Dirty Tackle

  • Harlem Gnohere (right) not looking all that fat.

    It's often hard for fans and commentators to to remember that footballers are people too, and not just fictional characters that solely exist for their amusement and derision. RTL Belgium's Stephane Pauwels had one of these moments during Charleroi's 2-1 loss to KV Kortrijk last weekend when he told viewers that French striker Harlem Gnohere (known as "Bison") was "Fat as a pig. He is 15 kilograms too heavy and he's going nowhere."

    Gnohere took offense to the comment, especially since it was said on a television broadcast, so he consulted a lawyer and decided to stand up for himself while also trying to bring some good out of the situation.

    From Reuters:

    In a statement from the club on Wednesday, Gnohere demanded that any apology should be made in public. He said he would drop potential charges if Pauwels also made a sizeable donation to a children's charity.

    Pauwels has since responded by saying on Twitter: "Harsh, yes, that's football. OK, I should have said 'a few too many kilos'.

    Read More »from French footballer demands apology, charitable donation for being called ‘fat as a pig’ on TV
  • Newly promoted Ukrainian Premier League side Sevastopol faced Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on Saturday night, but the ultras behind the goal were not the most welcoming of hosts.

    As Dnipro attacked in the 55th minute, the rowdy fans orchestrated a mass shower of flares and seats, all of which somehow managed to avoid seriously injuring the players. The supporters weren't trying to help their own defense by making it difficult for Dnipro to score, but were protesting against their own club director Viktor Moskvitina.

    Read More »from Ukrainian ultras throw flares and seats on the field while away team attacks their goal
  • (Getty)

    Wigan defender Leon Barnett scored a 90th-minute equalizer to complete a second-half comeback from 2-0 down against Doncaster. Barnett, who has now scored twice in three games this season to bring his career total to 10, celebrated his timely contribution by channeling Hulk Hogan and tearing open his shirt to either express his fierce and overwhelming joy or his powerful discontent with shirt sponsor 12Bet.

    Of course, once the moment faded and it was time to resume the match, Barnett was left with a bit of a problem...

    Read More »from Wigan’s Leon Barnett scores late equalizer, celebrates with intense shirt rip
  • Though he's only 22, Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann has already scored a number of wonderful goals in his career, but none as special on a personal level as the one he scored against Lyon on Tuesday. With Real Sociedad visiting the club he supported as a boy for the first leg of their Champions League playoff, Griezmann was determined to make the most of the occasion. And he did that with a spectacular scissor kick to put Sociedad up 1-0 in the 17th minute.

    Before the match, he explained what the experience meant to him. From UEFA.com:

    "For me, Lyon has been my club since I was a kid," he said. "I used to come to see all the Champions League matches here with my father. Seen from Spain, Lyon are a club that counts, a historic club.

    "The moment I stepped on the Stade de Gerland pitch, I felt a lot of emotions," Griezmann added. "I even pointed out the spots in the stands where I used to sit. I can't wait until I put my boots on tomorrow. But there's no feeling of revenge: I just want to play. This will be my first competitive match in France with Real Sociedad - and to top it off, it'll be a Champions League match."

    But while Griezmann was feeling all warm and fuzzy, teammate Haris Seferovic did his best to try and show him up in the 50th minute with Sociedad's second goal...

    Read More »from Antoine Griezmann with brilliant scissor kick against boyhood club in Champions league playoff
  • This is Pep Guardiola wearing lederhosen

    (FCBayern.de)

    We knew this day was coming. Bayern Munich's annual lederhosen and beer promotional photoshoot for sponsor Paulaner Brewery would provide our first chance to see the club's new Catalan manager, Pep Guardiola, in the traditional Bavarian garb and it did not disappoint.

    Behold!

    Read More »from This is Pep Guardiola wearing lederhosen
  • (Jeffery A. Salter for Sports Illustrated)

    Mario Balotelli graces the rather sensational cover of the latest Sports Illustrated issue, walking on the water of a Miami pool with his arms outstretched. The cover, which labels Mario "The Most Interesting Man in the World" reads: "He is Italian, the face of AC Milan, friend to popes and prime minsters [he met his first pope last week and knows former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi because he owns Milan], subject of racist hate and wild adulation, he is African, the face of the new Europe, a red card waiting to happen, the best young striker in futbol."

    Strange use of the word "futbol" (instead of the more appropriate "calcio," "football" or even "soccer") aside, it's rare for a non-American footballer to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated (Pele and Maradona have both done it). The Grant Wahl story that goes with the Balotelli cover serves as an introduction to Mario for the poor souls who are unfamiliar with him — summarizing his complex history in the spotlight

    Read More »from ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ Mario Balotelli walks on water for Sports Illustrated cover
  • Club Atlético Lanús hosted Estudiantes in the Argentinean Primera División on Monday night, and quickly fell behind to a goal involving some of the most comical defending seen in South America since... the previous day.

    Lanús took thirteen minutes to equalize via Lautaro Acosta, who celebrated along with strike partner Santiago Silva by running to the sideline and putting on firefighter's helmets. They may have earned some laughs for their emergency services impersonation, but they were metaphorically burned by referee Andres Merlos, who gave them both yellow cards.

    One may not think that FIFA rules prohibit the parody of fire rescue professionals, but the killjoy section of the laws of the game state that a player must be cautioned if "he covers his head or face with a mask or other similar item" during a celebration. Unless an orphanage burned at the same time, it still seems a little harsh.

    Video H/T: 101GG

    Read More »from Argentinean strikers booked for celebrating goal with firefighter’s helmets
  • (UEFA)

    Less than a year after beating Barcelona 2-1 in the Champions League group stage and making Rod Stewart cry tears of joy, the Scottish champions have lost the first leg of their Champions League playoff tie against Kazakh side Shakhter Karagandy 2-0. Rod Stewart's reaction to the loss remains unknown, since he probably didn't make the trip to Kazakhstan for the match.

    Celtic were out of sorts from the start, as they were unable to have main sponsor Magners grace their shirt due to Kazakhstan's ban on promoting alcohol. Instead, they wore the logo of Tipperary Natural Mineral Water, which is owned by Magners' parent company. Meanwhile, Shakhter sacrificed a sheep for good luck ahead of the match. Clearly all of this gave the back to back Kazakhstan Premier League champions a mental edge that they capitalized on by scoring their first goal in just the 12th minute. They added a second in the 77th minute, delighting the 20,000 fans at Shaktyor Stadium and ensuring that Celtic would have

    Read More »from Celtic lose to Kazakh champions in first leg of Champions League playoff
  • (Getty)

    Just three months since David Moyes left Everton, his club for 11 years, to become Sir Alex Ferguson's replacement at Manchester United, he's attempted to do some transfer business with his old club. And it wasn't very well received. According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton called Man United's £28 million joint bid for Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini "derisory and insulting." The following is a transcript of 2013 Man United manager David Moyes negotiating with 2012 Everton manager David Moyes for the two players.

    Man Utd Moyes: Hello, this is David Moyes, manager of Manchester United.

    Everton Moyes: Hello, David! This is David Moyes, manager of Everton. How are you?

    Man Utd Moyes: Quite well, actually. Won the Community Shield and beat Swansea 4-1. How are things at Accrington?

    Everton Moyes: Everton, David.

    Man Utd Moyes: Right, Everton. Everton. Well, I'll get to the point since I have a dinner with Justin Timberlake in half an hour. He lets me call him JT because we're

    Read More »from DT Exclusive: David Moyes negotiates with David Moyes for Fellaini and Baines
  • Barcelona couldn't have gotten off to a much better start to the season, beating Levante 7-0 with six of those goals coming in the first half. Lionel Messi scored two of those first-half goals, including one from the penalty spot, but in an unusual twist, he was slowed down by the bodily functions of a mere mortal before the end of the match.

    When the two sides emerged from the dressing rooms for the second half, a nauseous Leo Messi doubled over, spitting and dry heaving on the pitch. He did try to power through and keep playing, but he was eventually subbed off for Andres Iniesta in the 71st minute. A rare occurrence for the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.

    After the match, new Barcelona manager Tata Martino explained the decision to give Messi a rest (via Reuters):

    "I had already spoken to Messi about it. The season is very long with many games and he is intelligent and understands it is necessary," Martino said. In an evenly-balanced match no one would take him off...but it is

    Read More »from Lionel Messi was dry heaving during Barcelona’s match against Levante
  • Rangers player accused of betting against his own team by Scottish FA

    (Getty)

    Rangers midfielder Ian Black has been accused by the Scottish FA of betting against his own team three times between March 2006 and July 2013. Black, who previously played for Inverness and Hearts before joining Rangers after the club's liquidation and reformation in 2012, has also been accused of betting on his own team 10 other times and matches in which he had no connection 147 times.

    From STV:

    The player will be asked to attend a hearing at Hampden on Thursday, September 12. He has until Monday, August 26 to provide evidence to the governing body.

    Footballers registered in Scotland are prohibited by the Scottish FA from betting on any football match.

    If found guilty, players can be fined from £500 to £1,000,000 and can be either suspended or expelled from playing professional football.

    Though betting against your own team is always a clear no-no, this is another reminder of the murky relationship football has with the gambling industry. The Scottish FA itself allows bookmaker

    Read More »from Rangers player accused of betting against his own team by Scottish FA
  • Neymar reacts to Barcelona’s domination of Levante from the bench

    (Getty)

    Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa...whoa. Whoa. What just happened here? Did Harry Potter abduct me in the night and take me back to 2009? I just sat on the bench and watched Barcelona score six goals IN THE FIRST HALF against Levante. Without me. "End of an era" Barcelona. Barcelona that lost in the Champions League semifinals 7-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich. Barcelona that now has a new manager from Argentina called Tutu or something. I don't even know his name yet because it's the first day of the season and the score is 6-0 after 45 MINUTES while I'm sitting here like the sixth member of One Direction.

    I was supposed to save this club. Yeah, they won the league last year 15 points clear of Real Madrid, but everyone was still all like, "Yep, Barcelona's done now. They're over. Better stick bendy straws in our ears and finish the home lobotomy we have to be doing to think something as completely stupid as that." Still, I was going to be the guy who keeps Messi at the top. I was going to come in and be that guy. And then I was going to surpass him in every way imaginable. But that was going to be later, after he loves me and develops an insatiable lust for exotic hams and doesn't care anymore.

    Anyway, this is just ridiculous. They didn't beat anyone 7-0 last season. No one. They played Levante twice last season and only won 5-0 in those two matches combined. I know that because I just checked since I'm sitting on the bench, drawing on my finger with a pen and watching them score six goals against Levante in one half. And now it's halftime and I'm still here by myself because I have no idea what to do with my life anymore.

    Read More »from Neymar reacts to Barcelona’s domination of Levante from the bench
  • Unión Comercio faced high-flying Universitario in the penultimate match of the first stage of the 2013 Torneo Descentralizado (Peruvian first division) on Sunday, knowing they needed a win to escape a bottom-two finish. If they complete the second stage of the Torneo in the bottom two, they will be relegated.

    Things didn't quite go to plan for Club Unión, however, as an extraordinarily embarrassing own goal gifted their opponents a 1-0 victory.

    In the 58th minute, defender Renzo Reaños collected the ball in his own area. With absolutely no pressure around him and plenty of time, he blasted it into the top corner of his own net.

    To his credit, the Peruvian had the humility to apologize for his bizarre error via Twitter:

    Read More »from Peruvian defender scores embarrassing own goal, apologizes on Twitter
  • (Skip ahead to 2:00)

    Porto commenced their Portuguese Liga title defense at home to Setubal on Sunday evening, but things got off to a bad start when Brazilian forward Rafael Martins put the visitors ahead in the 14th minute.

    Early in the second half, Porto equalized courtesy of a penalty from Josué. As the diminutive Portuguese midfielder ran to pick the ball from the net, however, he was obstructed and then headbutted by Setubal goalkeeper Pawel Kieszek. Sensing a red card punishment, the Polish shot stopper instinctively dropped to the ground, acting as if he was the one who had been assaulted.

    The sorry act was less convincing than a Luis Suarez apology and the referee duly gave Kieszek his marching orders.

    Porto ended up winning 3-1, completing the first step to their fourth consecutive Portuguese title win.

    This has been the Dirty Tackle of the Day: a chronicling of unfortunate events.

    Video H/T: 101GG

    Read More »from DTotD: Setubal goalkeeper headbutts Porto penalty scorer then falls over with pretend injury
  • (Getty)

    Crystal Palace are back in the Premier League for the first time since being relegated for a record fourth time in 2005. And to announce the club's return, supporters put together a display before their season opener against Spurs featuring the Jigsaw dummy from the Saw films. "Palace are here, let the games begin," the banners read.

    And if invoking a message from a horror series wasn't enough to strike fear into their new Premier League foes, they also have Kayla, their live bald eagle mascot.

    Read More »from Crystal Palace fans announce their Premier League arrival with menacing Saw themed tifo display
  • Juventus beat Lazio 4-0 to win the Italian Supercoppa in front of a hostile all too predictably racist crowd at the Stadio Olimpico. Carlos Tevez scored his first goal for Juventus since his move from Manchester City and he did it in a way that probably made Lazio keeper Federico Marchetti regret waking up in the morning.

    With Juve already up 3-0 with two of those goals coming in the previous four minutes, the Serie A champions went on the attack again with a backheel pass setting up a shot that was saved by Marchetti well off his line. The ball then fell to Paul Pogba, who floated a header towards the empty net, but Marchetti scrambled back to make the stop. With Marchetti laying there, the ball trickled back to Pogba, who passed it off to Tevez to finally put it away and make it 4-0 in the 56th minute.

    Unfortunately Lazio fans decided to direct their anger at Juve's black players, prompting a late warning from the stadium announcer. From Reuters:

    Juventus players Paul Pogba, Angelo Ogbonna and Kwadwo Asamoah were booed by Lazio fans each time they touched the ball late in the second half at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

    A warning was read over the stadium loudspeakers just before the end of the game, although play was not halted.

    After the match, Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic apologized "to the fans and the city" for the heavy defeat while Juve celebrated in their opponents' home.

    Read More »from Carlos Tevez scores first Juventus goal in demoralizing fashion for Lazio keeper
  • (Warning: Videos contain lots of NSFW language.)

    Saturday's 3-1 loss to Aston Villa at the Emirates to start the Premier League season proved to be the tipping point for many Arsenal fans frustrated by years of not winning trophies or spending the money necessary to do so. One such fan is Hugh Wizzy, who is not Marouane Fellaini but does a YouTube series called "ArseBang." Yes, "ArseBang." And shortly after the loss to Villa, while the emotions were at their most raw, he used the latest edition of his show to deliver an impassioned rant directed at Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board that included some very real tears. It's only the first match of the season and Arsene Wenger is officially making people cry now.

    About four minutes into the video, which includes a number of interviews with other Arsenal fans in New York City, the subject matter becomes too overwhelming. "There are dads out there who have got three jobs, three kids and they work their [expletives] off to get a season ticket to take the boy to the football," he says, wiping away tears. "It's holding us back and it's hurting everyone. Even the people that backed you from the beginning!" The mix of anger and weeping escalates from there.

    And if that doesn't appeal to whatever sense of compassion remains in Wenger's frugal, frugal heart, then the video below could intimidate him into action.

    Read More »from Arsenal fan cries over club’s lack of spending after loss to Aston Villa
  • Jose Mourinho’s glorious return to Stamford Bridge in pictures

    (Getty)

    After a turbulent but mostly successful five years apart for both sides, Jose Mourinho has returned to Chelsea and everyone is happy. With Chelsea hosting Hull at Stamford Bridge in their first match of the Premier League season, that happiness was given a forum to be expressed and the result was a predictable orgy of pent up mutual admiration and joy that left everyone present feeling gooey and warm.

    Last season, Mourinho was grumpily hiding from the press while not getting along with many of Real Madrid's fans or players. Chelsea fans and players, meanwhile, were not getting along with unwanted interim manager Rafa Benitez. But the ideal solution for both Mourinho and Chelsea was reached over the summer and now they have again joined together as one. Mourinho set the tone with his matchday program notes, which began like this:

    It is great to write again to my Blues brothers, and I start with a question: How would you feel if Mr Abramovich asked you to manage and coach our first team? How would you feel as a Chelsea supporter? Proud? Excited? Motivated? Ready? That is exactly what I felt.

    That is why I introduced myself as the Happy One, that is exactly what I feel every day when I drive to Cobham or to Stamford Bridge. I am at home again; I am where I want to be again; I am, once again, in a club that is much more than my club - it is also a passion. A passion that I share with every one of you.

    And once all parties arrived in the stadium, that passion was very evident...

    Read More »from Jose Mourinho’s glorious return to Stamford Bridge in pictures
  • Even with a late penalty chance, Stoke couldn't manage a goal in their Premier League opener against Liverpool, losing 1-0. But a few hours later, 20-year-old Juan Agudelo showed that help is on the way when he casually lobbed a rather stunning back/side heel flick just over the goal line to put New England up 1-0 on Chicago in the 54th minute. They eventually won 2-0.

    Agudelo is set to join Stoke in January, having signed a pre-contract last week. He already has 17 caps and two goals for the U.S., but has fallen out of the international picture in the last couple of years while fending off an unfair amount of hype for his tender age and bouncing around MLS. Goals like this have a tendency to make people take notice, though.

    Read More »from Soon to be Stoke striker Juan Agudelo scores with audacious backheel lob
  • DTotD: Bacary Sagna jumps over opponent and lands on his neck

    As if a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa at the Emirates wasn't a bad enough way to start the season for Arsenal, injuries to Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Bacary Sagna to their already injury-plagued squad didn't help. Gibbs had to be taken off in just the 29th minute with a bloody forehead and just before full time, Sagna jumped over Aston Villa goal scorer Christian Benteke while going for a header, but ended up landing on the back of his neck.

    It was a frightening moment and Sagna had to be subbed off, but he was able to get up from it. Meanwhile, fellow defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off in the 67th minute, further decimating an Arsenal backline already Nacho Monreal and Thomas Vermaelen.

    But just as everything started to go down the drain for Arsenal, keeper Wojciech Szczesny provided some comic relief by doing an impromptu headstand after failing to save Benteke's header when his initial penalty attempt was saved.

    Read More »from DTotD: Bacary Sagna jumps over opponent and lands on his neck