All-time Worst Football Injuries

Sports fans often think that football players have it fairly easy when it comes to the injury side of the game. While football players may spend a significant amount of their time rolling around on the pitch in the aftermath of contact injuries that might have been stoically accepted by six year old girls, the horrific injury to Eduardo in June demonstrates that some of the most serious and grisly injuries in sport are sustained by football players.

Here are the five worsts football injuries of all time:

5. Alan Smith


Rated by Alex Ferguson as the worst injury he’d ever witnessed (and that includes those inflicted by him as he threw around the tea set in the dressing room during poor Manchester United performances), Alan Smith’s leg-breaking landing following an attempt to defend a free kick qualifies as one of the worst sports injuries ever.

Without taking contact from another player Alan Smith landed awkwardly on his left leg, somehow contriving to not only to snap his leg, but also to twist his ankle. He returned to action within a year.

4. Djibril Cisse


French striker Djribril Cisse brought his own sense of flair and style to proceedings when breaking his leg whilst playing for Liverpool against Blackburn Rovers. The striker snared his football boots in heavy turf, fracturing his tibia.

Cisse then went on to make an encore performance at a warm up game between France and China in 2006, twisting his knee savagely whilst putting in a tackle. Despite the severity of the injuries, Cisse’s rapid, almost miraculous recoveries saw him back in action within three months of both incidents.

3. Patrick Battiston


One of the worst ever football injuries was the result of a tackle that verged on assault. During a 1982 game between France and Western Germany, French midfielder Battiston was faced with a clear shot on goal with only German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher to beat.

At the moment Battiston unleashed his shot Schumacher launched himself into a kung-fu-esque leap which saw him deliver an elbow to Battiston’s face, knocking the Frenchman out cold and breaking his jaw. It took Battiston six months to recover from the injury and return to play.

2. Kieron Dyer


The injury suffered by Kieron Dyer during a West Ham United game against Bristol Rovers in August of 2007 was not malicious, however it was easily one of the worst seen on a football pitch.

During the opening minutes of the match the West Ham player’s leg succumbed to the massive pressure of a Joe Jacobson tackle, breaking in two places. Kieron Dyer is yet to return to duty for his club.

1. David Busst


The injury to David Busst during a game between Manchester United and Coventry City in 1996 is regularly cited as the worst ever football injury. The BBC refused to show replays of the injury and fans were left to wonder why goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel fled the scene with his hands over his eyes.

The injury was the result of an inadvertent collision between Busst and a defender which saw him suffer multiple fractures. Although the public has never seen a detailed replay of the injury, it was so severe that Peter Schmeichel was forced to undergo trauma counselling in the aftermath of the event. Busst never played football again.

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