffering.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the ten worst injuries in football history.


10. Djibril Cisse | Liverpool

Cisse was mainly remembered for his affinity towards fancy haircuts and hair colors, changing it depending on whether his team was playing home or away. However, his career was also marred by two nasty leg breaks, the first of which occurred in 2004 while he represented the Reds.

The incident occurred in a Premier League match against Blackburn as Cisse was met with brute force in a tackle. His foot unfortunately got stuck in the turf, causing a double leg break, which the players revealed nearly cost him his entire leg.

9. Alan Smith | Manchester United

Usually, players are encouraged to put their body in the way of a free-kick ever so little to deter the taker and prevent them from focusing on the goal. However, Alan Smith will regret doing the same against former Liverpool player John Arne Riise.

Smith stood in the way of Riise’s free-kick and even blocked it, but suffered tremendous damage in the process. Smith broke his tibia along with a dislocated ankle, which derailed his career as he failed to get back to the same physical condition again.

8. Petr Cech | Chelsea

Probably the most iconic injury on this list, for reasons that potentially changed the course of protective equipment in the sport. Petr Cech suffered a horrific head injury during Chelsea’s match against Reading in 2006 as he collided with midfielder Stephen Hunt.

Cech donned his iconic helmet. (Getty Images)

Cech suffered a cracked skull and some internal bleeding and was advised by his doctors to stop playing the sport. However, he then debuted his iconic padded helmet, which would become an integral part of the custodian’s legend as he played for over a decade after the injury.

7. Henrik Larsson | Celtic

The towering Swede suffered one of the most horrific leg injuries during Celtic’s UEFA Cup tie against Lyon back in 1999. A prolific striker before the injury, Larsson was remarkably able to retain his abilities despite spending eight months recovering from the worst injury.

6. Luc Nilis | Aston Villa

Nilis’ career was horrendously cut short in 2000 during Aston Villa’s match against Ipswich Town. He collided with their goalkeeper Richard Wright, leading to a compound fracture in his right leg. The player had only just joined the Villans and had even scored one goal in two games prior to the incident.

He was injured in just his third appearance for Villa and would go on to make just two more appearances for the club after his recovery.

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5. Djibril Cisse | France

Cisse’s second horrific leg break during his career occurred during a warm-up for France at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. It was another compound fracture which occurred during the game against China. Cisse was chasing the ball down the flank and got caught in the turf.

Cisse in action for France. (Getty Images)

This resulted in his foot being buckled between the ground and his body weight as his leg gave way in multiple places.

4. Patrick Battison | France

Battison’s gruesome injury occurred during France’s 1982 World Cup semi-final against Germany, as he collided with German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher in a head-on manner. This left the Frenchman with broken teeth, broken ribs, and also damaged vertebrae.

Battison had remarkably managed to get his shot off but Schumacher still twisted his body in a way that he would collide with the Frenchman, who went into a coma on the spot. Former teammate Michel Platini later revealed that he and other feared Battison had lost his life.

3. Alf-Inge Haaland | Manchester City

This worst injury in football happened during one of the most iconic modern-day rivalry matches as Manchester United’s Roy Keane ruined Alf-Inge’s knee with a reckless challenge. This ultimately led to the Norwegian’s retirement.

Keane having a go at Haaland after tackling him. (Getty Images)

What made the whole thing worse is that Keane later revealed he was plotting this tackle for a while after Haaland had previously mocked the Irishman for play-acting after being on the receiving end of a hard tackle.

2. Eduardo Da Silva | Arsenal

One of the most horrific Premier League injuries occured when Arsenal striker Eduardo had his leg broken following a reckless and violent tackle by a Birmingham City player. The Croatian had his foot planted on the turf when the player caught him mid-shin, resulting in a double fracture in his leg, as well as a dislocated ankle.

While Eduardo marked his return a few years later and even scored more goals for the Gunners, he was nowhere near being the same player he was before the injury.

1. David Busst | Coventry City

One of the most horrific injuries in the sport saw David Busst break his leg in multiple places after colliding with a Manchester United defender. Both the fibula and the tibia of the right leg were severely damaged, resulting in a complicated recovery process which also birthed fears that Busst would have to amputate his leg.

This injury ended his career on the spot but David Busst continued to contribute to Coventry City via their community program.

NameClubYearInjury TypeTime spent injured (in days)
1.David BusstCoventry City1996Fracture of fibula shaft & broken tibia813
2.Eduardo Da SilvaArsenal2008Tibia and fibula fracture296
3.Alf-Inge HaalandManchester City2001ACLN/A
4.Patrick BattisonFrance1982Damaged vertebrae180
5.Djibril Cisse (2nd)France2006Broken tibia and fibulaN/A
6.Luc NilisAston Villa2000Lower leg fracture113
7.Henrik LarssonCeltic1999Broken leg300
8.Petr CechChelsea2006Skull base fractureN/A
9.Alan SmithManchester United2006Broken leg207
10.Djibril Cisse (1st)Liverpool2004Tibia and fibula fracture161

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