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5 of the worst fouls in football history

Scott Newman
Top 5 / Top 10
7.90K   //    09 Jan 2018, 17:02 IST

Ben Thatcher was notorious for the use of his elbows
Ben Thatcher was notorious for the use of his elbows

With every weekend of football, there seems to be a new debate over exactly what constitutes a foul – particularly in the penalty area, naturally.

While some fans and observers feel strongly that attacking players deserve more protection from hard-hitting defenders, plenty of others will argue that football is a “contact sport” and that things were better in the 1970’s and 1980’s when the tackle from behind was still allowed and players could be sent flying.

Sometimes though, a tackle is so bad that everyone watching can agree that it’s clearly a foul. Serious injuries have been caused by bad tackles and some have been terrible enough to land the offender with long periods banned on the sidelines.

While plenty of bad injuries were just plain unlucky, the kind of fouls we’re looking at today are the sort of horror-show stuff that belong more in the UFC than in football. Here are five of the worst fouls ever committed.

#5 Kevin Muscat on Adrian Zahra

By the time Australian international defender Kevin Muscat made his way back to the land Down Under to play for Melbourne Victory in 2005, he’d already garnered a reputation as one of the dirtiest players in football.

Sent off on multiple occasions during his time in the UK with Wolves, Rangers and Millwall, Muscat had stamped on players, threatened younger players and had seriously injured opponents too. Supposedly, his crazy temperament was the reason he’d never been selected for an Old Firm derby during his time at Ibrox.

It was in another derby – the Melbourne derby between Muscat’s Victory and their rivals Melbourne Heart (now Melbourne City) – that Muscat committed probably his worst ever foul, though. It was January 2011 and Muscat - Victory’s captain - was only just returning from a ban following a red card for an elbow.

Heart attacker Adrian Zahra made a run down the right side of the pitch and got past his marker, but before he could cross the ball into the box, he was felled by a truly shocking tackle by Muscat, who lunged way over the ball and crashed directly into Zahra’s right leg, sending him somersaulting and landing head-first.

Unsurprisingly a straight red card was shown to Muscat, who was then banned for a further 8 games following a review of the tackle, which was more of an assault than anything else.

Zahra’s season was ended due to the knee injury he received from the tackle, although thankfully he went on to a full recovery and returned to play in the next season. The foul remains one of the most shocking in football history and is still a popular Youtube clip for fans searching for the “worst fouls ever”.

Also read: Top 10 dirtiest footballers of the modern era

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Scott Newman
UK based, big follower of football and MMA. Tottenham and England fan for life!
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