5 Top Footballing Controversies

Maradonas hand of god

Handball Mania!


Let us not never forget Maradona’s hand of god! This pocket genius timed his well-handed effort just after the British and Argentinian’s had not long fought a war over the Falkland Isle’s. And there was no hesitation in Maradona claiming his hand of god effort as payback for the war.

In the eyes of the English Maradona’s legacy means nothing in their world of football. What may have happened on that balmy English evening in 1986 will never be truly known, but going in to extra-time at 1-1 would’ve been so much more dramatic. All thoughts of a cheating hand eliminating the English team wouldn’t have been missed. And who knows how we may have fared in the final!

There’s no denying the class of his second goal; a 60 yard, 10 second run, taking on some England’s finest as though they were mere bystanders to his shear presence and grace whilst on the ball. He took on 4 players before neatly slotting the ball home, leaving the likes of Butcher, Fenwick and Peter Reid for dead.


Back in 2009 Henry was at the top of his game and determined to see France into a place of the FIFFA World Cup Finals.

Had he done so in a graceful and sportsman like manner, things may have been different for the Irish. Who, had given a fantastic account of themselves in the previous leg to keep things level, before going into this, the final second-leg.

Henry needed extra time for his ball handling skills to come in to their own.

In order to control an awkward ball, Henry used his hand before squaring for Gallas who scored what turned out to be the deciding goal.

Most eyes on that match saw the blatant handling but the referee saw nothing untoward and the goal stood, sending Ireland home having had a slight glimpse of entering the World’s most honourable tournament.


Football has it fair share of dramas off the field, almost as much as on it. Over the years football has endured players getting up to all sorts.

The most startling are from a recent era but players from the past could just be as mischievous. Take Franz Beckenbauer; married twice and fathered a child outside of wedlock, before divorcing his second wife to marry his mistress. Beckenbauer fathered his first son at 18, in 1963, but wouldn’t marry his then partner. This caused controversy at the time and led to him being banned from the youth side.

In recent decades high-profile footballers such as Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs have all had to deal with these extra-marital affairs. One of the most awkward that stands out is Chelsea’s defender - John Terry, who had an affair with a team-mates wife. Wayne Bridge had to deal with the news that his wife had been cheating with Terry.

The news left Bridge devastated, both he and Terry had played at Chelsea, and for England for a number of years prior to this news coming out.

There’s no real surprise in how Bridge reacted; refusing to shake Terry’s hand before a match and not playing for England if Terry was named in the same squad.

The fallout must have hit Terry hard, who was always seen to be a good friend of Bridge. Capello, then England manager, stripped Terry of his captaincy and had to endure headline after headline delving in to the affair.

Affair counts for one controversy as to mention them all would result in a hit list of filthy philanderers.

The Battle of Santiago

One of the most ugliest and ill-tempered football matches to be played at the highest level was between Italy and Chile.

This was a World Cup match played in 1962 in the shadow of some unhealthy reporting from Italian journalists.

These journalists put together articles that insulted and demeaned Chile; from articles complaining about phones not working, to the general populace being malnourished, poverty stricken and alcoholics.

The Chilean team took this to heart and came out on to the pitch in full battle mode.

UK sports journalist, David Coleman described the match “The game you are about to see is the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football in the history of the game.”.

Within minutes, no seconds, fouls were committed, controversy reined as Italian Ferrini had to be escorted off the pitch by police after refusing to leave. Punches, lunging tackles and indiscipline rifled through the Chilean team who somehow managed to win 2-0. Though the Italian’s were down to nine men for a portion of the match.

This battle certainly earned its name, the likes of which haven’t been seen since. Thankfully!

Roberto Rojas and his outrageous attempts to get Chile to Italia 90

Rojas kept goal for Chile and played out his final years with Brazilian side Sao Paulo. Curiously enough, it was against the Brazilians that Rojas tried to pull off a tremendous fete.

The match, played out in 1989, would result in qualification for the winner whilst the losers wouldn’t be heading to Italia 90.

Late on in the match, with the Brazilians leading by a goal to nil, Rojas fell to the ground apparently injured by a flare thrown on to the pitch.

Abandonment would’ve meant victory for Chile and as a result of the flare the Chilean team left the pitch citing the atmosphere to be too fierce making it hazardous for the team. Though, it soon transpired Rojas had in fact a razor blade hidden inside a glove. In an attempt to get the match abandoned, he had injured himself before falling to the ground clutching his forehead.

The evidence unfolded via video, which left the Chilean nation embarrassed to the point that they banned Rojas for life. Due to his actions Chile were also banned from the 1994 World Cup.

In 2001 Rojas managed to have the ban lifted, following a request for a pardon, though by then his best days were behind him.

That’s our mix of footballing’s greatest controversies, can you think of others equally as bad? Get in touch via social or drop us an email.