It’s hard not to feel for Abou Diaby.
Once regarded as Arsenal’s next Patrick Vieira, a late challenge by Sunderland’s Dan Smith proved the catalyst for a career riddled with injuries, setbacks and upsets.
He left Arsenal – or the club’s injury table at least – to join Marseille last summer. And now after a whopping 506 days off the pitch he is set to make his return to football against Trelissac in the French Cup tomorrow (Thursday February 11). The Ligue 1 outfit beat Trelissac 2-0 in their only competitive meeting in 2010 – back them to win by the same scoreline tomorrow at 43/10. (price correct as of Wednesday February 10, 5pm)
As for Dan Smith, he went on to sign for at least ten other clubs including Huddersfield, Aberdeen, Gateshead and Australian fifth-tier outfit Holland Park Hawks. Sunderland fans report he is now a free agent.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the news of Abou Diaby’s return:
Surreal press conference in Marseille as Steven Fletcher graces room with his Scottish accent before Michel announces: ‘Abou Diaby is ready’
— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) February 10, 2016
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2016
Will forever feel sorry for Abou Diaby. Without injuries, he could have been one hell of a player.
— Arsenal News (@__arsenalnews_) February 10, 2016
Abou Diaby about to play his first game in 500+ days. No one can deny his commitment. Good luck.
— Marty McElwee (@iLikeMarty) February 10, 2016
Abou Diaby declared fit to play today and will pick up an injury tomorrow.
— CD. (@CONNOR_DIEY) February 10, 2016
— Spurs Tickets (@TicketHotspur) February 10, 2016
The Marseille medical staff prepare for Abou Diaby’s comeback tonight. It’s set to be his first match since Sept’14 pic.twitter.com/ClbNhjZwM2
— Betting Directory (@ukBettingNews) February 11, 2016