Arsenal confirmed on Monday that Diaby has announced his retirement from playing soccer at the age of 32. Diaby has been without a club since the end of the 2016-2017 season, where he left Marseille after playing just five league matches in two years.
Despite a career with Arsenal that lasted nearly a decade (January 2006 through July 2015), Diaby made just 180 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners. That’s because, according to the Daily Mail, he suffered an incredible 42 separate injuries in London. Diaby missed action due to injuries to his calf muscles, thigh muscles, knees, back, and one concussion he suffered as well.
All in all, he only had two seasons in his entire career where he played more than 20 league matches in a season – 2008/2009 and 2009-2010. Diaby’s 2009/2010 season was enough to get him into the France National Team squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. However, despite starting all three group games, that tournament ended in infamy for Les Bleus, with some players staging a mutiny.
Amazingly, despite the years of injuries and lack of matches, Wenger continued to believe in Diaby and give him a second chance, hoping that if healthy, he could shore up the team’s shaky central midfield position. Alas, Diaby was never truly able to be fit for long enough stretches, and Arsenal let him leave in 2015.
When he did play, Diaby showed good technical ability for a player standing at 6’4″, and he was agile enough to evade tacklers when dribbling through midfield.
It’s a sad end to Diaby’s career, but by officially calling it quits, perhaps the Frenchman can now move on to another career, within soccer or on the outside. Even though he never became a club legend, he’ll always have a connection to Arsenal.