Sometimes, the most talented players of their generation don't get to fulfil their potential because of various problems with injuries. Full of wasted ability and parts of the body you never knew you had, here are six players whose playing dreams were quite literally crushed. Enjoy!
6. Michael Essien
Occasionally there are players that everybody remembers with affection, regardless of who they play for - Ghanaian talent Michael Essien was once a powerhouse in Chelsea's midfield and received the Best Player of the Year Award from the club's fans in the 2007/08 season.
Unfortunately, he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the pre-season of 2011 and never did anything of note upon his return. Shipped off on loan to Real Madrid, Essien barely featured in a short spell and can now be found in Greece, playing for Panathinaikos.
5. Alan Smith
It might interest you to note that the Notts County midfielder once played for Newcastle, Leeds (when they were good), and even Manchester United.
Alan Smith was deployed either in midfield or as a forward during his Premier League run, but it all fell to pieces when he suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle at the hands of Liverpool's John Arne Riise.
Sir Alex Ferguson described the injury as 'one of the worst I've ever seen', and now the player can be found in League Two.
4. Michael Owen
currently employed to offer boneheaded punditry, Michael Owen was once England's top striker and is most famous for his various successes at Liverpool.
Things went downhill when Owen's ACL was damaged in the 2006 World Cup for England against Sweden. After his return, you could practically see the yard of pace disappear from Owen's legs right before your very eyes.
Subsequent struggles for both Manchester United and Stoke - typically coming off the bench - convinced the forward that inept analysis of the game was better than barely being able to play it anymore.
3. Eduardo da Silva
One of Arsenal's two infamous leg-injury incidents involved Eduardo da Silva. Although he was initially intended as cover for long-term absentee Robin van Persie, Eduardo forced his way into first-team plans, albeit at a time when Arsenal still boasted such greats of the game as Nicklas Bendtner.
However, a tackle on the Croatian by Birmingham's Martin Taylor was so horrific that Arsene Wenger initially demanded the defender be banned from football. Eduardo's left fibula and ankle were so badly damaged that an immediate operation was required.
Eduardo still forged a vaguely successful career at Shakhtar Donetsk from 2010, but has since faded away from the spotlight.
2. Kieron Dyer
Although Kieron Dyer was once an excellent midfielder under Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle, he is sadly best known for two things not connected to his talent: that fight with Lee Bowyer and suffering multiple injuries.
Many claim that Dyer was cursed by injuries, but in reality, the first one he suffered was just too much for him to recover from.
Bristol Rovers' Joe Jacobsen broke his leg in two places during a League Cup match when Dyer was playing for West Ham, and he spent the rest of his 'career' hobbling pitifully about for the likes of QPR amongst others. He sadly called time on a wasted career in 2013.
1. Dean Ashton
The saddest thing about Dean Ashton's long-term ankle injury is that it occurred during a mere training session for England.
It looked as though Ashton was going to have a brilliant career for West Ham and England when he excelled for the Hammers in 2006. However, a Shaun Wright-Phillips challenge brought his momentum to a grinding halt and he missed an entire year of football.
After another short spell of brilliance for the Hammers upon his return, Ashton realised that his ankle would not recover fully and he was compelled to retire at tragic age of 26, traditionally the exact age when footballers enter their supposed peak years.