Thursday, February 22, 2024

Abou Diaby announces retirement

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.

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What sad, sad story of what could’ve been. Poor guy, wish him all the best in life.


All the best Diaby! Gutted not to see him fulfill his massive potential, but to not give up when your body fails you year after year after year..that takes some serious dedication and mental strength. Utmost respect to this man and hope he stays in football because he clearly has so much to give.

High gooner

this might sound stupid but since ive never been at the emirates I thought(*heard poorly through streams) for a long time that we chanted “DIA-BY” instead of (what Ive since realised) “RED ARMY”.. Anyhow, wish nothing but the best for Abou in his post-player career


That early season game at Anfield where he absolutely bossed Liverpool in the sunshine will live long in the memory. He would’ve run our midfield for years if it wasn’t for that cunt’s deliberate lunge in a meaningless game

Toure motors

Great memory, he was immense that day. Made the current rangers manager look like a complete mug. What a player he could have been


The thing was, it seemed like he was just on cruise control but absolutely dominating vs Liverpool. You could tell he had another two or three extra gears to go up if he wanted to. That’s how much potential he had.

Thierry Bergkamp

I missed that game, but I remember away to Fenerbache he played behind the striker (I think) and that was probably the best I’ve seen from him. He was definitely talented.

What the fuck has Dan Smith done as a professional footballer, other than break Diaby’s leg? That name doesn’t even sound like it belongs to a footaller.


5-2 GAME. I remember.. Think Ramsey got his first goals that day too.

Faisal Narrage

That game was unbelievable.

I still get credit for all my uni friends on my Arsenal-Liverpool prediction. I specifically predicted an Arsenal 2-1 win with a Diaby MOTM performance. Everyone laughed.

Sadly, I’m not a betting man.

A Different George

Blogs links to the column he wrote when Diaby left Arsenal in 2015, and it is definitely worth re-reading.


In the words of Darth Vader :
Also his is a story I would have loved to have been a successful one at Arsenal.

Billy Bob

Such a shame the FA never got on top of the savage tackling arsenal players endured, would have seen much more from diaby I am sure, always gonna love the way he destroyed liverbore

Naveen Seecheran

Rise Abou. And become who you were truly meant to be – Future manager of Arsenal!


He said he’s got clear ideas. If you take all that training and watch from the sidelines for so many years with his level.of technical understanding you’ll definitely learn a lot

The Limp Bar

Such a shame for him, could have been some player. Always seemed like a really decent bloke too.

Mesut O'Neill

I think Ben Arfa may feel differently about that


That may be because Ben Arfa is a twat.


I have a list of people I want to punch in the face. Dan Jones is high up on it.


A lot of Dan Jones around the world are breathing a sigh of relief now, knowing they arent going to be belted in the face by some random guy over an incident they had sfa to do with. 🙂 Those known as Dan Smith though, look out! I loves me some vigilante justice.

Lord Bendnter

Somewhere out there, there is a Dan Jones who should be very, very scared…


Don’t blame yourself Andrew, Dan Smith is a pretty hard name to remember.


So sad, he had everything to be one of the very best. Who the fuck is Dan Jones, he has a lot to answer for!!

Naked cygan

Dan Jones works for CNN


@Andrew Allen, do you see the conspiracy theories you’ve started! Next thing you’ll hear Dan Jones is involved with the Illuminati…allegedly! ?


Van Jones.. or Smith?


No, your thinking of van diesel….you know, the actor


I’ve got a diesel van – does that count?


Doesn’t he now work in a call centre?


That game at Anfield where he totally Vieira’d the midfield <3


I consider it one of the best individual away performances i have seen from ANY player.

Reality check

Vieira’d, nicely put in one word..

Arsene's Coat

Totally agree. Also this is fucking diaby gold:


Didn’t he also kick John Terry in the face. We should have a statue of that exact moment outside the Emirates…legend!


That’s the Diaby I remember. Best of luck for the future.

Thierry Bergkamp

In an Arsenal shirt, nothing can beat Santi vs the whole Man City team. Not to take anything away from you, as you did say “one of the best”.


Remember that game vividly. He was such a master ball carrier. Sad it has to end this way, but I’ll remember that game for a loooong long time I’m sure.


Never as good as good as people pretended he was, but a sad story none the less. Good luck, post football, Abou!


I hope Dam Smith is suitably ashamed and embarrassed.


Seems nobody is getting his name right tonight, including me..


Damn Smith seems quite fitting


Genuinely sad for Abou. Can’t think of another footballer with such talent to have had such bad luck.


I loved watching him play, so elegant how he rolled players. I recon he thinks he will be forgotten but for a few arsenal fans we will always remember how great a player he was. One of his last performances he absolutely bossed the Liverpool midfield, that’s how I’ll remember him! Respect

Reality check

“Who is stronger than me in central midfield? [Andres] Iniesta, [Luka] Modric, [Toni] Kroos, [Kevin] De Bruyne, [David] Silva – even Abou Diaby,” he said.

“He was exceptional at Arsenal. People forget about him but I learned a lot from him.” Paul Pogba

What a monster of a player he could’ve been. The Diaby we saw in the first half of that dreaded 4-4 at Newcastle is what he was capable of and the second half of that game is how his career panned out to be.


Just today I was randomly searching on google “abou Diaby 2019”, his wiki page, anything for some news of him.. and then this drops. What could’ve been…


I hope one day, if it is what he wants, he can come back to Arsenal in some role. Fantastic player that was dealt a really cruel hand. I was so proud of the way the club supported him. I disagree somewhat with the man’s politics but have absolutely no doubt about the character of the man. I’m hoping he can thrive now with the mind and heart where the body didn’t quite get there (or was broken by some useless cunt aided and abetted by the British media’s “knee high tackles are tough but fair” xenophobic bullshit at that… Read more »


Along with my namesake are two big regrets from the Wenger reign. Shame… but we will always have him kicking that twat Terry in the head.

Thierry Bergkamp

My soul aches whenever I think of Eduardo. If he hadn’t had his ankle snapped, the history books would have read – Arsenal 2008 Premier League Champions.


Class act. Wish him all the best.

Dr. kNOw

I still believe that if he didn’t get injured, Cesc may not have made it into the team consistently when the team reverted back to a 442 from 2006-10.

The team was still used to Vieira in those early years and Diaby would have filled that void seamlessly, curtailing the evolution to Barça Lite led by Cesc.

Sliding doors, eh…


Really sad to think about what his career could have been. Became my favorite player in the squad after Thierry left and am confident he would have seriously contended with Yaya for the title of best b2b midfielder in the prem for those years. Was always called up by France whenever fit (which was nerve-racking) and even recall a quote from Pogba once saying how much he admired him as a player. His injury history was brutal but he always handled it with such grace. Class act, wish him the best in the new chapter


Wishing Abou the best of luck to whatever the future brings!


A lot of people talk the talk, but how many people have actually kicked John Terry square in the face?


Abou Diaby literally kicked racism out of football! What an absolute legend for that moment alone.


No idea, but not enough…


I don’t get to see many Arsenal games in the flesh but I was lucky enough to watch Abou Diaby play at Anfield in 2012. Arsenal won 0-2 thanks to goals from Cazorla and Podolski. But for me Diaby stood out above everyone that day, his presence and skill was unbelievable. He made Steven Gerrard look very average that day. Good luck in the future Abou ?


Pogba wouldnt even exist if this guy had the opportunity to really flourish. Another sad tale that is maybe sadder than even Wilshere and Rosicky.


Quizzed by Canal+ on who he considers to be better midfielders than himself, Pogba said: “[Andres] Iniesta, he’s had an exceptional career.

“[Luka] Modric, [Toni] Kroos, David Silva, [Kevin] De Bruyne, Yaya Toure even Abou Diaby. Box-to-box, he was exceptional but unfortunately he had a lot of injuries.

“Look at him when he was he was at Arsenal – he was exceptional. People forget about him.

“In the France team, he was enormous. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I won’t forget him, I learned a lot from him.”


Fair play to Pogba.


Just had to go and watch all his highlight videos on YouTube ? Gutted for him. Sad day.


Dan the Cnut Smith is currently playing in the third tier in the Australian leagues according to Wiki. Ryan Shawcross and Martin Taylor can also pi$$ off there. About Diaby’s injury happening 3 weeks before the Champions League final, would he have played? I don’t think he would have started, but maybe would have been on the bench. The pivotal substitution in the game, in the 74th minute, when we were still winning 1-0, was Fabregas coming off, Flamini going on. This could have been Diaby going on instead. 2 minutes later, Barcelona scored, unfortunately….. Diaby was one of the… Read more »


i don’t know. we did our best to struggle for 4th, it would have taken something special to drop don to midtable.

Liam Abou-Young

I think we would have won the champs league against Barcelona if he didn’t get his leg snapped. What a player. What a shame

Lord Bendnter

Aah I’ll miss him. Best wishes to him.
Imagine an uninjured Diaby linking up with a titanium-hammy-Rosicky. Aaaah, mouthwatering….


Don’t make me cry…

Tom Gun

I’ll never forget seeing THAT challenge. I remember seeing it and knowing straightaway and the commentators not noticing how bad it was. It was a dead end of a game we were winning 3-0 and they were saying yeah that’s a red but not having a clue how bad the challenge was. They carried on chatting and I couldn’t understand it. I know players always get better the less they play (e.g. Eduardo, or Bellerin who will be the next Cafu by the start of next season!*) but Diaby really could have been epic. He had everything! One of the… Read more »


Favourite Diaby strike, his goal against Derby or knocking out John Terry? Tough call, knocking out Terry for me.

Coq au Vin

His goal against Derby goal was my first game at the Emirates. Seating in the east lower, I had the perfect view from behind the ball. Will remember it always!


One of the biggest potential huge talent sadly destroyed by injuries (and lack of referee protection)

Like Viera and Santi, a real Wenger find tested entry to the gaffer’s superb market instincts

And frankly, the sort of control these 3 players were able to command in midfield yet to be replicated.

Particularly important was their ability to bring the ball up through feet from deep.


Diaby, Wilshire, Rosicky, Eduardo, Ramsey… Why did teams hate us so much they felt they had to ruin careers. Ramsey is an exception.


Whoops! It reads wrong, I mean he is an exception to the list as he recovered the best!


Abou Diaby, thank you for the memories, and your contribution to the Arsenal. When he was fit and on form and allowed to play his natural game as an attacking midfielder – and not shoehorned into a more defensive role – he was one hell of a player. He was and is often mentioned in the same sentence as Vieira or, these days, Pogba. But the player he most reminded me of was Zidane. Diaby was obviously not quite as good as Zidane, but in terms of his style, vision, technique and ability to run with the ball and both… Read more »

Topside smudger

There was just something about him, he had the lot and you just knew that if he could stay fit he would be something special. Sadly it wasn’t to be but I’m glad he was one of us and I’m glad we stood by him for as long as we did. Good luck Abou.


It’s remarkable that he persevered and didn’t give up and retire earlier. In the last 5 seasons, he made a total of 8 appearances. Speaks a lot to his character. So sad!

I genuinely think we would have at least one or two more titles if Diaby, Eduardo, Rosicky and Van Persie had stayed injury free. And then Wenger’s legacy from the second half of his tenure could’ve been very different.

Der Kaiser

When I first saw Diaby I thought we had a new Viera and still believe he was that talented. He looked awesome. Effectively his career was ended by a single tackle and we can only dream of what might have been ( including in that Champions League final). Arsenal football club and Arsene Wenger were incredibly supportive and loyal ( maybe blind and naive as like Jack he was clearly never going to be able to fulfill that talent and play regularly). However, I always got the impression that Diaby was grateful for the loyalty and a true professional who… Read more »


His goal against Villa in 2008 is one of my favourite Arsenal goals. Shows what we missed. Shame.


If only, if only …

Take away the horrific injury and Abou Diaby could have been one of the all-time greats. He was a superb talent, and he made it all look so effortless. And he was also a complete class act, humble and appreciative of what he had. I’ll always have a soft spot for him.

Best wishes to you, Abou, wherever you go and whatever you do.


Anyone who kicked John Terry in the head is a legend.

A statue of that moment would fit well outside the stadium.


Hank Scoprio

It’s a damn shame he never realised his immense potential. Plenty have mentioned the Liverpool game. It was almost as if there were no opposition midfielders playing that day. He was unstoppable and I thought he’s over his injuries and going to lift us to new heights. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.


I remember seeing him partner Cesc in midfield when they were both young and getting very excited that we had probably the two best young midfielders in the world. Diaby would have gone on to be one of the best of that I have no doubt. That game against Liverpool at Anfield will always love long on the memory of only to serve as a sad reminder of what we missed out on. The managers who sent their players out to kick us and the the talentless fucks who thought the only way to stop us was to kick us… Read more »


Love Abu. One of my Fav player. Amazing human being too. Very humble. Deserved a lot more out the game when you think the likes of Ravel Morrison who wasted his talent, Abu never gave up.


He was a massive talent. Just remember, after the periods of serious injuries when he looked to overcome the niggles just immediately got back to the French national team and impreseed everyone with his sparkling displays. But unfortunatelly it was a short time. We, the Gunners always dreamed of a fully fit Diaby, so it was hard to let him go from the Arsenal. An unfinished chapter, so sad…


Diabys injury always struck me as being the sort of thing that was always ok to do to Arsenal. Eduardo and Ramsey both suffered too. It could just be me being biased but I can’t think of any other Premier League team of that time that got so badly treated by shit average players. Could you imagine the press if any current shit average player damaged one of the current Man City, Liverpool or Spud players?


When he was on, he was amazing.
Thanks for the memories.
Best of luck Abou Diaby.

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