Football, the beautiful game. For the most part, anyway…
Every now and again, there rises an incident that does nothing more than blemish the reputation of the beautiful game and darken the positive achievements that the sport has enjoyed.
Although some examples may make an entertaining watch for the first time, any violence in football eventually is seen for what it is – an ugly stain on the sport itself.
In an ideal world, acts of uncontrolled rage and subsequent violence would be unheard of in the professional arena, where players are paid gargantuan amounts per week to play the sport that they love at the highest level. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as this list will prove.
Below are 5 examples of the worst acts of violence to have occurred on the pitch…
Gennaro Gattuso headbutts Joe Jordan…
2011 and AC Milan welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the San Siro for a round-of-16 match in the Champions League.
The match itself was overshadowed by several violent incidents, including Mathieu Flamini’s horror tackle on Vedran Corluka.
None more so than the actions of Gennaro Gattuso that night.
Gattuso, another play who was no stranger to confrontations on and off the pitch, first got involved in a heated discussion with Tottenham coach, Joe Jordan.
Gattuso, clearly unhappy with the resolution of the conversation, pushes Jordan’s neck aggressively backward before being subdued by other staff. He continues to lunge toward the Tottenham coach before being coerced back onto the pitch.
Tottenham won the game 1-0, and things would only get more heated after the final whistle blew.
Gattuso, still clearly unhappy with how his altercation went with Joe Jordan, approached the coach after the game was ended and HEAD-BUTTED him!
WATCH Gattuso lose it below!
Joey Barton vs Manchester City…
It may come as no surprise to see Joey Barton’s name on this list.
We could probably dedicate an entire article to the various physical altercations that he was involved in during his time on the pitch…
We’ve chosen one of his more famous scenes for this list, given the fact that it involved him attacking 3 Manchester City players.
During the match between Barton’s Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR) & Manchester City, Barton lands a flush elbow on Carlos Tevez whilst rising in the air to win the ball.
He is immediately seen arguing with City’s players, chiefly Sergio Aguero et Carlos Tevez, as the referee consults with his linesman on the incident.
He is subsequently sent off for the challenge. He immediately protests with the referee and, as City & QPR players gather around, Barton decides to kick Sergio Aguero in the back of the legs.
This naturally ignites the rest of the City players, who try to get to the infuriated Barton as he is ushered away by teammates and City’s own Joleon Lescott.
Vincent Kompany is the first to reach Barton and chest-bumps him backward a pace as players rush to intervene. He is met with an immediate attempt at a head-butt from the QPR madman.
Lescott and Mario Balotelli manage to usher Barton back to the tunnel alongside the referee and his assistants.
WATCH Joey’s rampage below!
Elizabeth Lambert – University of New Mexico…
You may not be familiar with the name Elizabeth Lambert – but you may well recall seeing some of her on-pitch antics making the rounds…
Although many would not consider violence to be prominent within Women’s football, Lambert is arguably one of the most violent players ever seen in the “beautiful” game.
With a highlight reel of foul play already under her belt, she was suspended indefinitely by her own team following her actions in a game against Brigham Young University in 2009.
Amongst other offenses, Lambert punched a player in the back, double-footed a player who was not anywhere near the ball, and yanked another player to the ground by her ponytail!
Although she only received bookings (and no further penalties) during the match, the University of New Mexico suspended her until 2010.
Lambert was reported to have shown genuine remorse for her actions and has continued to play with the team without any similar actions to this day.
WATCH the most violent woman in football below!
Diego Maradona vs Athletic Bilbao…
Here’s one that we’re sure you’re familiar with – but it had to make this list regardless.
Copa Del Ray Final, 5th May 1984 – Barcelona, equipped with legendary striker Diego Maradona, face Athletic Bilbao.
The story behind this remarkable display of violence goes as follows:
Andoni Goikoetxea (Bilbao) severely injures Maradona in a league match at the beginning of the season. Diego waits for his chance at revenge, which comes at the Copa Del Ray final.
The 90-minute affair doesn’t provide Maradona with the chance he needed to injure Goikoetxea in return, and so he decides to do so after the match instead…
The rest is a dark spot on football’s history, as Maradona aims a barrage of Kung-Fu kicks at Goikoetxea and his teammates and incites a mass brawl.
WATCH this madness unfold BELOW!
Pepe vs Francisco Casquero…
Ahhh Pepe. Another player who we could dedicate an entire article to cover all of his various losses of control on the pitch.
This Brazilian madman has been entertaining us for years, both with fantastic displays of defensive prowess AND the occasional loss of temper…
Here, we give you one of the more sinister ways in which he vented his frustrations out on his opponents.
It was 2009 and Pepe’s Real Madrid were playing Getafe in La Liga. With just a few minutes to go before halftime and the score level at 2-2, both teams were pushing hard to go ahead before the break.
Pepe concedes a penalty, by pushing Getafe striker Francisco Casquero to the ground.
Pepe was immediately incensed, and before Casquero could even come to a halt on the ground, the Brazilian took two big kicks at his opponent’s back.
His actions caused an immediate reaction and crowds flock around the downed Casquero.
Pepe goes back towards his victim again and, under the guise of seemingly going to apologize, proceeds to attack Casquero again.
He pulls his opponent’s hair and puts pressure upon his body to inflict as much pain as he can before being dragged away by his teammates.
Madrid Goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, manages to walk Pepe away and back towards the dressing room.
Pepe received a 10-match ban from football and made a public apology following the incident. He also seriously considered quitting football altogether.
WATCH this shocking incident below!
Which player did YOU think was the most violent? VOTE BELOW and let us know!