30 Most Damaging Tackles In Soccer History

Darren - August 24, 2019

30 Most Damaging Tackles In Soccer History

Darren - August 24, 2019

15. Chris Mavinga on Mehdi Carcela

Sometimes you’ve just got to wonder what people are thinking. That’s exactly the case with Chris Mavinga as he went head-high with a challenge on Mehdi Carcela, with one of the most hilariously bad tackles we’ve ever seen. Mavinga was playing for Genk when the shocking tackle happened against the Standard Liege player.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

He came barging in like a ninja trying to kick a samurai off a horse. Carcela was probably lucky that he didn’t end up decapitated. Mavinga only got a yellow card, despite breaking the Moroccan’s cheek, nose and right eye socket, forcing him to get reconstructive surgery.

14. Axel Witsel on Marcin Wasilewski

Axel Witsel is a genuinely brilliant player. The defensive midfielder has been highly effective everywhere he’s played on a bizarrely nomadic career, from Russia to China and now with Borussia Dortmund in Germany. He’s very calm and composed on the ball and also an excellent tackler. Except for this one time while playing for Standard Liege against Anderlecht.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

Marcin Wasilewski came in with a tackle and Witsel calmly got out of the way. The problem was that as he moved, he stamped on the Pole’s ankle, almost slicing it off. It’s one of the most vicious sights you will ever see on a football pitch. He was initially banned for three months by the Belgian FA, but it was reduced to 8 games on appeal. Not good at all.

13. Kevin Muscat on Adrian Zahra

It says a lot about Kevin Muscat that there’s a video on Youtube called ‘Top Three Horrible Tackles by Kevin Muscat’ because he was exactly that type of player. ‘The Most Hated Man in Football’ was never selected for an Old Firm derby during his time with Rangers because of his temperament. That also says a lot.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

When you see this shocking tackle, injuring Melbourne Heart’s Adrian Zahra, it suddenly makes sense that he received 123 yellow cards and 12 red cards in a career called the dirtiest ever by El Gol Digital. He was just that type of guy.

12. Brian Mullan on Steven Zakuani

Brian Mullan has won five MLS Cups. That’s an outstanding achievement for one of the league’s most effective players, but the sad truth is that his career will forever be overshadowed by one reckless mistake. While playing for the Colorado Rapids he viciously lunged in on the Seattle Sounders’ best player, Steven Zakuani.

Zakuani suffered a double leg break with his shattered limb hanging horribly inside his sock as he crashed to the ground. Mullan was given a ten-game ban and $5000 fine by the MLS, but the damage to his reputation is irrevocable.

11. Nuno Claro on Georgian Paun

The second goalkeeper to make this list, Nuno Claro made Harald Schumacher’s assault on Patrick Battiston look gentle. This one went down in the Romanian league back in 2009, when CFR Cluj played Astra in a league game. Claro spent six seasons with Cluj and is a bit of a legend there, but he’ll always be remembered for this insanity above.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

Georgian Paun was running through on goal when Claro decided to charge out of the box and karate-kick him in the chest. The momentum of Claro as he slammed into Paun was ridiculous. He instantly got sent off – despite his hilarious attempts at playing down what had just happened. You’ve almost got to love it.

10. Ryan Shawcross on Aaron Ramsey

An infamous challenge, the young Aaron Ramsey was seen as a potential superstar by Arsenal. The Gunners took on newly-promoted Stoke in 2010, well aware of the Potter’s abrasive style. Basically, Stoke was the antithesis of Arsene Wenger’s style of football, and their central defender Ryan Shawcross was the epitome of their footballing model.

Mandatory Credit: Twitter.

Shawcross flew into a challenge that was later called “horrendous and unacceptable” by Wenger. He shattered fibula and tibia with the brutal tackle that saw him get a deserved red card. Even though his manager Tony Pulis and the player himself insisted that he’s “not that type” of player, it’s a bit late when you break another man’s leg.

9. Nigel De Jong on Xabi Alonso

The World Cup Final is the game that almost every international player dreams of starring in. In 2010, the final was held in Cape Town, South Africa, with the Netherlands taking on Spain. The event was guaranteed to give us a new champion, with Spain eventually going onto win. It was a victory for football because the Dutch were dirty all game.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

While Mark Van Bommel must have fouled every player on the pitch at least once, it was Nigel De Jong who stole his thunder. Right in front of referee Howard Webb, De Jong literally karate kicked Xabi Alonso in the chest. We’re talking full-on assault. He got a yellow card for his blatant high-foot. Talk about endangering your opponent…

8. Peter Cavanagh on Chris Todd

There’s nothing quite like non-league football is there? Back in 2005-06, Exeter City and Accrington Stanley – both football league clubs today – were playing in the Conference. Now the further down the divisions you go, the worse the standard of refereeing that you get. But Roger East – a future Premier League official – will surely shudder if he looks back and sees this one.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

Exeter was on the attack through Chris Todd when Peter Cavanagh decided that he’d put an end to it once and for all. He came flying in like a torpedo. Honestly, the speed of this tackle is absolutely ridiculous. Two-footed? Check. Both feet off the ground? Check. Miss the ball? Check. And he only got a yellow card. Oh dear…

7. Martin Taylor on Eduardo

One of the worst tackles in recent history was this horrible leg-breaker on Croatian striker Eduardo. Martin Taylor was playing for Birmingham against Arsenal in 2008 when we saw one of the goriest leg-breaks ever. The best that can be said about it was that it was clumsy rather than malicious, but that was of no comfort to Eduardo whose leg was wrecked by the challenge.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

Taylor came flying in late, breaking both Eduardo’s fibula and tibia and dislocating his ankle. For sheer damage, it’s one of the worst tackles on this list. Eduardo was never the same player after he came back. But the way he handled his reaction to Taylor was pure class, letting the Birmingham player off the hook for his brutal act.

6. Ian Wright on Peter Schmeichel

Ian Wright is one of the greatest strikers in Premier League history. Peter Schmeichel is one of the best goalkeepers to ever play in the UK. So the two of these men were always set to be on a collision course. One Arsene Wenger’s home debut against Manchester United, Wright delivered one of the most notorious moments in the modern history of the two team’s rivalry.

Mandatory Credit: Twitter.

Wright was running through on goal when Schmeichel came out of his goal to close him down. As the Danish keeper came towards him, Wright decided to jump in with two feet, narrowly missing his opponent’s head. Sir Alex Ferguson was outraged in the manager’s box and no wonder. This could have been so much worse than it was.

5. Michael Brown on Sean Davis

Former Fulham midfielder Michael Brown insisted that he ‘wasn’t that type of player,’ despite obviously being that type of player. He slid into a vicious two-footed tackle against Portsmouth’s Sean Davis back in 2006 and was sent off for the disgraceful action. Davis would accuse him after the match of trying to break his leg. Brown strongly denied it.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

It’s fairly clear though that if he wasn’t trying to break his leg, he definitely didn’t care about the risk of it. On another day, Davis could have been looking for a new ankle. Brown had a reputation for being a so-called ‘hard man’ throughout his career. He was sent off just ten minutes into his debut for Manchester City as a 17-year-old. That set the tone of his career.

4. Commins Menapi on Riki Van Steeden

The Solomon Islands are hardly known as footballing powerhouses, but they did produce Commins Menapi. He was responsible for one of the worst tackles in the history of the game, so that’s got to count for something right. In 2006 he was playing in the New Zealand Cup final for Waitakere United against Auckland City when he did exactly what you just saw above.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

This one was so bad that Menapi should have seen two red cards. The ball was on the ground, but Menapi was in the air as he flew into Riki Van Steeden, breaking the unfortunate player’s leg. He was hit with a 6-match ban for the incident. Sadly, he’d die four years later at the age of 40.

3. Ben Thatcher on Pedro Mendes

It might be hard to imagine but there was a Manchester City before their oil-rich Abu Dhabi investors took over and this is what it looked like. Ben Thatcher was playing against Portsmouth in 2006 when for some reason he decided to commit GBH on Pedro Mendes. Instead of shouldering him or sliding in like a normal person, he shoulder charged Mendes, sending him sprawling.

Mandatory Credit: YouTube.

Mendes was left unconscious and would require oxygen. He was brought to the hospital where he suffered seizures during the night before he was released the next day. The FA suspended Thatcher for eight games and a further fifteen game suspended ban for two years. The craziest thing is that referee Dermot Gallagher only booked Thatcher.

2. Felix Musasa on Bhuti Ngubali

You know things are bad when you end up in court for a tackle that you committed on the football pitch. That’s exactly what happened to the Mpumalanga Black Ace captain Felix Musasa. Musasa was playing in the South African league against the Carara Kicks when he let loose with one of the worst leg breaks we’ve ever seen.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube.

Musasa drove into a high challenge on Bhuti Ngubali, shattering his unfortunate victim’s leg in two places. Obviously, he was sent off because he turned his opponent’s leg into jelly. That’s as nasty a break as we’ve ever seen. Musasa was fined R100,000 and slammed with a four-month suspension. You just can’t be doing that.

1. Roy Keane on Alf-Inge Haaland

Could anything else take the top stop? This was one of the most infamous tackles in the entire history of football. When Roy Keane suffered a serious injury against Leeds, he remembered Alf-Inge Haaland shouting abuse at him to get up. The incident stood long in the Manchester United captain’s memory and he was determined to get revenge on the Norway international.

Mandatory Credit: Twitter.

Four years later the pair clashed again. In 2001, Keane flew into a challenge with the now-Manchester City midfielder smashing Haaland’s already injured knee. He was immediately sent off. The image above of him standing over Haaland is now notorious. Keane’s admission in his autobiography that it was deliberate saw him fined and slammed with a five-game ban.