Riccardo Calafiori injury history: Should Arsenal be concerned?

  • Riccardo Calafiori has endured his fair share of injury woes
  • Suffered devastating knee injury in 2018 which could've ended career
  • Injury fears have eased over past two years
Riccardo Calafiori has endured his fair share of injury woes
Riccardo Calafiori has endured his fair share of injury woes / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

If transfer gurus are to be believed, Riccardo Calafiori will be an Arsenal player in the not-too-distant future.

Mikel Arteta is keen on having the Bologna defender on the plane for the Gunners' pre-season tour across the pond, with Arsenal's fixtures in the States ahead of a pivotal 2024/25 campaign taking place at the end of July.

All things considered, Calafiori is a talent Gunners supporters should be excited to see on the Emirates turf. A unique defensive profile dripping in versatility and ball-playing swagger, Calafiori would be a considerable upgrade on the likes of Jakub Kiwior and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

However, if there's something that should concern the club as they prepare to spend close to €50m on the Italian's services, it's his injury history. Calafiori has been free from setbacks for quite some time, but an awful injury sustained in 2018 may well have long-term ramifications.

Here's a rundown of Calafiori's injury history.

Knee ligament injury - October 2018

Calafiori's injury concerns stem from the devastating setback he suffered during a UEFA Youth League contest while playing for AS Roma against Viktoria Plzen in October 2018.

The then 16-year-old's knee injury was so bad that it was described as 'career-threatening'. During the latter stages of the contest, an ugly over-the-top challenge from Plzen's Vaclav Svoboda forced Calafiori into a heap. His knee buckled, and it was later revealed that the teenager had torn all the ligaments in his left knee, as well as his meniscus.

"There is the most important battle of my life ahead of me, and I certainly cannot back down. The time has come to put aside the boy, the, at times, little boy that I have been until now, and become a MAN," the Italian later wrote on Instagram.

He'd spend almost a year on the sidelines.

Hamstring injury - January 2021

Riccardo Calafiori, Javier Pastore, Marash Kumbulla
Calafiori warms up on the Stadio Olimpico sidelines / Paolo Bruno/GettyImages

There were fears that Calafiori had re-torn his ACL in a Primavera match against Lazio in November 2019, just a few months after he'd returned from the initial setback. However, the defender avoided a major issue and spent just over a month out.

However, given the nature of his knee injury, Calafiori remains susceptible to hamstring issues. He suffered his first notable problem in January 2021 and the first-half of this year was plagued by a hamstring woes.

Between January and May that year, at a time when he was attempting to break into Paulo Fonseca's starting XI, the Italian missed over 20 games thanks to three separate hamstring injuries.

Muscle injury - November 2021

There remains some ambiguity surrounding the issue Calafiori sustained in November 2021. The FIGC say that the defender was absent from Italy U21 duty that month after picking up a 'knock', while transfermarkt.com suggest Calafiori was once again struggling with a muscular problem.

He was out for just 25 days but missed 13 games.

Torn muscle fiber - November 2022

Riccado Calafiori
Calafiori in action for Basel / Gabriele Maltinti/GettyImages

The last notable injury of Calafiori's young career to date arrived almost two years ago at the start of his year-long spell with Basel.

Jose Mourinho was seemingly never convinced by the injury-plagued defender, with Roma parting ways with the defender for a meagre fee in the summer of 2022. However, their decision initially seemed to have been vindicated when Calafiori suffered another muscle issue in November 2022.

Transfermarkt describes his latest notable setback as a 'torn muscle fiber' that saw him miss over a month of action.