Former Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby has claimed he could have won the Ballon d’Or had he not been so unlucky with injuries.
The 30-year-old ended a troublesome decade at the Gunners by joining Marseille in the summer, after making less than 180 appearances at the club.
Diaby has played just two games this season in Ligue 1 with a foot problem that has kept him sidelined since October.
However, the France international feels his injuries were the only setback preventing him winning football’s top prize.
“I have no limits. Once upon a time, people would ask me about the Ballon D’Or,” he told France Football.
“I told them I dreamt about it. I have always had big ambitions, like to become one of the best in my position. I think that I had the potential to achieve that.
“I am not saying it pretentiously, but some people in life are ambitious, others aren’t.”
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) November 29, 2016
Diaby believes a strong tackle five months into his Arsenal career in 2005 could have contributed to his halted progress.
Arsenal were playing Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and cruising 3-0 after 90 minutes when a horror challenge from Dan Smith caused the midfielder to be stretchered off.
“Of course it is the moment that killed everything,” Diaby told the Mail.
“That’s where it all came from. It gave me a big restriction on my ankle and I overcompensated with other parts of my body. Before that, I’d never had a muscular injury, my lifestyle was good”.
However, Diaby doesn’t blame Smith and only regrets the timing in which the incident happened.
“There is no resentment any more. I left it behind a long time ago. The only thing I wish is that it had happened later in my career,” he said.
“If it happened when I was 28, things might have been different. Between 19 and 27, I would have had time to progress, play every week and be the player I should have been.”