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Gael Kakuta says former Chelsea teammate who is now a free agent would be playing for Real Madrid if it wasn’t for injuries

Gael Kakuta says former Chelsea teammate who is now a free agent would be playing for Real Madrid if it wasn’t for injuries

The 34-year-old former Chelsea and Liverpool striker has been without a club since 2022.

Gael Kakuta thinks one of his former Chelsea teammates would currently be playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona had it not been for injuries.

The 32-year-old winger, who joined the Blues from French side Lens in 2009, is familiar with a career-threatening injury.

Shortly after breaking into the Chelsea youth team, Kakuta suffered a season-ending double ankle fracture.

In fact, to this day, he still feels pain from an injury in 2010 – when he suffered a tear in the muscle between the glute and hamstring.

Kakuta was loaned out to Fulham, Bolton, Dijon, Vitesse Arnhem, Lazio and Rayo Vallecano before joining Sevilla on a permanent deal in 2015.

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Having spent the majority of his six-year spell at Chelsea elsewhere, Kakuta still managed to impress some top players in West London.

Eden Hazard, who recently called Kakuta the most talented player he'd ever played with, was one of those standout names to praise the DR Congo international alongside Michael Ballack and John Obi Mikel.

Almost a decade on and the former Chelsea winger mentions Daniel Sturridge when discussing his former teammates at Stamford Bridge.

Kakuta remembers seeing Sturridge shortly after the striker joined Chelsea from Manchester City.

“One day I walked into the physio room and I bumped into Daniel Sturridge," he tells SPORTbible. "I'm like, 'Oh, I'm already struggling and Danny has turned up!'"

Sturridge went on to 24 goals in 96 appearances for Chelsea before joining Liverpool in 2013, but the next decade was dominated by setbacks.

For example, he missed a total of 98 games whilst at Liverpool, which equates to 564 days on the sidelines out of a possible 1,060.

Kakuta is convinced the former England international would still be playing at the very highest level if he avoided those injuries.

"I wish things would have turned out better for him because he was seriously talented," he tells us.

"Without the injuries, he would be one of the top three strikers in the world today, playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona. He could do everything.”

Sturridge once said he would have parted with “any amount of money” to play without any setbacks or residual pain.

“I saw a quote from [Marco] Reus saying he’d pay any amount of money to just play injury-free or never be injured," the former Chelsea man told The Independent in 2020.

“And honestly, I’d do the same. I would pay any amount of money. I already spend loads of money outside of the physios at work to do extra stuff to ensure that I can be as healthy as possible.

“Hundreds of thousands, to be fair, you know, to make sure that my body can be in the best shape possible. And sometimes, you can put the hours in, you can do everything, but… it is just bad luck.

“The toughest thing is just the mental side, because you know you've given your all, you know you slept well, you know you ate well.

“You know you've got the treatment that you need to get everything right. You've done everything. No one percent is left so when you go through an injury, the mental side of it is very tough - it can continue to break you and send you down a dark path.

“I've been someone who has played on with injuries, putting my body on the line for the team on countless occasions.

“I go through the hard things to push myself for the team. I've always done that.”

Sturridge has been a free agent since 2022, when he was released by A-League side Perth Glory.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Chelsea, Daniel Sturridge, England, Liverpool, Premier League, Real Madrid, Spotlight