Mascherano’s sending off the latest of football’s crazy red cards

Javier Mascherano’s hard man reputation reached a whole new level on Tuesday, when the Argentina captain was shown a red card after kicking a medic who was stretching him off.

The former Liverpool midfielder, who clearly has a rather peculiar way to express his gratitude to the medical staff, claimed that: “The stretcher was going too fast and I was about to fall. I warned him (the driver) and he ignored me, but what I did was not justified.

However bizarre, his dismissals might not be the weirdest red card ever. Here’s a collection of some of the funniest sending offs in recent years.

Andre Bikey, Cameroon vs Ghana, African Cup of Nations semifinal 2008

With Cameroon leading into the dying moments of this semifinal, Bikey’s teammate Rigobert Song goes down injured and paramedics enter the pitch to treat him. Every single Cameroon player, including the ones on the bench, see it as a perfect opportunity to waste a couple of valuable seconds ahead of the final whistle but not Bikey, who barges one of the paramedics out of the way, earning himself a red card and £5,000 in the process.

Eden Hazard, Swansea vs Chelsea, League Cup semifinal 2013

With Chelsea trailing Swansea 2-0 on aggregate and only 12 minutes remaining, the ball goes out of play. Desperate to get the game restarted as quickly as possible, Eden Hazard runs towards the ball, which had being seized upon by a ballboy, before proceeding to kick a bit of both and receiving his marching orders.

The initial outrage soon gave way to the realisation that the ballboy, who, ahead of the game, had announced his intention to waste time via Twitter had made the most of his moment in the spotlight.

Jamie Carragher, Arsenal vs Liverpool, FA Cup fourth round 2002

Back when Arsenal were still a successful team, their fans could create an excellent atmosphere at Highbury. This fourth round tie proved exactly how heated things could get in North London, as a supported decided to throw a coin to Jamie Carragher who, rather stupidly, decided to return the favour.

Mike Riley failed to see the funny side of the exchange and sent the Liverpool defender off, as Arsenal won 1-0 despite having Dennis Bergkamp and Martin Keown dismissed.

Rivaldo, Brazil vs Turkey, World Cup group stage 2002

When the then Barcelona striker is hit on the shin by a ball kicked by Hakan Unsal as he prepares to take a corner, the incident looks nothing if a little act of petulance by the Turkish midfielder, before Rivaldo treats the world to one of the worst cases of simulation ever seen.

As soon as the ball makes contact with his leg, Rivaldo covers the face with his hands, before taking a couple of steps backward and theatrically falling to the ground, his hands still clutching his face in agony.

Unsal received his second yellow card and was sent off, while Rivaldo dismissed the incident with remarkable nonchalance: “I am not sorry about anything.I was both the victim and the person who got fined,” said the Brazilian, “Obviously the ball didn’t hit me in the face, but I was still the victim. I did not hit anyone in the face.”

Yoav Ziv, Stoke City vs Maccabi Tel Haviv, Europa League group stage 2011

Having been on the end of a typically strong challenge by a Stoke defender, Ziv hobbles on the sidelines baffled at the linesman’s failure of spotting what he had obviously deemed to be a foul and decides to make his point clear by kicking his boot at the assistant referee.

Much to Ziv’s annoyance, the linseman is extremely quick to spot the infringement this time and the Maccabi Tel Haviv man is sent off.

Robin Van Persie, Barcelona vs Arsenal, Champions League round of 16 2011

Having beaten the mighty Catalans 2-1 at Highbury, Arsenal are 30′ minutes away from a famous result, having draw level through a Sergio Busquets’ own goal.

As Robin Van Persie fires towards the net a couple of minutes later, most Arsenal fans are too busy bemoaning the offside the call that has stopped the Dutchman in his track, before realising that Swiss referee Massimo Busacca has interpreted Van Persie’s shot as time-wasting and issued a second yellow card.

Despite Van Persie’s “I didn’t hear the whistle” gesture, Busacca is unmoved and Arsenal crash out against Barcelona for the second year in a row.

Josip Simunic, Croatia vs Australia, World Cup group stage 2006

If you enjoy a quiz night in your local pub, chances are that sooner rather than later you’ll come across this dismissal. Having been booked by Graham Poll in the 61st minute, Simunic then receives another yellow card with 89 minutes played.

The Croatian is clearly bewildered by Poll’s failure to produce a red card and decides to remain on the pitch for another two minutes, when he picks up his third yellow and is, mercifully, given his marching orders.

This is just a brief list of a much larger array of daft red cards, if you can think of any others, please share them with us! We want your views so have your say below or get involved on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

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