The game becomes more and more physical by the day and there remains only a thin line as to what is a fair tackle and what is not. But there have been tackles galore that don’t come close to being just fair, in fact they are often seen as assaults. We talk about 10 such assaults on players by players in this edition. These 10 fouls in football history shocked everyone.
10. Kevin Muscat on Adrian Zahra, 2012 Australian League
Having spent the majority of his career with English clubs like Wolves and Milwall and Scottish club Rangers, Muscat made his way to Australia to represent Melbourne Victory.
Captaining the side in a derby against fellow cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart, he took out their winger Adrian Zahra with a ferocious tackle that left the latter with a knee tear and ruled him out for the whole season. Muscat was shown a red card and Zahra came back next season thankfully to the pitch.
9. Roy Keane on Alf Inge Haaland, 2001-02 Premier League
Clearly a pre-meditated lunge, Manchester United captain Roy Keane effectively ended Manchester City midfielder Haaland’s career when the Manchester sides locked horns in the derby of 2001.
The seeds of this revenge were sown 3 years earlier, when Haaland had nipped Keane and stood over him, asking him to stop faking injury and get up. Revenge definitely wasn’t sweet.
8. Nigel de Jong on Xabi Alonso, 2010 FIFA World Cup Final
Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong took out Xabi Alonso with a karate style kick to his chest while competing for an aerial ball. The Spaniard crumbled to the floor on the impact and strangely, the Dutch defensive midfielder did not get a red card for his actions.
The occasion was the World Cup Final in 2010 and Spain were squaring up against the Netherlands for the biggest prize in World football.
7. Axel Witsel on Marcin Wasilewski, 2009-10 Pro League
Current Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel committed a horrendous mistake in 2009 representing Standard Liege in the Pro League as he tackled Polish defender Macin Wasilewski in a heated game against rivals Anderlecht. A loose ball on the left flank had to be dealt with and the Pole reached the ball first with his outstrecthed right leg.
Witsel stepped on the leg, put his full body weight and snapped the leg in two. The scene was truly pathetic for all watchers, but the good news is, Marcin Wasilewski returned to football a year later.
6. Ben Thatcher on Pedro Mendes, 2003-04 Premier League
Ben Thatcher has always had a knack on treating football more like UFC than in teh true essence of the game, and his challenge on Portsmouth’s Pedro Mendes was horrific in its own way.
Manchester City defender Thatcher lashed out at Mendes with his left elbow, such was the impact that the Spaniard had a seizure on the pitch and had to spend the night in a hospital.
The FA and Man City club took all the right decisions, banning the player for 8 and 5 games respectively and fining him heavily.
5. Ryan Shawcross on Aaron Ramsey, 2010-11 Premier League
One of the best midfielders in the post-invincibles era for Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey was almost on the verge of bidding goodbye to football after he went on to make a dangerous tackle on Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross.
Ramsey was ruled out for the season and came back next stronger than ever before.
4. Lee Bowyer on Gerardo, 2003-04 UEFA Cup
Leeds United’s midfielder committed a heinous crime on a football pitch when he tackled Malaga’s Gerardo and then stamped on his face on the follow-through.
The foul was missed by the referee. However, the Englishman was handed a six match ban when the incident was reviewed.
3. Paul Gascoigne vs Gary Charles, 1991 FA Cup Final
As karma might have it, Tottenham defender Paul Gascoigne went on to make a wild lunge at Nottingham Forest attacker Gary Charles, only to rupture his own knee ligaments and get himself ruled out for the reminder of the season.
Gary Charles suffered minor impact and hobbled on to complete the game.
2. Andoni Goikoetxea vs Diego Maradona, 1983 Copa del Rey Final
Diego Maradona saw the World crumbling down as he broke his leg thanks to an inhuman tackle from Athletic Bilbao defender Andoni Goikoetxea.
Unable to stop the Barcelona ace, the defender lunged from behind, with no hint of the ball in sight and came away with half a Maradona. Strangely enough, he received no punishment for the foul.
1. Martin Taylor vs Eduardo, 2008-09 Premier League
The Birmingham City defender Martin Taylor carries the weight of destroying a talented player’s career with his unfortunate tackle on Arsenal frontman Eduardo in their meeting in the Premier League in 2008.
The tackle came as the latter was navigating towards the goal, dribbling past the defender. The Englishman broke the Spaniard’s leg in two and Eduardo could never recover to be the player he was destined to be.