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9 matches that adversely affected the reputation of great footballers

Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 12:29 IST

For a number of great football players, things never went right after that one, fateful match where everything went horribly wrong. The match where the reputation, which had built with sweat and blood, fell down like a house of cards.

Though many of them went on to play the game at the highest level even after that one, grave nightmare, they could never receive the adulation and respect they once commanded.

We take a look at nine such matches that destroyed the reputations of great footballers.

Note: We haven’t accounted for injuries, as that would be unfair on the players. So the unfortunate cases of Michael Ballack and Gianluigi Lentini are not considered.

#9 Iker Casillas vs Netherlands - 2014 World Cup

Iker Casillas and Spain’s 
Iker Casillas and Spain’s defence were torn to shreds by the Dutch trio of Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder

Iker Casillas had boarded the train to disaster long before that fateful evening in Salvador; in fact, his career had been going downhill ever since his unfortunate injury lay-off during Jose Mourinho’s reign at the Bernabeu. What seemed like irreparable damage done by Mourinho, was more or less assuaged by the calm presence of Carlo Ancelotti.

So much so that La Roja captain was riding a wave of confidence, provided by the fans and coach, until it happened; to be more precise, until the Flying Dutchman happened.

Robin van Persie’s golazo sucked the life out of the Spain captain as well as his team. The golden trio of Van Perise, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder started to run the defending world champions ragged, with their custodian being one of the primary culprits.

Casillas could have done better in the lead-up to De Vrij’s header, but it was the next goal that well and truly epitomised his day, as his horrendous error was gleefully accepted by Van Persie. Things had come a full circle for the great man when he was left sprawling on the ground by the man whom he so effortlessly thwarted at Soccer City four summers ago – Arjen Robben had gotten his revenge.

Pundits and fans alike soon clamoured for him to be replaced and, sadly, Casillas was never seen in the same light again for Spain.


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Published 20 Jan 2015, 12:14 IST
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