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Former Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby claims that he could have won the Ballon d'Or

Diaby made only 125 appearances for Arsenal over 9 seasons.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  Arsenal's Abou Diaby in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on September 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Diaby’s career at Arsenal was plagued with injuries

Diaby left Arsenal last summer on a free transfer and joined Olympique de Marseille for whom he has made 14 appearances this season, also scoring a goal in the process. Speaking to France Football, Diaby insisted that he could have won one of football’s biggest prizes, the Ballon d'Or, if not for his dismal luck with injuries. 

“I have no limits. Once upon a time, people would ask me about the Ballon D’or. I told them I dreamt about it,” he said.

“I have always had big ambitions, like to become one of the best in my position. I think I had the potential to achieve that. I am not saying it pretentiously, but some people in life are ambitious, others aren’t,” he added.

2008, a fateful year

Back in 2008, Diaby was at the receiving end of a disastrous tackle by Sunderland’s Dan Smith in a 3-0 win for the Gunners. Immediately after the game, Arsene Wenger also said that he would seek legal action against Smith’s challenge due to bad intentions. 

“I am upset because it happened right in front of me and I knew the guy was miles away from the ball. There was only one intention, to hurt the player. It is a career-threatening tackle, and I will take legal advice to see how far I can go. I want justice,” he had commented.

Diaby also agreed that it was a critical point in his downfall ever since, “Of course, it is the moment that killed everything,” Diaby said. “It gave me a big restriction on my ankle, and I over compensated with other parts of my body. Before that, I’d never had a muscular injury; my lifestyle was good.” 

“But really, there is no resentment anymore. I left it behind a long time ago. The only thing I wish is that it happened early in my career. If it happened when I was 28, things might have been different. Between 19 and 27, I would have had time to progress, play every week and be the player I should have been,” he added.

Diaby, somewhat predictably, is currently sidelined with a foot injury and has made less than 200 career club appearances despite this being his 13th season as a professional footballer.

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