Aaron Ramsey’s recent broken leg at the hands, or should I say feet, of Ryan Shawcross has sparked the famous pub debate: what is the worst (we mean best) football leg-break injury ever? OTP has offered up some splendid contenders.
1. David Busst – Manchester United vs Coventry City, 1996
Sadly for him, the poster boy of broken legs is David ‘I will always be remembered as the bloke who made Peter Schmeichel throw up on the pitch’ Busst. Whether is was the 20 something operations it took to ensure his leg remained attached to his body, or the 10 minutes spent mopping the blood up out of the penalty box, I think it’s safe to say their would be no complaints if the former Coventry player took home the accolades.
2. Luc Nilis – Ipswich Town vs Aston Villa, 2000
Three things strike us about the Luc Nilis incident:
1. His shin seems to be wrapped around Richard Wright’s leg. Perhaps it is made of rubber?
2. Richard Wright seems to be in a lot more pain!
3. Nilis only has three fingers on his left hand.
Needless to say, Nilis would retire after only three games for the Villains following the injury. Something about shin splints… the softy!
3. Djibril Cisse – Blackburn Rovers vs Liverpool, 2004
Djibril ‘not enough milk as a youngster’ Cisse swamps the charts much like the Black Eyed Peas did in 2009, by appearing not once, but twice on OTP’s list! Cisse’s brittle bones first decided to give way when he came up against the hard-hitting Blackburn Rovers. At least if you are going to have a leg break against these gritty northern workhorses, it should be with a stamp, or a late, high challenge. But no, Cisse was happy to suffer his injury after a measly tangle of legs with Jay McEveley. He later revealed that had it not been for prompt attention from the trainers at the stadium, he would probably have lost the leg below the knee.
4. Djibril Cisse – France vs China, 2006
It’s like deja vu all over again. For his second bone breaker, Cisse’s decided to swap to the other leg and take his talent to the international stage. Just 10 minutes into France’s friendly with China, Cisse was knocked off balance China captain Zheng Zhi. Bye-bye, leg. Bye-bye, World Cup.
5. Henrik Larsson – Lyon vs Celtic, 1999
Henrik Larsson managed to break his leg in two places during Celtic’s trip to Lyon, after getting his studs caught up in the grass as he tussled for a loose ball. This injury put the Swede on the sidelines for eight months but as with the Cisse injuries, there was no spectacular challenge that resulted in the leg break.
6. Eduardo – Birmingham City vs Arsenal, 2008
This is more like it! Hold on, to clarify, we are not celebrating the leg break suffered by Eduardo, as it was every bit as horrific as the picture and slow-mo video suggests, but if you are going to suffer a horrendous injury it may as well be at the hands of a nasty, nasty challenge instead of falling over like Larsson and Cisse. Has there been a worse timed, worse positioned tackle than this one by Martin Taylor at St Andrews? Roy Keane vs Haaland perhaps, but give Taylor some credit, since he isn’t actually mental!
7. Alan Smith – Liverpool vs Manchester United, 2006
Another bizarre one. While trying to block a free kick by Ginge Arne Riise, Smith fell awkwardly breaking his leg, and also dislocating his ankle. Although the Liverpool crowd applauded Smith’s exit aboard his stretcher, the hardcore followed the ambulance as it tried to leave the ground and give it a bit of a wobble. Lovely bunch, eh? Also, remember when Pepe Reina had hair?
8. Marcin Wasilewski – Anderlecht vs Standard Liege, 2009
Not as famous as some on this list but just as brutal is the devastating tackle/stamp by Axel Witsel on an unfortunate Marcin Wasilewski back in August last year. Surgery has been carried out on Wasilewski’s multiple open fractures and his operations are not over. Who knows when the poor fella will be back, if at all. Vile.
9. Iñigo Díaz de Cerio – Eibar v Real Sociedad, 2009
This is what happens when Spanish players close goalkeepers down. The universe gets messed up and so did Diaz de Cerio’s leg. There is something quite moving and a little disgusting about the way he leaves his leg dangling in the wind.
10. Jacob Olesen, 2006
OK, it is not strictly a broken leg (it’s a dislocation) but it is pretty damn gruesome. Meet Jacob Olesen of Viborg. Here is the moment he realises his left foot is pointing west. I think ‘ouchy’ would be a suitable speech bubble for this one!