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VIDEO: Top 10 worst tackles in football’s history

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Nigel De Jong kick on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 final was only given a yellow card. Twitter

Graeme Souness on Gheorghe Rotariu (1988) This has to be the Scot’s most x-rated tackles and it take our number 10 spot. The bad tackle happended took during Rangers’ European Cup clash with Steaua Bucharest. “Souness nearly killed him – it was horrific, one of the worst tackles I have ever seen,” said Gheorghe Popescu, the Romanian who was part of Steaua’s side that night. 

Punishment: none

Harald Schumacher on Patrick Battiston (1982) This has to be up there for one of the worst fouls in World Cup history. The collision left Battison unconscious, and he lost three teeth. Punishment: none, the referee awarded Germany a free-kick.

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Martin Taylor on Eduardo (2008) Birmingham City’s Martin Taylor received death threats after his tackle on Eduardo in a Premier League game which left the latter with horrific injuries and saw him out of action for months. 

Punishment: Red card

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Andoni Goikoetxea on Maradona (1983)Maradona was left seriously injured and the Argentinian had a severely damaged ankle afterwards. Punishment: none, though Goikoetxea was handed the nickname the ‘Butcher of Bilbao’.

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Paul Gascoigne on Gary Charles (1991)The wild tackle that changed the maestro midfielder’s career. The lunge, during the FA Cup final, ruptured the Tottenham player’s knee ligaments as Charles hobbled away.  Punishment: none, though should have been straight red.

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Roy Keane on Alf-Inge Haaland (2001)The infamous tackle that saw Haaland carried off during the match between Manchester United and rivals City at Old Trafford.  The United captain had also injured his cruciate ligaments in a previous clash during the 1997-1998 season. Punisment: an undeniable red card, undisputed by Keane.

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Lee Bowyer on Gerardo (2003)  “An act of serious assault,” is how Uefa described the Leeds midfielder’s stamp on Malaga’s Gerardo. Bowyer had made contact with his opponent’s head during a Uefa Cup defeat and had already been book for fouling Gerardo moments earlier.Punishment: officials missed the incident, but Bowyer was later handed six-match ban by Uefa.

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Ben Thatcher on Mendes (2006) Ben Thatcher earned an instant entry into this category thanks to this clash with Portsmouth midfielder Pedro Mendes, after his elbow intentionally connected with the latter’s face. Mendes required oxygen pitchside Punishment: Eight-match ban (with further 15-match suspension, suspended for 24 months).

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Ryan Shawcross on Aaron Ramsey (2010) Stoke defender Shawcross inflicted a double fracture on Ramsey, a tackle which left the Arsenal midfielder out of action for a year. Punishment: red card, suspended for three matches.

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Nigel De Jong on Xabi Alonso (2010) “It was one of the worst tackles I have ever suffered,” said Alonso following a bad-tempered World Cup final between Holland and Spain. Punihsment: yellow card

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Dan James

Leeds 0-3 Chelsea, 11th May 2022

Daniel James

When you’re in a relegation battle, you need a calm head. A head that is capable of making composed decisions in the toughest of circumstances. However, Dan James did the exact opposite to that during Leeds’ relegation battle at the end of the 2022/2023 season. The Whites were in desperate need of points as they faced historical rivals Chelsea, but they lost 3-0 — and that was partially because of James’ reckless tackle early on.

With Leeds 1-0 down, James flew in with a hideous tackle on midfielder Mateo Kovacic with his studs up. It’s painful to even look at, as James – who did make some contact with the ball – followed through with his tackle on the Croatian. One foot was planted onto Kovacic’s ankle and another just below his knee, yet – somehow – he walked away uninjured.

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