There have been thousands of red cards given to soccer players over the years and just about all of them have been deserved. However, some of them have been dished out in rather odd circumstances. This list deals with 12 red cards that were brandished for abnormal reasons. Some of them were straight reds while others were second yellows which resulted in the sending off.
Luckily, there is video evidence of all these infractions, so they’re all above board and actually took place. They were all rather strange indeed, with most of them coming about because of sheer stupidity. So here we go, 12 of the strangest red cards in football history in no particular order.
12. Giving the Finger (Literally)
This one goes down to plain stupidity on the part of midfielder Paulo Diogo who was playing in the Swiss Super League back in 2004. Diogo set up his teammate for a simple tap-in goal and then proceeded to get carried away in meaningless celebrations. He jumped up on a metal fence to salute the away fans for some reason in his team’s 4-1 road victory over Schaffhausen. In doing so, he caught his wedding ring in the fence and lost part of his finger when he pulled his hand out.
So while his ring finger was still in the fence, he received a red card for over celebrating. Meanwhile, the ground crew was busy looking for the missing digit. He probably should have sued referee Florian Etter for letting him on the pitch with his ring on in the first place. To make matters worse, doctors couldn’t reattach Diogo’s finger.
11. Caught with his Pants Down
Striker Edin Dzeko of Bosnia and Herzegovina was trying to help his team make it to the 2018 World Cup in Russia while playing a qualifier against Greece in November 2016. He was tussling with defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos when the two of them tumbled to the pitch and continued to fight for the ball. Dzeko wasn’t too happy with the way the battle was going and showed his displeasure by pulling Papastathopoulos’ shorts down.
The Bosnian captain was then sent off the pitch with his second yellow card for his cheeky actions. Greece was also reduced to 10 men as Kyriakos Papadopoulos was sent off with a red in the ensuing melee, but they managed to draw the match 1-1 with a goal just before the final whistle.
10. Newcastle Teammates Throw Punches at Each Other
Fans very rarely see fights in soccer. They may see the odd brawl, but most on-field skirmishes resemble two elderly women swatting at each other with their handbags. So it was a rare sight back in April of 2005 when fans at St James’ Park in Newcastle witnessed a pair of players actually throwing punches at each other during an English Premier League game against Aston Villa.
The problem was, both of the combatants were wearing the black and white stripes of the home team. Newcastle’s Lee Bowyer and Keiron Dyer decided to air their differences with their fists after Bowyer reportedly accused Dyer of not passing the ball to him. Both players were sent off with straight reds and Aston Villa beat them 3-0.
9. Zinedine Zidane Loses Head in World Cup Final
The 2006 World Cup Final in Berlin, Germany was well underway with France and Italy deadlocked at 1-1. French midfield genius Zinedine Zidane had scored his team’s goal and France seemed to have the upper hand when the contest went into extra time. Zidane proved to be pretty thin-skinned though, as Italian defender Marco Materazzi started needling him during the game.
Materazzi reportedly insulted Zidane’s sister and the French star lost his head as he rammed it into Materazzi’s chest and knocked him to the ground. The incident took place in full view of the referee and Zidane was sent to the showers with a straight red. The game ended 1-1 after 120 minutes and ended up being decided in a penalty shootout with Italy winning the World Cup 5-3. It ended up being the last game Zidane ever played.
8. Doggone Stupid
Argentine soccer player Jose Jiminez made headlines back in June 2013 for all the wrong reasons, while playing for CS Bella Vista. Jiminez’s team was in the middle of a game when a stray dog wandered onto the pitch. The player grabbed man’s best friend and attempted to throw Rover over the chain link fence that separated the field from the fans.
Jiminez wasn’t as strong as he thought and the poor animal bounced off the top of the fence instead of clearing it. Not only was the player sent packing with a red card and suspended for three games, but he was also booted off the club for his act of animal cruelty. There’s certainly no defending Jiminez’s actions, but it appeared he didn’t mean to bounce the dog off of the fence. Throwing the animal over it is just as stupid though.
7. Eden Hazard Boots Fallen Ball Boy
Chelsea’s Belgian international midfielder Eden Hazard was seeing red in an away match against Swansea City in January 2013 when he was sent off for kicking a ball boy in the ribs. With Chelsea trailing the League Cup semifinal 2-0 on aggregate, Hazard attempted to pry the ball out of the boy’s hands, who then promptly fell to the ground and lay on top of it. Hazard tried to kick the ball loose, but of course made contact with the youngster’s ribs instead.
Referee Chris Foy then produced an instant red for Hazard. Since it’s common to see faking, diving, and all-round childish behavior when it comes to pro soccer it’s no wonder the ball boy acted as he did. He was simply emulating his heroes as he seers them do it every week.
6. Referee Boots Player then Red Cards Him
The most recent act of red card insanity took place in January 2018 when French referee Tony Chapron kicked Diego Carlos of Nantes and then sent the player off with his second yellow card. Carlos accidentally collided with Chapron during the match against Paris Saint-Germain and sent him tumbling to the ground. The referee then intentionally kicked his leg out at the player and sent the Brazilian Carlos off for the incident.
Chapron was suspended indefinitely by the French Football Federation after the contest and he issued a public apology for his “clumsiness.” However, Nantes’ president Waldemar Kita is pushing for a six-month ban for the referee. Fortunately, Nantes didn’t concede a goal after Carlos was sent off, but PSG won the game 1-0.
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5. Breaking Wind Results in Red Face and Red Card
Who knew that breaking wind on the football pitch could be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and deliberate provocation? Well according to referee Dany Kako, it is when the bodily function was aimed at him. Kako gave Jarna SK left-back Adam Lindin Ljungkvist his marching orders in a Swedish game in the summer of 2016 against Pershagen SK. The player said he farted because his stomach was bothering him, but received a second yellow for his ill-timed effort.
Kako said Ljungkvist’s behavior was inappropriate and was also done on purpose. Opposing forward Kristoffer Linde said the fart was pretty loud, but he couldn’t believe it resulted in a sending off for Ljungkvist. The defender said the bench couldn’t believe what he was sent off for and he had words with Kako after the game and simply called the referee a buffoon.
4. Patrice Evra Boots Own Fan
When Manchester United’s Eric Cantona drop kicked a fan back in 1995 at least the supporter was rooting for the opposition (Crystal Palace). If we fast forward to November 2017, we see players are still putting the boots to fans, but now they’re attacking their own supporters. Marseille defender Patrice Evra was kicked out of a Europa League game in Portugal before it even started when he couldn’t take the heckling anymore.
It appears traveling Marseille fans weren’t happy with the way Evra had being playing and went down to field level to let him know about it. After tiring of the insults Evra confronted the unruly mob and aimed a well-placed left kick to the head of one of the ringleaders. He was given a red card, but since the match hadn’t kicked off yet his team was allowed to play with 11 men, but had to do with one less substitute.
3. Tackling a Streaker Means Early Shower
Ashley Vickers was the manager/player for English semi-pro club Dortmund Town in March 2011 when he was shown a straight red card in the 70th minute for tackling a streaker who had invaded the pitch. Well, perhaps calling the fan a streaker is a bit of a stretch since he was wearing some sort of mankini on that cold night, as well as a Borat wig.
As players and officials stood around and watched, Vickers took matters into his own hands and put the guy out of his misery by rugby tackling him to the ground. Vickers should have been applauded and given the Man of the Match award instead of being sent off for violent conduct. Dorchester paid for it as they lost the Conference South match 3-1 against Havant and Waterlooville.
2. Who Was That Masked Man
When Brazilian international superstar Neymar Jr. was just 19-years-old, he made the mistake of making a circus of the game and was sent off for it with a second yellow. He had received his first yellow earlier in the match for a vicious tackle and then scored a brilliant goal for Santos against Colo Colo in a Copa Libertadores showdown. While celebrating, Neymar ran into the crowd and grabbed a mask of his own face from one of the fans.
He put the Neymar mask over the Neymar face and continued with his celebrations. The referee wasn’t impressed though and issued the player his second yellow card and the subsequent red that went with it. Neymar said he knew he’d get a red for taking his shirt off, but hasn’t seen anything in the rules about wearing a mask. By the way, four other players received red cards over the duration of the match.
1. Player Gives Ref a Red and Gets a Red
If we visit the Turkish Super League in February 2016, we’ll see the referee definitely doesn’t have a sense of humor. There were just three minutes remaining on the clock in the match between Trabzonspor and Galatasaray when the referee awarded a penalty kick to Galatasaray. He had already sent a pair of Trabzonspor players off earlier, so apparently was in a foul mood.
The players circled the referee as they usually do in soccer and this resulted in another red for Trabzonspor after one of them made contact with the official. The referee dropped his red card during the melee and Salih Dursun picked it up and proceeded to show it to the ref. Needless to say, he quickly became the fourth Trabzonspor player to be ejected.