Featured Zidane

Published on October 27th, 2012 | by Thariq Amir


Crash! Bang! Wallop! A foul collection of fouls!

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 ”No list would be complete without Zidane’s moment of madness. This head butt has been honoured with a statue, a reference on ‘Family Guy’ and a shed load of comedy animations floating around YouTube.”  Writes Thariq Amir

Football is a game that can produce some truly magical moments. Zidane’s volley in the 2002/2003 Champion’s League Final, Sunderland’s Jim Montgomery heroics against the mighty Leeds United in the 1973 FA Cup Final and Carlos Alberto’s goal in the 1970 World Cup Final to name just three.On the flip side though the practitioners of football’s darker arts have made their impression too, literally and figuratively! The game has seen brutal fouls worthy of three or four red cards at once! Challenges so full-blooded that, well, the recipient of said tackle probably needed a transfusion! In no particular order the following fouls have, to coin a phrase, left their mark on the game and fans. So all I can say is…brace yourself.

Duncan Ferguson (Victim: Jock McStay) – Before he became an Everton legend ‘Duncan Disorderly’ was plying his trade at Rangers. Ferguson, who moved to the ‘Gers from Dundee United in 1993 for a then record fee of four million pounds, made the headlines for all the wrong reasons with this foul. Ferguson head butted Raith Rovers’ Jock McStay and was charged with assault and was sentenced to three months in prison and upon his release the Scottish FA imposed a 12-match ban on the big striker. Oddly enough the referee did not even show Big Dunc a yellow card let alone a red for the ‘challenge’. There’s a ‘heading ability’ joke in this story somewhere but on this occasion discretion is the better part of valour.

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Andoni Goikoetxea Olaskoaga (Victim: Diego Maradona) – There’s a reason why Andoni Goikoetxea was nicknamed the ‘Butcher of Bilbao’ and it’s not because he was any good at chopping up meat. Diego Maradona, playing for Barcelona at the time, felt the full force of Goikoetxea’s uncompromising style. Goikoetxea ‘tackled’ Maradona from behind and broke the Argentine’s ankle. So proud was the ‘Butcher of Bilbao’ of his effort, he displayed the boot from that infamous challenge in a glass case in his house. Incidentally, in the same match Andoni warmed up by taking out Bernd Schuster nobbling the German’s right knee. Poor old Bernd never truly recovered from the challenge.

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Francesco Totti (Victim: Mario Balotelli) – Why Always Mario? Let’s be honest, you could probably make a long list of people who’d love to give Super Mario a good kick. The thought has probably crossed Roberto Mancini’s mind, I daresay he may have dreamt about it too. Daring to do what only others could only imagine ‘Er Purpone’ Francesco Totti lived up to his nickname of ‘the big baby’ by kicking Balotelli in full view of the referee. Naturally, Totti received a red card, contemplated retirement and then thought better against it. As for Mario, well you’d be constantly scowling too if you got kicked around like that.

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The Battle Of Santiago (1962) – Chile vs Italy – This wasn’t so much a World Cup Match as it was a 90-minute fight with some football thrown in to fill the gaps. The first foul happened after 12-seconds and the tone had been well and truly set. Eight minutes later Italy’s Giorgio Ferrini was sent off but needed to be escorted from the pitch by the police after he refused to exit the field. There were punches thrown, kicks aplenty, broken noses and the occasional bout of football. Referee Ken Aston described his role in the match as playing an ‘umpire in military maneuvers’. Aston later went on to devise the yellow and red card system though how effective that would have been if he had them for this game is open to debate or failing that a good old fashioned punch up. Now what am I forgetting? Oh yes, Chile won 2-0.

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Roy Keane (Victim: Alf-Inge Haaland) – There was history behind this little contretemps. In September of 1997, Roy Keane damaged his anterior cruciate ligament when attempting to foul Haaland who was playing for Leeds at the time. The Norwegian didn’t take too kindly to Keane’s effort and subsequently accused the Irishman of feigning injury to avoid a booking an accusation that didn’t sit too well with Keano. Fast forward to April 2001, Keane and now Manchester City’s Alf-Inge Haaland were on the pitch together for the first time since THAT incident. With the score level and only a few minutes remaining of the Manchester derby Keane decided to exact his revenge and fouled, to put it mildly, Haaland. The Irishman said a few choice words to the stricken Haaland, received his red card from referee David Elleray and given a three match ban. That wasn’t the end of the matter though as in his autobiography Keane admitted that he targeted Haaland and deliberately went out to hurt the Norwegian. Keane was charged by the FA for bringing the game into disrepute and given a further five game ban. I would say that the book was thrown at him but Keane didn’t seem to care about the consequences.

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Benjamin Massing (Victim – Claudio Caniggia) – It was Massing who finished off the job but this foul on Caniggia was truly a remarkable team effort by Cameroon. Caniggia hurdled two tackles before being chopped down by Massing who lost a boot and received a red card for his trouble. The Indomitable Lions lit up the 1990 World Cup with a fairytale run to the quarterfinals that helped gloss over their rather cavalier approach to tackling. Cameroon beat Maradona’s men 1-0 on the day but it was Argentina who eventually negotiated a path though to the final only to lose out to those pesky West Germans. Also worth noting that the foul was so bad that the referee for no apparent reason gave Benjamin Massing a red and then a yellow, yes it was that awful!

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Zinedine Zidane – (Victim – Marco Materazzi) – No list would be complete without Zidane’s moment of madness. This head butt has been honoured with a statue, a reference on ‘Family Guy’ and a shed load of comedy animations floating around YouTube. We all know the story, it was the 2006 World Cup Final, Zidane had given France the lead with an audacious Panenka penalty before Marco Materazzi, of all people, equalised. With ten minutes of extra time remaining Zidane got into a tussle with the big Italian, a few words were exchanged and then the Frenchman’s forehead met with Materazzi’s chest.

The interesting thing about the red card was that the fourth official, Luis Medina Cantalejo, allegedly spotted the foul on a monitor and informed the assistant referee of Zidane’s transgression. Cantalejo denied the accusation but that didn’t stop the video evidence conspiracy from being spread. The amazing picture of Zidane walking past the World Cup trophy in his last competitive game was one of the iconic images of the tournament and indeed in football. FIFA helpfully banned the retired Zidane for three games but managed to get him to serve three days of community service instead. By the way Zidane was named player of the 2006 World Cup tournament. Materazzi later revealed that that he had insulted Zidane’s sister so the moral of the tale is: don’t say nasty things about Zizou’s family otherwise he will personally head butt you.

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Graeme Souness (Victim: Some poor Romanian chap who probably didn’t have kids after this Souness special) – A pre-emptive strike if there ever was one! Rangers hard man Graeme Souness left his mark on an unfortunate Steaua Bucharest player in this European Cup tie. Now what differentiates this from other tackles is that Souness had control of the ball when he noticed that a member of Steaua was nipping in to steal possession. Souness decided to protect the ball by planting his studs right into his opponent’s leg, dangerously close to the more delicate area of the male anatomy. The commentator was being slightly generous when stating that the foul was certainly a ‘booking’, the referee on the other hand saw it as a red card offence. Souness’ attempt to convince the ref that he was the wronged party is admirable if only for the sheer ridiculousness of the protest. The long and short of it was Rangers was knocked out of the European Cup on away goals despite winning the tie 2-1 on the night.

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Pepe (Victim: Francisco Casquero) – At 2-2 Getafé’s Francisco Casquero made the near fatal error of being fouled by Pepe and winning a penalty. Like Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk, Pepe got angry, morphed from footballer into a full-blown rage machine and kicked repeatedly the prone Getafé player a number of times before being escorted off the field by Iker Casillas. The Portuguese defender was given an eight-match ban for his ‘effort’. As for Casquero the misery didn’t end there, Casillas saved his spot kick and Gonzalo Higuain netted the winner for Los Merengues.

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Nigel De Jong (Victim: Xavi Alonso) – So you’ve made it to the World Cup final, how do you want to be remembered? You may want to score a hat trick like Sir Geoff Hurst did in 1966. Maybe you could do a Marco Tardelli show to the world what it means to score a goal in the final. Or perhaps you want to be known as the guy who karate kicked your opponent in the chest and be given a yellow card for your heroics. Nigel De Jong went for the martial arts route and decided that the best way to tackle the Spaniard’s tiki-taka style was to go all kicky-whacka. Whilst De Jong was lucky to get away with a yellow from English referee Howard Webb the midfield destroyer’s presence couldn’t prevent the Dutch from losing to the Spanish. On the flip side a career as an extreme chiropractor beckons for De Jong once he hangs up his boots.

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Harold ‘Toni’ Schumacher (Victim: Patrick Battiston) – This is the standard by which all other horrendous fouls are measured against. This incident had everything: a completely blatant offence, incompetent refereeing, a pantomime villain and a victim who didn’t know which century he was in. It was the 1982 World Cup semi final; France and Germany were locked at 1-1 when Michel Platini played a through ball to Patrick Battiston. What was the Frenchman thinking? Thoughts of glory? How he was going to score? Becoming a national hero? Apparently Schumacher had one specific goal, hit him and hit him hard! Completely ignoring the ball Schumacher rammed into Battiston knocking out three of the poor Frenchman’s teeth and damaging the latter’s vertebrae. Platini recalled ‘I thought he was dead!’ The referee, Dutchman Charles Corver, saw nothing wrong at all and gave…a goal kick! West Germany went on to win the match on penalties but lost to Italy in the final, much to the joy of football fans the world over (apart from West Germany). Schumacher when told about the condition of Battiston ‘kindly’ offered to ‘pay him (Battiston) the crowns’. Schumacher did eventually apologise to Battiston in person for the challenge, an apology the Frenchman accepted.

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And there you have it. Quite a collection of fouls and of course these are just 11 of them. There have been plenty of awful challenges that have been committed and more that will happen in the future. What is for sure though is that nobody will forget these in a hurry, especially those unfortunate enough to be on the end of those ‘tackles’!

Thariq Amir

A devotee of the beautiful game, Thariq is interested in all aspects of football especially the tactical side of the sport.

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2 Responses to Crash! Bang! Wallop! A foul collection of fouls!

  1. Samudranil Mukherjee says:

    I doubt if Marco Materazzi was the victim in Zidane’s case. He got what he deserved, in my opinion.

  2. Michel philippe says:

    It is remarkable how Graeme Souness ressembled Raymond Domenech in his face and in his skill in the seventies!

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