Madness: 8 of the biggest meltdowns seen on a football pitch


    It was quite an interesting weekend for Franck Ribery.

    The former France international was on holiday with his family in Dubai, and took the time out to go and see his good friend ‘Salt Bae’ – a highly regarded Turkish Chef.

    ‘Salt’ owns a series of steak restaurants and Ribery went along to try a £1000 sirloin covered in gold dust, leaving his social media following gobsmacked at the cost.

    From there, Ribery launched into one of the most foul-mouthed tirades that has ever been witnessed in the game, which left many football fans shocked and appalled. Munich are set to fine Ribery as much as they can and unsurprisingly, the player has agreed.

    Although Ribery’s outburst didn’t take place on the pitch, it got us thinking about some of the best meltdowns the game has seen in recent times.

    Here, we take a look at eight of the best from yesteryear.

    Cristiano Ronaldo lobs a microphone into a river during Euro 2016

    Cristiano Ronaldo is a man of endless talent but he can’t always keep his cool, justifying that he is in fact human! The Juventus star was representing Portugal on their way to Euro 2016 success, but a single question from a journalist got the better of him.

    Ronaldo was taking a stroll with his Portugal teammates when the journalist interrupted, causing the former Real Madrid star to lob his microphone into a lake in Lyon!

    Didier Drogba confronts ref in flip flops after Barcelona Champions League defeat

    Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final exit to Barcelona in 2009 is only remembered for one thing. Referee Tom Henning Ovrebo denied the Blues at least four penalties throughout the tie and after a last-gasp Andreas Iniesta equaliser, saw the Spaniards progress to the final.

    For striker Didier Drogba, it all got a bit too much and the Ivorian challenged Ovrebo after the final whistle. Perhaps it wasn’t the nature of Drogba’s rant, but the fact he was wearing flip flops whilst giving Ovrebo a piece of his mind made it all the more memorable.

    Paolo Di Canio shoves the referee over

    In some respects, Paolo Di Canio’s shove on referee Paul Alcock in 1998 is still one of the most iconic Premier League moments, but for all the wrong reasons. The maverick Italian had just been giving his marching orders by Alcock before he decided to push him over!

    After trying to kick lumps out of Patrick Viera and Martin Keown, Alcock produced a red card which seemed to fuel Di Canio’s fire even further as he sent the ref tumbling to the ground. An 11 game ban was issued to Di Canio.

    Gianluigi Buffon v Real Madrid

    Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon caused quite the stir during the Champions League quarter-finals in 2018. The Juventus goalkeeper was so incensed that Real Madrid had just been awarded a last-gasp penalty, he aimed his frustrations at English referee Michael Oliver.

    According to The Independent, Buffon tarnished Oliver with a range of expletives as his frustrations boiled over, as Juventus were denied a chance of progressing to the semi-finals. Buffon was sent off for dissent and Real scored the resulting penalty. That absent Champions League medal was clearly on Buffon’s mind as he didn’t hold back. But how would the 40-year-old feel if Juve did go on to win it this year? A mixture of emotions you’d assume but all the latest Champions League prices are available here:

    Eric Cantona v Crystal Palace

    If Di Canio’s push on Alcock was bad then Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan was damn right atrocious. The Manchester United legend had just been giving his marching orders and was vacating the Selhurst Park pitch.

    Palace fan Matthew Simmons was seen to be directing abuse towards the former Leeds United player and the forward completely lost his cool and aimed the kick right into Simmons’ midriff. An 11 month ban was the punishment for Cantona.

    Temuri Ketsbaia v advertising hoarding

    One of the more light-hearted melodramas football has seen in recent times involved a certain Georgian midfielder plying his trade at Newcastle United. Temuri Ketsbaia, who graced St James Park from 1997 – 2000, went a little bit over the top when he scored a last minute winner against Bolton Wanderers in 1998.

    Instead of celebrating by wheeling away in jubilation, Ketsbaia lashed out at the advertising hoardings and promptly kicked it to declare his frustrations at falling down the first-team pecking order. That’s one way to show the manager, eh!

    Kieron Dyer v Lee Bowyer

    Teammates means teammates, right?

    Not if you’re Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer. The midfielders were both playing for Newcastle when instead of fighting for the cause (0-3 down to Villa at home), they turned on each other in one of the most extraordinary moments English football has seen.

    The game was already lost when the duo turned on each other in an off-the-ball incident that saw Dyer grapple with Bowyer. The latter appeared to throw two punches at Dyer before Villa’s Gareth Barry tried to keep the peace and separate the warring pair.

    Zinedine Zidane 2006 World Cup Final

    What a way to announce your retirement from the game.

    Zinedine Zidane – who led France to World Cup glory in 1998 – quite literally lost his head during the 2006 World Cup final against Italy. With the game locked at 1-1, Zidane was engaged in what seemed like a trivial exchange of words with opposing defender Marco Materazzi.

    Whatever was said riled Zidane so much that the French legend aimed and landed a devastating headbutt on his victim. Materazzi was rolling around in agony and Zidane was quickly given his marching orders. His last ever act as a professional footballer.