Romeo Lavia has made just one appearance for Chelsea this season.

9 players we completely forgot were injured featuring Chelsea, Liverpool & Real Madrid stars

Injuries are the bane of any footballer’s career, as players from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid can testify as they nurse their wounded bodies from the sidelines.

As the number of games for elite clubs increases, injuries seem to occur on a more regular basis these days and players have to be wary of shortening their careers by rushing back too soon.

We’ve picked out nine players who have been injured for so long we’ve almost forgotten they existed.


Gavi was becoming a fulcrum of Barcelona and Spain’s midfield before suffering a cruciate ligament tear in the latter’s final Euro 2024 qualifier against Georgia in November which looks set to keep him out until the start of next season.

“It is a very difficult and very hard moment, for Gavi and Barca, but also for the national team and for me,” Spain manager Luis de la Fuente said at the time.

“We are destroyed but football has these things, this is the ugly part and it is something uncontrollable. It seemed that we had lost.”

Romeo Lavia

Lavia will miss the remainder of the season following a setback in his recovery from injury – ruling him out of Belgium’s squad for Euro 2024.

The 20-year-old, who signed for Chelsea from Southampton last summer for £53million, suffered a significant thigh injury against Crystal Palace in December.

Lavia has made just one substitute appearance for the Blues in his debut season and opened up about his feelings of frustration over recent months.

“This has been a frustrating season for me, not being able to help my team-mates,” Lavia said. “I love this squad, this badge and being on the pitch more than anything.

“Trust that I have given my all every day to get back.”

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David Alaba

Real Madrid have been decimated by injuries this year; Thiabuat Courtois suffered an ACL tear early in the 2023-24 season before another knee injury ended his chances of playing this season, with a meniscus tear requiring surgery.

And Eder Militao has been out with his own knee injury since August 2023, although he’s expected to be fit for the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.

But Alaba won’t be so lucky; the defender suffered an ACL tear that means he’ll miss the remainder of Madrid’s 2023-24 campaign and the chance of captaining Austria at Euro 2024.


Reece James

James is arguably the best right-back in the Premier League when fit, but such occasions have proved to be few and far between in recent years.

The Chelsea captain has made just nine appearances in 2023-24 after injuring his hamstring in training.

“It’s a sad moment because he’s our captain,” said Mauricio Pochettino.

“He was so excited and full of energy to be our captain. We are going to assess him day by day. For sure he’s going to [come back] stronger than he was. It’s a few weeks.”

The 24-year-old only made 16 Premier League appearances last season in a campaign blighted by injury. He looks set to miss out on this summer’s European Championship.

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Jurrien Timber

After signing for Arsenal last summer, Timber ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his first-ever half of Premier League football against Nottingham Forest back in August.

He returned to training in February, with Mikel Arteta saying:  “I really hope so (he’ll play again this season), he’s doing really well.”

That hasn’t happened yet and many will question the wisdom of throwing a player returning from long-term injury straight into the furnace of a Premier League title race.

But Arsenal haven’t always looked secure at left-back this year and somebody of Timber’s quality could prove invaluable in the hunt for domestic and European silverware.

Tyrone Mings

Mings suffered a knee injury on the opening weekend of the 2023-24 season in Aston Villa’s 5-1 defeat to Newcastle and has been missing from action ever since.

“One day it will all be a distant memory and an experience to be grateful for,” the defender posted in a recovery video on social media. “Cannot wait for the return to Villa Park.”

At the same time, it was clear from the same video that Mings’ right leg has muscular atrophy, which is the decrease in the size of muscle tissue due to a lack of physical activity. Let’s hope he can recover soon.

Stefan Bajcetic

Bajcetic was a real bright spark in his breakthrough year, Liverpool’s otherwise miserable 2022-23 campaign.

But the young midfielder suffered an adductor last March and has suffered a series of setbacks that have resulted in him missing almost the entirety of this season so far.

Bajcetic made two cup cameo appearances back in September but has been out of action ever since. There’s no timeframe for his recovery and rumours he’s on the verge of returning to training don’t indicate he’ll play any part in the run-in.

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Emiliano Buendia

Buendia hasn’t played a part in Aston Villa’s impressive season so far after he suffered knee ligament damage on the eve of the new Premier League campaign.

It was a crushing blow for the attacker as he was arguably Villa’s most impressive player during pre-season and who also featured in all 41 matches the club played in all competitions last term.

In January, Buendia told Relevo: “When the extent of the injury became known, Emery called me. He told me to be calm, that it was time for me to recover in the best possible way and to enjoy the family.

“That if I needed anything. Almost every day he asks about my progress, how I feel and how I am psychologically.

“The greatest moment of satisfaction I have felt in all these months? There are many, but I will stick with a recent one. I went to the doctor’s office and saw that my knee moved like a normal knee .

“I didn’t feel any kind of discomfort. It was one more step in that return to normality.”

Nick Pope

Newcastle have missed Pope like a hole in the head; since their goalkeeper dislocated his shoulder in December, Newcastle have slid from European contention to mid-table and leaked goals with alarming regularity.

According to Eddie Howe, there is hope for Pope’s return by mid to late April if all goes well with his recovery and there are no setbacks in his rehab process.

“April is his target, but it will likely be towards the end of the month. He is making good, solid progress,” the Toon boss said in March 2024.