Robin van Persie and 10 Freak Football Injuries
Eight years ago today, Robin van Persie—in his previous incarnation as an Arsenal player—hurt current club Manchester United with a late equaliser against them at the Emirates Stadium. But then he hurt himself a little more.
The Dutchman—who had come on as a substitute—grabbed the leveller to make it 1-1 before Thierry Henry's late winner for the hosts, only for manager Arsene Wenger to later confirm the damage that Van Persie had done to himself to the BBC.
In rising from the turf to celebrate his goal, the then Gunners favourite somehow managed to break the fifth metatarsal on his right foot, an injury which would rule him out for the remainder of the season despite initial reports claiming it would only be six weeks.
At least Van Persie's final touch of the campaign proved to be a decisive one, though, and he is by far the only footballer to have suffered a freak injury either on or off the pitch.
As this list shows, injuries might be painful, but they can also be bizarre.
An Attic and a Sign Get the Better of Richard Wright
At least Van Persie's injury was sustained in the act of helping out his team, something that can't be said about Richard Wright's as we kick off with an absolute masterpiece of this genre.
The former Arsenal, Everton and England man and current Manchester City training cone was considered the future of English goalkeeping when he joined Arsenal from Ipswich in 2001, but he soon moved on to Everton after things didn't quite work out at Highbury. And that's where the fun started.
Challenging the veteran Nigel Martyn for a first-team place, Wright managed to injure his shoulder when falling out of his attic as he put away some suitcases. Then years later, the goalkeeper ignored a sign telling him not to practice in the goalmouth as he warmed up before an FA Cup tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Can you guess what happened next?
That's right, he fell over the sign, injured his ankle and was out of the team again.
His was the injury "gift" which kept on giving.
Aftershave 1, Santiago Canizares 0
One of the best goalkeepers of the early 2000s, Valencia's Santiago Canizares was firmly established as Spain's No. 1 going into the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, but he never made it there.
At a pre-tournament training camp in Jerez, Canizares was shaving in his hotel room when he dropped a bottle of aftershave in his sink, shattering it in the process. A glass shard from the bottle fell to the floor and severed a tendon in the goalkeeper's right foot, immediately ruling him out of the tournament.
"I do not consider myself unlucky by any means," Canizares told reporters, fooling no one in the process.
Canizares' No. 1 shirt for the tournament was taken by a 21-year-old Iker Casillas, who never really looked back.
Darius Vassell Becomes the Aston Driller
Occasional goal-getter, England Euro 2004 penalty-misser and kind of a big deal in Turkey, Darius Vassell was a well-known Premier League figure in the 2000s but fancied himself as a bit of a doctor, too.
In 2002, the Aston Villa forward was pained by a blood blister which had formed underneath the nail on his big toe and decided that action was needed. Decisive action.
Vassell grabbed a power drill and attempted to drill through his toenail in order for the blood to drain out. Genius, right? Wrong.
The forward's actions led to an infection, and he was ruled out for several weeks.
Not to worry though: The incident also spawned this weird animation.
Philippe Mexes Gets an Eyeful on a Sunbed
Philippe Mexes missed AC Milan's Champions League clash with Celtic in November 2013 with an eye problem known as "central serous retinopathy." Sounds pretty bad, right?
In the days which followed, though, any concerns over the Frenchman's long-term health or career were dispelled when it was revealed that he had picked up the "injury" by spending too much time on sunbeds, leading Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani to call the whole thing "bizarre," according to the Mirror.
Mexes returned to the Milan team a week later, but not before a few choice words from his teammates, no doubt.
Liam Lawrence's Labrador Outs Himself as a Portsmouth Fan
Stoke City had made an impressive start to their debut Premier League campaign in 2008/09, but Liam Lawrence's dog soon hampered that progress.
The winger missed a trip to Portsmouth in October 2008 after tripping over his pet Labrador on the stairs, falling down them in the process and injuring his ankle.
He told BBC Radio Stoke:
It was in the middle of the night, the dog lies on the stairs and I didn't see him.
I trod on him, realised what I'd done, tried to go to the next step, gone over on my ankle and fallen down the stairs.
I'll miss the weekend, then it's the international break. Hopefully I'll be back after that.
There's no word if the dog ever recovered.
Lomana LuaLua Takes a Tumble and Upsets Harry Redknapp
Portsmouth's successful battle against relegation in the 2005/06 season was one of the most compelling in the division's history but also featured a touch of comedy.
As reported by The Independent, forward Lomana LuaLua had already picked up a knock when he rose to head home a cross for a crucial late equaliser against Arsenal, but he forgot about that problem when he launched into his trademark somersaulting celebration, only remembering about it when he landed painfully on his ankle.
Manager Harry Redknapp was less than impressed, according to the Independent: "He still did his triple somersault with pike without realising he'd hurt himself. He's a one-off."
Thankfully so, for his manager's sake.
From Pleasure to Pain for Arsenal's Steve Morrow
We can't talk Arsenal and freak injuries without mentioning Steve Morrow, who enjoyed pleasure and endured pain on one Wembley afternoon in April 1993.
Morrow scored a second-half winner in the League Cup final against Sheffield Wednesday as the Gunners came from a goal down to lift the trophy, but in the post-match celebrations he broke his arm when he was accidentally dropped to the ground by exuberant Arsenal skipper Tony Adams.
The incident, recreated by comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel above, immediately caught the imagination, so much so that Morrow is forever remembered as the guy who broke his arm in the League Cup final, not the player who scored the winner.
Paulo Diogo Celebrates a Goal, Loses a Finger
You might want to hide behind the sofa for this one; this is not for the fainthearted.
Late on in a Swiss League game at FC Schaffhausen in 2004, Servette's Paulo Diogo (left) set up a goal for the future Birmingham and Wigan wide man Jean Beausejour. To celebrate, Diogo leapt onto the perimeter fence and shook it, but when he jumped off to head back to the pitch, most of the fourth finger on his left hand failed to go with him.
The recently married Diogo had caught his wedding ring in the fence, causing his finger to rip away from his hand. As the midfielder writhed in agony, an unsympathetic referee decided to book him for excessive celebrations, according to TopTenz.net.
Diogo's finger was never able to be reattached, but he continued with his career, even moving on to play for FC Schaffhausen in 2004.
Obviously, he'd always feel that part of him remained at Servette...
Ever Banega Gets Run Over by His Own Car
When Valencia's Ever Banega stopped to fill up his car at a petrol station in 2012, he obviously never imagined that he was in any danger. But then again, he didn't reckon with his own absentmindedness.
According to the Daily Mail, Banega left his handbrake off and saw his car roll backwards onto his leg, breaking an ankle and leaving him sidelined for six months.
Bet he leaves the handbrake on now.
Poacher Kirk Broadfoot Gets Egg on His Face
Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot decided that the microwave was the best place to poach a couple of eggs in May 2009. He was wrong.
When checking on his dinner, a boiling hot egg exploded in his face, forcing him to head for hospital with a scalded cheek.
Rangers boss Walter Smith confirmed that Broadfoot was fine to The Guardian, but the Scottish international and current Rotherham United man did at least gain an interesting search-term suggestion on Google from it all.
Go on, type in his name and see.