Top 10 Worst Red Cards In Football History

In light of Sergio Aguero’s horror tackle on David Luiz, The Mastermind takes a look at the ten worst red card tackles in the history of football. The below list includes only fouls that players were sent of for so Luis Suarez’s vampire-like antics and Harrald Schumacher’s ridiculous punch on Patrick Battison that left him in a coma and with three broken ribs will not be included.

The criteria in ranking these terrible tackles and developing a list after witnessing hundreds of them on Youtube was a little tricky but ultimately it has to come down to how much intent there was to play the ball and how close they were to getting it versus how much intent there was to hurt the opposing player, and how far away they were from winning the ball. A few also make the list because of the terrible injuries they caused. These are the ten worst red card tackles in the history of football. WARNING: SOME OF THE VIDEOS BELOW ARE VERY GRUESOME. THIS IS NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.

10. Michael Brown

Michael Brown developed quite a reputation for terrible tackles in his time with Fulham in the Premier League but none was worse than this horrible lunge on Sean Davis. Not only does Brown go in with two feet in this instance, he also goes in with an extraordinary amount of force and on top of that makes contact with Davis long after the ball had been kicked passed him. Chris Foyd was quick to pull out the red and Brown got what he deserved. Luckily Davis was uninjured from the tackle but injury or no injury this tackle was absolutely inexcusable.

9. Kevin Nolan 

This one is really hard to see but don’t be too disappointed about that because it is really, really bad. Victor Anichebe sees Nolan coming and slides to win the ball but what does Nolan do? He completely goes over the top of Anichebe, stamping on his ankle with his left leg and crunching his knee with his right leg. Anichebe was out for 11 months with this injury, had to undergo two surgeries and successfully sued Newcastle for the loss of earnings. This was so bad that it could have ended his career.

8. Kevin Muscat

Kevin Muscat is an idiot and this red card exemplifies that. There was absolutely zero intent to play the ball in this one and his tackle was so bad that the player on the receiving end did a full front flip on his way to the ground. He was so high off the ground with studs straight up into the knees of the Adrian Zahra, who was incredibly lucky not to be seriously injured. This wasn’t the first time that Muscat had made a terrible tackle like this but this one is unlike anything ever seen before and the way he went off the pitch screaming at the referee as if he had done nothing wrong is disgraceful. Shortly after this, Kevin Muscat was named the dirtiest footballer in the world by Spanish football website El Gol Digital 

7. Pepe 

There are tackles below where a player goes in with malice to try and break someone’s leg. This scene was almost as though Pepe wanted to kill his opposing team member. The Portugese defender has three kicks out at Getafe captain Francisco Casquero, purposefully digs his studs into the back of the Getafe player and then as he’s wincing in the pain, stomps on the player’s arm and then his leg! Even after being sent off he continues to kick out at opposition defenders, continues to taunt the player on the ground, punches two more players and has to be practically carried off the field by his Madrid teammates! Pepe was given a 10-match ban for this horror incident as this is just truly one of the craziest and worst red cards in football history.

6. Roy Keane 

This tackle from Roy Keane ended Alf Inge Haaland’s career and is still talked about today as perhaps the worst red card in Premier League history. Keane was trying to break Haaland’s leg and succeeded in doing so. He wasn’t even disappointed at himself or anyone else when he was sent off; probably because he knew exactly what he was doing and what the consequences were going to be. The former Norwegian pro never played a game after this and now 44 years old is still recovering from this tackle today.

5. Ryan Shawcross 

You know you’ve made a bad tackle when you make yourself cry at the horror of what you have just done. Ryan Shawcross was so late and so far away from the ball on this terrible tackle on Aaron Ramsey, breaking his leg and leaving him sidelined for 9 months. Players from both sides were absolutely distraught at the site of Ramsey’s broken leg and the Stoke City captain was reduced to tears as he walked off the pitch, horrified with what he had just done. There are tackles like the one above and Aguero’s recent one on David Luiz that we condemfor how dangerous it could have ended up but Shawcross’ tackle on Ramsey is a reminder of exactly why this sport can be so dangerous. Aaron Ramsey’s 9-month long injury is one of the worst in football history and Shawcross, who was able to play again after only having to sit out for three games is responsible.

4. Benjamin Massing 

Claudio Caniggia had to dodge and hurdle two attempted fouls before Benjamin Massing came flying in on him and nearly killed him. People get locked away in bars for far lesser crimes than the horror tackle above and the referee was quite honestly stupid to not give Massing a straight red card and instead a second yellow. The worst thing of all about this tackle is not the excessive force and the clear intent to injure but how far gone the ball was when Massing made this tackle. This was such a brutal tackle that the Cameroonian international actually lost his shoe in the incident. This deserves to forever go down in history as one of the worst tackles ever.

3. Josip Simunic 

You know you’ve done something wrong when you kick someone so hard that you nearly break your own leg as well. Josip Simunic has always been a tough tackler and quickly built up a reputation for being a dirty player as well when he was strangely sent off in a World Cup 2006 match for receiving three yellow cards by the referee rather than two. This tackle on Miralem Sulejmani was high off the ground and with both players going at such a high speed ended up horribly for the Serbian. Often you’ll see players stopping a counter attack by pulling a shirt back or intentionally tripping up an opponent, but there is a big difference between stopping a counter attack and kung fu kicking someone in the leg. The ball was well-past Simunic and this could easily have broken the Serb’s leg. As if the rivalry between Serbia and Croatia wasn’t already bad enough this outrageous tackle looks set to spark even more controversy between these two sides in the near future.

2. Commins Menapi 

Yeah so I actually suggest you don’t watch this one. The ball was on the ground but Commins Menapi was not at all, intentionally going studs up on Ricki Van Steeden with a flying tackle and leaving him with a broken leg. This is why red cards exist in football. For tackles that are so bad that they endanger the safety of the opponent. Menapi’s tackle was so bad that it deserved two red cards. There is absolutely zero attempt to play the ball and this could have easily ended Van Steeden’s career. In the end the Solomon Islands striker was lucky to get away with a 6-match ban for this incident.

1. Axel Witsel 

I would try and argue that Axel Witsel is not a dirty player but with a tackle like this it’s absolutely impossible to persuade you of anything different. Not only did Axel Witsel intentionally stamp on Marcin Wasilewski’s leg, the contact is so forceful that without any exaggeration it nearly chops off the Pole’s ankle. Marcin Wasilewski was left with a horrible broken leg and has done tremendously well to recover from that since, even winning the Premier League title with Leicester City last year. Axel Witsel meanwhile has gone on to do great things for both Zenit St. Petersburg and Belgium but may always be remembered for this very infamous horror tackle that could have ended a player’s career. Witsel was originally banned from Belgian football for three months for this horrible act with his ban being reduced to 8 games (closer to two months) after an appeal. If you don’t believe how bad this tackle is, give it a google image search and you’ll see for yourself exactly how life changing this could have been for Wasilewski. With studs showing, no attempt to play the ball and an intent to injure this is the worst tackle, if one can even call it that, in the history of football.

So what is missing from this list? Do you agree or disagree? Are you scarred for life from ever playing football again? I know I am! Comment below to share your thoughts, we’ll see you next time.


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