In a world as vast as football, there are bound to be rumours and myths created to captivate the imagination of the masses. The fine line existing between myth and reality is often crossed with little to no consequence.
But it’s about time we differentiated between the truth and myth. Here are some of the most famous myths existing in the world football.
#1 John Lukic survived the Munich Air Disaster
John Lukic is a former professional footballer who played for both Arsenal and Leeds. He made a total of 668 League appearances and was capped by both the England U21 and England B-sides. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, he now works a freelance goalkeeping coach and often tours the country as an after dinner speaker.
He has won the league with two different clubs and is one of four players to play in the top division in England in four different decades (the others being Peter Shilton, Steve Ogrizovic and Sir Stanley Matthews).
But arguably the biggest reason why many would have heard of the name John Lukic is because of the Munich Air disaster. The story goes that a passenger named Mrs. Lukic was on board the same plane that was headed for disaster.
Harry Gregg, the current Manchester United goalkeeper at the time, returned to the wreckage to pull out Mrs. Lukic and her daughter. The woman at the time was pregnant with her son. The myth began with people making the connection that John Lukic was her son and that he survived the Munich air disaster himself.
However, John Lukic was born almost three years after the crash itself in Chesterfield to Yugoslavian parents.
#2 Roy Keane ended Alf-Inge Haaland's career
If you were to search Roy Keane on YouTube, the first few suggestions would consist of ‘Roy Keane career ending tackle’. The video that was uploaded almost eight years ago has garnered over eight and a half million views and goes with the description of 'There's only 1 Keano'.
Now, the context: the challenge does involve Keane wanting to extract revenge and hurt Haaland with malicious intent. The United player was given a straight red. The clip, however, shows the player left on the ground as Keane leaves.
The story continues, with Haaland actually playing out the rest of the game. Funnily enough, he played 45 minutes for Norway four days later. He made a couple of substitute appearances and then retired due to an injury on his left knee while Keane’s tackle landed on his right knee. The player even came out of retirement to play for Rosseland in the Norwegian Third Division.
#3 Wembley pitch bigger than normal English pitches
The Wembley pitch is often considered a difficult surface to play on. A lot of players have suffered from infamous cramps and gone down more easily than they have on other stadiums. The phrase 'energy-sapping' is often used, almost as if the hallowed turf has some magical powers.
But the real reason behind these injuries is the moment itself. Playing in Wembley is probably one of the biggest moments in a footballer’s career. Players are obviously going to try harder and get exhausted quicker. The situation is what matters, not the pitch.
When matches taking place at Wembley are televised, the pitch looks massive. In reality, however, the pitch measures 105 metres long and 68 metres wide, which is smaller than a number of current Premier League clubs.
#4 ‘Soccer’ is an American term
Contrary to popular belief, soccer is not an American term. It was the British that invented the word, and the game was originally called by that name.
In the 1860s, a lot of sports similar to football existed with similar rules. However, a standardised set of rules was set for a group of teams who decided to get together, forming the rules for "Association Football".
Association Football was then much better known as “Assoccer, which later on turned into "soccer". "Football" turned out to be a general term for the various types of sport that include soccer, rugby and American football.
In America, they went back to calling it soccer to differentiate it between Football and Rugby Football.
#5 Diego Maradona versus Belgium
The image of Diego Maradona being marked by six Belgium players at the 1982 World Cup is one of the most iconic photographs ever clicked in world football. The photograph in itself encapsulates the whole image of Maradona and his relationship with the opponents he faced. The Argentinian struck fear into the hearts of his opposition, as he waltzed past them effortlessly.
According to the photographer Steve Powell himself, the frame itself was very special.
"It happens to have great colours – the green of the grass and the orangey-red of the Belgium shirt – those are wonderful contrasts that make for a good image, and the composition is strong, too, with the beautiful fan-like effect of the players.”
However, as good as the picture seems, Maradona was never marked by six different players. In fact, the six players were part of a defensive wall as Argentina got ready to take a free-kick. The next play involved a short free-kick, and all the players in the wall proceeded to turn towards the Argentinian himself.
Belgium even went on to win the match with a scoreline of 1-0. However, a seemingly ordinary moment captured the unique aura that reflected off Diego Maradona.
Denis Law relegated Manchester United
Denis Law, a European Cup winner and a former winner of the Ballon d'Or, was a Scottish legend who was affectionately referred to as 'The King' by Manchester United fans. However, he is most famously remembered for 'that goal' which ended up relegating Manchester United.
Law's goal, however, was not the reason United got relegated. The goal in fact was completely inconsequential; it came in the 81st minute and didn't matter at all as United were going down regardless. A win or a draw would not have changed their fortunes, as results elsewhere had already confirmed United’s relegation.
Denis Law’s legacy will never be questioned, but it will always be marred due to that sublime back-heel goal against his former team.
Shirt sales alone pays for a world star player’s transfer fee
Despite what the internet may tell you, the money dished out on a player's transfer fee has never been recovered through shirt sales alone. Over 80% of profits made by selling shirts with the specific player's name at the back go to the kit supplier itself. This is standard for a majority of the companies like Adidas, Nike, Under Armour, etc.
The Guardian lists United's current deal as an example. We assume that the club's royalty kicks in after three million shirts are sold, and the club receives a 15% royalty on each shirt sold after that. Assuming that each shirt costs £70, then that would be £21 million made by selling 300,000 thousand shirts. United's cut from that would be a little over £3 million.
That's an insignificant amount considering that a lot of nonsense was spewed regarding Ibrahimovic’s shirt sales alone raising £50 million.