Abou Diaby has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32.
Diaby made 180 appearances over the course of nine years at Arsenal, but he was never quite the same player after a terrible foul by Sunderland’s Dan Smith snapped his leg three weeks before our Champions League final with Barcelona in May 2006.
The former France international was released by the Gunners in the summer of 2015 and he subsequently moved to Marseille.
The injuries that wrecked his time at Highbury and the Emirates restricted him to just six appearances at the Stade Velodrome, the last of which came in August 2016.
On releasing Diaby, Arsene Wenger, who’d signed him as a teenager from Auxerre, lamented, “It’s one of the saddest moments for us at Arsenal not to have had the opportunity to get the best out of Abou Diaby because of injury.
“I’m very sad because this boy is a massive and a huge talent. It’s sad as well because he didn’t deserve what he got.”
Speaking about the decision to hang up his boots, Diaby said on channel SFR Sport, “I have put an end to my professional career. The time has come. For a number of years, it was difficult for me to come back with a lot of physical issues. I kept asking the question, but my body wasn’t following.
“It’s a difficult decision. This decision marks the end of a chapter but a new one starts. I’ve comfortable with this decision, it’s been well-considered.
“After Marseille, I gave myself a year to have the chance to come back but it turned out to be more complicated than I thought and I decided to stop. Even in my daily life, I was embarrassed.
“From there, you had to make a decision and the right one. Today, I aspire to undertake, to return to the world of football also someday. I have clear ideas.”
Thanks for the memories, Abou. We wish you all the best with whatever you choose to do next. Come pay us a visit soon.