The beautiful game can often turn ugly. Whether it’s poor play, aggression spilling over, or in the case of this post, the odd horrific injury, it is often not as beautiful as we like! As living proof of ‘the ugly game’ we have compiled a list of seven of the worst footballing injuries from the past 30 years, but which accident claims top spot in your view?
On 27 February 2010 Arsenal beat Stoke 3-1 but that victory came at a cost, in the 65th minute 19-year-old Welshman Aaron Ramsey suffered breaks to both his tibia and fibula in a mistimed tackle from Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross. He required surgery keeping him out of action for 9 months.
At the time Shawcross was sent off and many felt it was a very poor tackle. However, subsequent replays show that it was just an unfortunate accident with Ramsey appearing on Shawcross’s blind side just before the collision.
John Arne Riise was famed for having one of the hardest shots in the Premiership, and Alan Smith found that out the hard way. In true Alan Smith Style he threw himself in front of a Riise shot at goal, only for the ball to hit his trailing leg in mid air. The result was a broken leg and a dislocated ankle joint, leaving Smith on the sidelines for over a year, Sir Alex claimed at the time it was “the worst he had ever seen”.
Cisse, has become known as the ‘the man of glass’ breaking his legs a number of times. However, on 30 October 2004 Cisse snapped his tibia and fibula so badly that if not for the fast attention given by medical staff he could have lost his leg. Cisse returned to action far quicker than expected after only 7 months out.
On 14 October 2006 Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech suffered an injury that almost killed him and has left his requiring to wear a head guard in games ever since. In the opening minutes of Chelsea vs. Reading, Reading’s Stephen Hunt went in for a challenge with Cech catching him on the head with his knee, the challenge didn’t look too bad and Hunt was not punished, but Cech actually was suffering from a fractured skull, which required surgery, he returned to action 6 months later.
Surely one of the most famous injuries in world football, Frenchman Patrick Battison raced clear on goal in the quarter-final of World Cup 1982, beating German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher to the ball only for the German number 1 to launch at the French defender with an elbow to the face, breaking his jaw, knocking out two teeth, damaging his spine and knocking him unconscious. He was ruled out for 6 months. To add insult to injury his effort trickled wide and the referee awarded a goal kick to the Germans!
On 8 April 1996 Coventry defender David Busst went up for a corner in the dying moments of a clash with Manchester United. As the ball dropped to Busst he went for it along with Manchester United players Dennis Irwin and Brian McClair, the collision snapped his tibia and fibula in his right leg. The injury was so bad Manchester United goal keeper Peter Schmeichel needed trauma counselling afterwards and was reportedly sick at the side of the pitch at the time, the game was also stopped for 12 minutes whilst blood was cleared from the pitch. Busst had 22 operations to save his leg; unfortunately he never played again but stayed involved with Coventry for a short time after.
Sometimes injuries can occur even after the game, as was the case with Arsenal’s Steve Morrow. Having scored the winner in the league cup final Morrow was celebrating after the game on Tony Adams’ shoulders when Adams slipped and dropped him. Morrow broke his arm badly and had to be rushed to hospital; this meant he missed the rest of the season including the FA cup final triumph.