5 Of The Most Unlucky Footballers In History

Football is a game of chances and almost every aspect of it is unpredictable — and the outcome could be good or bad. Some footballers have been unlucky to be on the bad side of it for most of their career.

In this post, FootballOrbit looks at 5 of the most unlucky football players ever.

1. Michael Ballack

Michael Ballack won so many trophies during his career, but many still believed that he could have achieved more.

He was part of a star-studded Germany side in the 2000s, but failed to win any trophy with his country.

In fact, the closest he came was during the 2002 FIFA World Cup — where Germany lost to Brazil in the final.

During his career, Ballack suffered losses in so many major competitions.

He was twice a runner-up in the Bundesliga and twice lost out in the final of the Champions League!

Michael Ballack - 5 of the most unlucky footballers in history
Michael Ballack’s runners-up medals

In 2000, Bayer Leverkusen needed only a draw against minnows, Unterhaching, to win the Bundesliga title; but an own goal by Ballack saw the team fall to a crushing 0-2 defeat — while Bayern Munich clinched the title with a 3-1 victory over Werder Bremen.

In 2002, Ballack finished second in the Bundesliga, lost the DFB Pokal and Champions League finals, and also lost the World Cup final!!!

Surely it can’t get worse………

But it did!

Ballack suffered another calamitous year in 2008 when Chelsea finished runners-up in the League Cup, Premier League and Champions League and Germany also lost the Euro 2008 final to Spain!!!

The year 2008 became the second in Ballack’s career (after 2002) that he was runner-up for 4 major trophies!!!

Furthermore, he missed the 2010 FIFA World Cup after getting injured in the last game of that season.

You can now see why Michael Ballack is unarguably the most unlucky footballer ever.

He never won the UEFA Champions League or the World Cup in his career.

2. Andres Escobar

Andrés Escobar was a Columbian defender known for his clean style of play and calmness on the pitch.

In 1994 — at the peak of his career — he was unfortunately assassinated.

The defender had just played for the Colombian national team at the 1994 World Cup, where his own goal against USA eventually led to his country’s elimination.

There were reports that Colombia’s loss caused some drug cartels to lose heavy bets. As a result, they targeted Escobar.

He was shot 6 times at close range at a bar’s parking lot in El Poblado — with the shooter reportedly shouting “Gol!” (“Goal!”) after each shot. Disheartening!!!

Terrible injuries can ruin a player’s career, and that’s exactly what happened to the next three players on this list.

3. Marco Reus

Marco Reus is one of the most talented players of this generation but injuries have greatly prevented him from fulfilling his immense potential.

The attacker came into limelight at Borussia Monchengladbach and secured a transfer to Borussia Dortmund.

Just in his first season at Dortmund, Reus lost the 2013 Champions League final to Bayern Munich who won through a painful last-minute Arjen Robben goal —which is regarded as one of the most epic and dramatic last-minute goals in football history.

Additionally, Reus’ brilliant Borussia Dortmund have been unlucky to come in this generation, as they seem to always come short against giants, Bayern Munich.

Marco Reus established himself as a regular for Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign — scoring 5 goals and registering 3 assists in 6 matches.

He was named in Germany’s squad for the World Cup in Brazil, but was unfortunately forced to withdraw after suffering an ankle injury in the team’s warm-up match.

Germany went on to become world champions in Reus’ absence!!!

4. Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere came through Arsenal’s youth academy and impressed from an early age.

He made his first-team debut in 2008, becoming Arsenal’s youngest ever league debutant at the age of 16 years & 256 days.

The youngster won numerous accolades — including the PFA Young Player of the Year award, selection to the 2010/11 PFA Team of the Year, and Arsenal’s Player of the Season award — in his first full campaign for the Gunners during the 2010/11 season.

But that was how far he would go as injuries robbed the world of seeing him at his very best.

On the 8th of July 2022, Jack Wilshere sadly announced his retirement from football, aged 30.

5. Owen Hargreaves

Owen Hargreaves was a very hard working midfielder, who worked tirelessly to win the ball and provide his teammates with possession, in his prime.

He started his professional career at Bayern Munich and impressed in Germany. This convinced Manchester United to sign him in 2007.

He won the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League in his first season at Old Trafford.

However, his time at United was plagued with numerous injuries which forced the club to eventually release him.

At a point during his time with Man Utd, Hargreaves missed 113 matches in 20 months due to injury!!!

After his departure from United; he joined local rivals, Manchester City, on a one-year deal.

City won the league in his only season at the club. However, Hargreaves did not qualify to receive a winner’s medal because he played just only 1 league match throughout the season!!!

Notable Mentions

¶Adrian Doherty
¶Abou Diaby
¶Eduardo da Silva
¶Kieron Dyer
¶Jonathan Richter
¶Abdelhak Nouri

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