Unluckiest Footballers of All Time

Mon 26 April 2021 | 15:00

As a huge football fan, you most likely remember many significant moments, that though everything was ready, lack of luck did not let players do it. There is a list of unluckiest footballers of all time whose lack of chance deprived them of scoring and reaching the position they deserved.

Have you ever seen a scene in which you said that if the player had been a bit luckier, he would have scored? These regrets are not related only to scoring goals moments but to a wide range of significant seconds, in which the lack of chance caused the players to miss earning awards or any notable titles.

Besides all techniques and skills, which many talented footballers have at the pick of displaying their brilliant playing, just being a bit lucky can work as the last piece to help them leave themselves a memorable moment. Maybe, that is why many call football a game of chance, though reaching the top position needs the maximum players and coaches' hardworking.

Based on the viewpoint, nothing can work like luck in the football world to complete the footballers' efforts to change their work to a masterpiece. To support their idea, they cite the events that though the players were so talented, they failed to rise to the top, only because of happening something strange which were not under human control.

Through the following article, we have gathered ten of the unluckiest football players of all time, the ones who could achieve an excellent result if they were a little luckier. On the list, besides the names of the most unlucky footballers in history, we will present a brief review of their career records and explain the reason why their names are on the list.

To know more about what has happened exactly to the group of players whose names are among the unluckiest footballers ever, stay with us till the end of the article.

A look at the list of Unluckiest footballers of all time

Within the following list, we will uncover the name of ten prominent and talented players, who though presented and did their best, could not reach their full potential and achieve what they have deserved. So, despite their efforts in playing successfully, their names are among the unluckiest footballers of all time. Without more ado, let's start and take a look at the list and the accounts which led them to be one of the

most unlucky footballers in history


Michael Ballack

  • Date of Birth:

    26 September 1976

  • Nationality:


Michael Ballack, the former German professional footballer, has left a rich career history from himself. Ballack is one of the top goal scorers in the history of the German national team. However, not everything did not go well, which led him to be one of the

unluckiest footballers ever


The talented player retired with an entirely perfected CV, though he has almost admitted he could have gained more. Taking a look at Ballack's achievements and honors will reveal he won a wide range of notable titles in


and England, but he was famous as a nearly-man.

The player who was part of a star-studded German team could not win any trophy with his country. Among the honors that Ballack achieved, such as the runner-up award in nine significant competitions and twice in the Bundesliga, there are some other occasions which he missed gain.

The bad luck, such as losing out in the final of the Champions League or missing the 2010 World Cup due to his injury in the last match of the season, can describe why he is one of the unluckiest footballers of all time.

In a word, for players talented as much as Ballack and the ones coupled with teams, winning the

Champions League

and World Cup was easy, while the German star could earn none of them. No wonder why the German know him as Mr. Silver Medal. 

Adrian Doherty

  • Date of Birth:

    10 June 1973

  • Nationality:


The next

unluckiest footballer of all time

is a footballer whose name might not seem familiar to football fans, Adrian Doherty. Lack of knowledge about the Irish legend comes from his short lifespan, which did not let him live long enough for accomplishing even half of his potential.

Doherty, named "football's lost genius," could be a multiple

Premier League

and Champions League winner if everything had gone according to plan. Unfortunately, going the other way of everything caused the talented winger to leave football when he was so young, at the age of 26.

As one of the players of

Manchester United

's famed Class '92, Doherty had displayed his excellent performance in a way that Alex Ferguson called him a footballer with the most glorious prospect among the youth players in Man United.

Ferguson also described him as a star who was even ahead of Ryan Giggs and was qualified for becoming a club legend. However, before reaching all he deserved to gain, he died. So, it is clear why his name is amongst the

unluckiest players in football history


Due to suffering an injury that remained in his body forever, the club released Doherty. Fate took the talented teenager from playing in the football world to do some ordinary jobs and then to untimely death by falling into a canal. At the time, it was clear which level of success he could have achieved if the injury had not occurred in his developing period. 

Andres Escobar

  • Date of Birth:

    13 March 1967

  • Nationality:


Among the

unluckiest football players of all time

presented on the list so far, Andres Escobar is the most unlucky one. He was on the way to developing in his career, which aggrieved criminals killed him cruelly.

The center-back player had a brilliant performance, control, and calm on the ball, which had aroused much admiration about his playing style. Having begun his career by playing for

Atletico Nacional

, he played in Europe with the Swiss team

Young Boys

, though it did not take long.

After a short period, Escobar returned to his boyhood club again and continued till 1 July 1994, that his life ended. Only a short period before his death, Escobar took part in a competition for the Colombia national team in the 1994 World Cup.

Despite his excellent playing, his own goal against the USA finally led to their loss. After his death, there was some news about the bets on the match result, which Colombia's loss had caused some drug cartels to lose in betting and earned them to lose heavy bets and gave the idea of Escobar's killing to them.

Being shot six times from a close distance at a bar's parking lot in El Poblado, Escobar died while the shooter had shouted "Goal" after each shooting.  

Abou Diaby

  • Date of Birth:

    11 May 1986

  • Nationality:


The following

unluckiest footballers of all time

on our list is a French midfielder, whose performance had made him the next big event in the football world when he was a player. In the mid of 2000, the French appeared as one of the most amusing box-to-box midfielders of his generation.

However, things did not go well, and his brilliant appearance period did not last long because of his injuries. Only two months after moving to


, in January 2006, he was injured, which was his first setback.

It did not take long that Diaby fractured his ankle, an injury that forced him to undergo three surgeries for treatment. Not being recovered from the damage made some changes in his career history, and Arsenal released him in 2017.

Following it, Diaby tried to find his career way by joining Ligue 1 giants Olympique Marseille, though not everything went according to his plan. Another injury caused him not to play more than five times for the club.

Although Diaby was an immense talent of his generation in the football world and tried a lot to do his best, being unlucky with fitness matters did not let him perform as an excellent player during his career history. 

Owen Hargreaves

  • Date of Birth:

    20 January 1981

  • Nationality:

    British- Canadian

Most likely, not many Manchester United fans have many memories of Owen Hargreaves, whose name is amongst the unluckiest footballers of all time. Coming from an entirely different breed, Hargreaves stepped into Old Trafford while he was a reputed player, but nothing worked out well.

Describing Hargreaves' career in one word is more synonymous with injuries. After displaying professionally through the youth ranks at

Bayern Munich

, he returned to England in 2007 for appearing in Red Devils.

Through four years that Hargreaves appeared at Old Trafford, he did not appear in competitions more than 27 times and score two goals. Having gotten the title of England's best player in the 2006 World Cup, Hargreaves confronted some physical injuries from the following year, which caused many problems for him.

Following suffering a leg break and numerous surgeries on both his knees, he had sat out of playing for a long time, 777 days. Finally, in 2010 the long wait finished, and Hargreaves came back to the pitch.

Though not more than six minutes, he could stay in, and while he was limping off, he left the pitch. Eventually, the British-Canadian unlucky player moved to

Manchester City

in 2012, and only after making one appearance, he retired. 

Djibril Cisse

  • Date of Birth:

    12 August 1981

  • Nationality:


Despite playing in the Premier League, Champions League, World Cup, and appearing for 13 various clubs across two continents, Djibril Cisse's name is on the list of the unluckiest footballers of all time. Going through the events that happened to the French player reveals that he could not achieve his promise land.

Having joined


in 2004, Djibril Cisse suffered a series of niggling injuries, which caused him not to reach his full potential and shaped his career life. Through playing for Liverpool, he won many awards, though it earned him snapped leg, a broken tibia, and fibula, which ruined any opportunity for establishing himself.

Cisse played for several top clubs, including Sunderland, Lazio, and Marseille, though he deserved to be a member of more elite clubs, such as Bayern,

Real Madrid

, and


Jack Wilshere

  • Date of Birth:

    1 January 1992

  • Nationality:

    British- England

Before saying why Jack Wilshere's name is amongst the

unluckiest footballers of all time

, it is better to look at how much he is talented. Wearing the

West Ham United

jersey often reminds the memories of what level of profession and reputation the skillful midfielder could have achieved.

Joining Arsenal in his youth career seemed an excellent start to his professional, and his brilliant performance in his first complete season looked extraordinary, which earned him the title of Arsenal Player of the Year.

Additionally, his name is on the youngest players list who made their debut at 18 years and 222 days for England. However, due to an injury, Jack Wilshere has not appeared in a season without sitting out. Finally, in the summer of 2018, when Unai Emery, at the time Arsenal manager, assigned him a bit-part role, Wilshere decided to join West Ham.

Following suffering the injuries, not only has Wilshere failed to take part in the Champions League, but he also rarely takes part in the Europa League, which might come from his lack of luck. During recent years, most have called him "Jack Wheel Chair." Now, you probably know why he is famous by the name. 

Eduardo da Silva

  • Date of Birth:

    25 February 1983

  • Nationality:

    Brazilian- Croatian

Reviewing the talented strikers who have played in the Premier League will uncover many names, though few of them had the striking instincts of Silva. Unfortunately, his golden period did not last long, and due to a dangerous ankle dislocation, his profession, which was on its fledgling, could not keep going well.

Before the injuries, he was a fine goal scorer player for the Gunners and Arsene Wenger's first-choice striker, but the damage earned him a rush need for immediate surgery. Most believed Arsenal would have won the league if Eduardo had taken part in the competitions entirely.

His treatment lasted two years, and when he returned to play after the long period of not appearing on the pitch, he scored a goal, though occurring another injury kept him out again. Following the bad lucks, Arsenal sold Eduardo to

Shakhtar Donetsk

to decrease its losses in 2010.

Having played for the new joined club for four years, Eduardo came back to Brazil and joined


. The player who once played for Arsenal now is in Poland for Legia Warsaw. How unlucky!

Abdelhak Nouri

  • Date of Birth:

    2 April 1997

  • Nationality:

    Dutch- Moroccan

During playing in a match between



Werder Bremen

, Nouri suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage suddenly. Being hospitalized in an induced coma, Nouri lived in a vegetable state even when he woke up from the coma due to the high severity of the injury. Though his physical fitness improved a bit in 2018, and by moving his eyebrows, he could communicate, fate did not let him return to his profession. 

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima

  • Date of Birth:

    18 September 1976

  • Nationality:


We want to end the unluckiest footballers of all time list by Ronaldo, someone whose name only reviews the Portuguese star to young football fans, but for a bit older ones reminds many extraordinary moments on the pitch of a Brazilian legend.

However, comparing these two stars is out of fair. On our list, the unlucky player is the latter who achieved the Ballon d'Or when he was 20 and earned the title of the youngest ever recipient of the prestigious award, an honor which no one, even Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portuguese footballer), could access.

The abilities such as excellent dribbling, shooting, and scoring goals have made him the best striker of all time. Also, he was the record holder of the world transfer two times, and scoring 200 goals for club and country set another record before his 23drd birthday.

However, serious injuries never let Ronaldo's genius reach all he deserved. Playing at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, he confronted several career-threatening that finally led his career on a downward spiral.

What is unfortunate is that during his playing time, which was not so long, he won the World Cup twice and FIFA Best Player three times, and if he had remained fit a bit more, he would have achieved a lot. 

As you read, within the article, we mentioned ten players' names under the title of

unluckiest footballers of all time

and described the account that happened to them, and labeled them unlucky.

Although we have tried to provide as much information about the players on the list as possible in the article, we may have left some parts because it is not feasible to cover all the details. If you have any ideas regarding the unluckiest players in football history, share them with us via the comment section.

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source: SportMob