Former Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby has announced his retirement from playing at the age of 32 following an injury-ravaged career.
Diaby made just 198 club appearances in total during a senior career that spanned 14-and-a-half years, and had been without a club since being released by Marseille in 2017.
While at Arsenal Diaby, incredibly, suffered 42 separate injuries.
Abou Diaby announced his retirement on RMC: “It was time, it had been coming. For a certain number of years now it has been difficult for me to come back. I have had multiple fitness coaches, at one point or another I had to ask myself the burning question.
And I decided to quit simply because my body wouldn’t follow what I wanted to do anymore. Of course this is hard, I have given almost all my life to football. It is true that when you stop like this, it is as if a door is closing. But another is also opening. I took the time to think hard about this, it is a decision that has been well thought through, and I am at ease with it.”
Having commenced his career at Auxerre, Diaby joined Arsenal at the age of 19 in January 2006 and initially showed some encouraging signs for the Gunners, scoring his first goal for the club in a 5-0 victory over Aston Villa.
However, he suffered a severe ankle fracture following a challenge from Sunderland’s Dan Smith in May 2006 that set the tone for his subsequent injury struggles. Diaby missed the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.
Diaby, who installed the first seat at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, had some encouraging moments in the 2007-08 season, which included scoring a fine goal against Derby. He also netted away to Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The Frenchman continued to endure much difficulty with injuries and when he was available was often inconsistent, although he did show some glimpses of quality.
In a game against Liverpool early in the 2012-13 season, for instance, Diaby was outstanding as Arsenal won 2-0 at Anfield.
During his final seasons at Arsenal Diaby became a peripheral figure; indeed he played just one game in the 2014-15 campaign.
After leaving Arsenal, Diaby returned to France with Marseille but his injury problems continued.
Diaby mustered only six appearances for Marseille, having required surgery following an ankle injury.
On the international stage Diaby was capped by France at senior level on 16 occasions, scoring one goal, which came in a friendly against Finland in 2012. He was included in Les Bleus’ squad for the 2010 World Cup.