Can you imagine a World Cup without Messi or Ronaldo? It’s hard to imagine the world’s biggest tournament without it’s biggest players – and even harder to imagine them missing out due to discrimination.
But that’s exactly what will happen this month when Ballon D’Or winner Ada Hegerberg refuses to play in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Here we take a look at why problems with discrimination are still affecting the Women’s Game.
Ada Hegerberg is one of the best footballers on the planet. The Lyon forward has scored 255 goals in 254 games across her career. She was awarded the Norwegian Gold Ball in 2015 (the first woman to do so in 20 years). She’s won six league titles and four Champions Leagues (at the age of just 23). She was named UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe in 2016 and BBC Footballer of the Year in 2017 and 2019 – yet she is still faced with sexism wherever she goes.
The most well-publicised example of this came last year, when Hegerberg was asked if ‘she could twerk’ just moments after she collected the first-ever Ballon D’Or Féminin award. It was an awkward and disrespectful question that stole away the headlines from Hegerberg in the biggest moment of her career to date. The same thing would never have happened Luka Modric, the winner of the men’s award, so why was Hegerberg’s victory trivialised in such a way?
The disparity in pay, conditions and treatment between the men’s and women’s international teams faced by Hegerberg in Norway is the reason why she took the decision to stop playing for her national side back in 2017. She has gone on record to say that until the Norwegian Football Federation gives equal treatment to it’s men and women footballers, she will continue to abstain from playing for her country. Here’s what she said about her decision in an interview with ESPN:
“[In Lyon] it’s the amount of respect and the fact that we’re equal in terms of conditions, the pitches we have, eating in the same canteen and really taking part in the club together with the mens team. I was trying to make an impact [on Norway] for a lot of years and I could see that in this system, in the federation, it didn’t fit me at all. I feel like I was placed in a system where I didn’t have a voice.
It was such a hard thing to do. It can’t be easy when a woman stands and tries to be critical in a positive way. For me, it was really important that [the federation] knew what I was talking about, point by point. When the media asked me what I told the federation, I said, that’s between me and them so they can work on it. But it doesn’t seem like they took it in the way they should have.
Women need to back women in cases like this, even more than we do today. If each woman stands up and uses her voice, imagine how many voices would be together and how strong a mass that would be. It’s impossible to play football in a world among men and not fight for equality. We’re all feminists. Playing football can be damn harsh, but every day is a fight for equality. That’s a fact.”
So far, Hegerberg is the only player to boycott the World Cup altogether – but that doesn’t mean others aren’t standing up for equality in football. Players from USA have filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation due to “institutionalised gender discrimination” in the form of unequal pay and discrimination, alleging their women’s team gets paid on average 40% of what the men’s team does. Denmark and Ireland have also led protests over pay disparity.
Since Hegerberg first went out on strike, the Norweigian FA have begun to make some improvements. Equal pay between the men’s and women’s teams has been promised – making Norway’s FA the first to do this, however there’s still a long way to go before there’s any chance of us seeing Hegerberg pulling on a red shirt for her country again. Her actions are making a real difference, it’s just a shame it takes the world’s best player sitting out a World Cup for these changes to come about in the first place.
Here’s what Norway’s female sporting directer and former player Lise Klaveness had to say about Hegerberg’s actions in an interview given to the Associated Press: “We are happy for this debate to raise attention and respect for women’s soccer in the world. And I do view it as a big change-maker. But I just wish she was in our team.”
When the World Cup kicks off tonight with hosts France taking on South Korea, million will be tune in around the globe to see what will most likely be the best tournament yet for women’s football. As the sport grows in popularity and more people begin take notice of the talent on offer, it’s only a matter of time before equality in football is finally achieved. But sadly for now, athletes like Ada Hegerberg must continue to take a stand in order to be respected for playing the sport they love.
For more information on equality in women’s football, you check out UEFA’s #TimeForAction campaign here.
The Americas is no stranger to football, from the tifos and heated rivalries of Brazil and Argentina all the way to the USA, where MLS has erupted into the mainstream thanks to stars like Rooney and Zlatan. But now there’s a new kid on the block.
You might not have realised it, but April saw kick off in of one of world football’s newest leagues. The Canadian Premier League was announced two years ago but until recently has flown mildly under the radar. That’s right, the country famed for it’s syrup, moose and ice hockey has finally embraced the beautiful game – and there’s big things on the way. The league has promised to showcase the ‘best home-grown Canadian talent’, under the slogan ‘We are many, we are one.’ It’s exciting stuff, so here’s everything you need to know about Canadian football:
Comprised of seven teams spanning across the whole of the ice-clad nation, the league is split into a regular season and a fall season – giving fans more games to enjoy and more opportunities for the league to make a good impression on the world stage. The league’s quest for home-grown talent is helped by it’s draft system, similar to that of American Football and a wage cap also helps maintains the equal nature of the league – ensuring no-one can just pump money into a team and buy all the best players, as has been seen in some other leagues, *cough* Manchester City *cough*.
All sounds pretty good, right? But who are the teams participating in the ‘new era for Canadian football?’ Here’s a complete run-down so you know what to expect:
Cavalry FC are based in Alberta, lying to the south west of Canada, a place famed for its landscape and vast forests. Founded in 2018, the team were one of the founding members of the CPL. They play their games at the Spruce Meadow, a stadium with a capacity of 6,000 and a modular layout, which makes it perfect for later expansion. The team will sport a red strip with a white stripe for their home games, whilst their away kit is a classy green number paired with contrasting white shorts.
Coach: Tommy Wheeldon Jr
Key Player: Dominque Malonga (Congo)
Malonga is an experienced forward, previously plying his trade in France, Italy, Spain and Scotland, with his most successful stint being at Hibernian, where he scored 17 goals in 43 games. On top of this he has secured seven starts for his homeland. A player with this much experience will be a threat for any team in the league.
Just down the road from Cavalry FC are FC Edmonton, who too are in Alberta. The club was founded in 2010 as a NASL franchise, however, were granted CPL admittance in June 2018. With the nickname the Eddies they will play their home games at Clarke Stadium. The stadium has a capacity of just over 5,000 which is 1,000 less than their rivals. Their home games will be spent donning a Millwall-esque dark blue jersey with white trim, whilst the away kit has more of a Huddersfield feel too it, with blue stripes on a white canvas.
Coach: Jeff Paulus
Key Player: Tomi Ameobi (England)
There is another Ameobi brother! Just like the two we are more familiar with, Tomi is too a forward. With experience across the English football League ranging from Leeds to Forest green, taking stops at Doncaster Rovers and Grimsby Town on the way, Ameobi has been at Edmonton since the start of the 2014 campaign, taking a year out to try his hand with FC Cincinnati, who are set to be the newest MLS enterprise.
The first team on the list that isn’t based in Alberta. Forge FC are based in Hamilton, Ontario, a stone throws away from the Niagara Falls. The team with a logo that looks like it belongs to an E Sports team were founded back in 2017. The Tim Hortons Field will be the backdrop to the home games this year, sporting a 10,000-seater stadium which can be expanded to just over 23,000. The kits are pretty much reverses of each other, the fans at home games will see them in a full Orange kit with grey trim, whereas the traveling fans at away games will see a grey kit with orange trim.
Coach: Bobby Smyrniotis
Key Player : Kyle Bekker (Canada)
The first home grown Canadian on the list Bekker is a tricky midfielder who has exclusive footballing experience in North America. Being drafted to MLS outfit Toronto FC back in 2013 was the start of a tour of America, playing at other MLS teams such as FC Dallas and Montreal Impact. Managing to also rack up 18 caps for the Canadian nation team gives the player a strong pedigree.
HFX Wanderers FC
With arguably the most detailed badge in the league, HFX Wanderers, commonly known as Halifax Wanderers are in the Canadian district of Nova Scotia. The second smallest of all Canadian provinces and the furthest east of all is home to the Wanderers Ground, which is a 6200-seater stadium based in Halifax. In contrast to the badges the kits are a more simple affair. Basic navy blue is all over the home kit whereas the away strip is a light blue.
Coach: Stephen Hart
Key Player: Luis Alberto Perea (Columbia)
At the age of 32 Luis Perea is reaching the swansong of his career, having represented close to 20 teams. 8 Countries have seen him score goals, the fans that would have the fondest memories of him would be Universidad San Martin in Peru, having scored 36 goals in 92 appearances. The Copa del Inca top scorer of 2014 and Salvadoran Primera top scorer of 2018 will be looking to get back to prolific ways.
British Columbia was home to the ski resort that hosted the 2010 winter Olympics, as well as having links to Vancouver and a bustling film industry, it seems like the perfect place to home a football team. Pacific FC is situated in Langford and has been there for just shy of a year. Home is called Westhills stadium and can house 5,100 people. The Home kit resembles that of Orlando City, purple top to bottom. The away kit takes the other colour of the badge being a mint colour.
Coach: Michael Silberbauer
Key Player : Marcel De Jong (Canada)
With 56 Canada caps to his name Marcel De Jong is arguably one of the most capped players in the league. Born to Dutch parents he was part of the PSV academy and was part of teams across Europe, before moving back to North America in 2015 when he joined Sporting Kansas City. At the age of 32 he has all the experience he needs to be a vital part of this team.
With my pick for the best looking badge in the CPL Winnipeg based Valor FC are one of the older teams in the League. May 6th 2017 is the date of birth for the side, in comparison to other teams who have only been around less than a year, this team looks archaic in comparison. Sat in a plush 33,000 seater stadium .The kits have the potential to match the logo, a black and red strip for the home kit, with a reverse of proceedings for the away kit.
Coach: Rob Gale
Key Player: Adam Mitter (England)
A journeyman for his age, the 26-year-old Mitter has played at senior level for 14 different teams, ranging everywhere from Scotland all the way to the Philippines. He plays as a Centre back or right back and has proved his worth at many clubs, playing at least 10 games a campaign since 2014. He could prove to be one of the strongest defenders in the league by sheer experience alone.
York 9 FC
With former Canadian international Jimmy Brennan at the helm, York 9 FC are one of the teams who have played a game in the new CPL. The team are based in Toronto, a place with a strong footballing connection to the United States. Appearing in May 2018 the team is barely a year old. Home games will be played at the York Lions Stadium, making use of its 8,000-seater capacity. The Home kit is a clashing of white and green and the story is continued with the away kit, being a green and black affair.
Coach: Jimmy Brennan
Key Player: Manny Aparicio (Canada)
Argentine born Aparicio plays as an attacking midfielder and at 23 he has plenty of room for development. One upon a time he was part of the Toronto Academy, since his departure in 2015 he has played for teams in Spain before heading back to Canada with York 9 FC. Standing at 5’8 he has a similar stature to a lot of attacking midfielders in the league, however something that sets him apart would be the Canada cap to Aparicio’s name.
Whatever you make of it, it seems there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to the future of Canadian football. Next time you’re bored and the Premier League, why not tune into the CPL? Who knows, you might find your next favourite team.
We met Spanish football’s craziest fans. Naturally, they were English.
Words by Danny Brown
When most people think of ultras in Europe, they think balaclavas, pyro, smoke bombs and tifos… Not boozed up brits with beer-bellies, sunburnt heads and cans of lager. But in Malaga, one group of British ex-pats are doing things very differently.
A trendy port city on Spain’s Costa Del Sol, Málaga is best known for it’s lush beaches, restaurants and holiday resorts. The home of Málaga Club De Futbol, who have been playing their football on the south coast since 1904, la Boquerones are one of Spain’s more historic and well-supported clubs. Málaga also happens to be home to around 40,000 British ex-patriots who have decided to ditch the doom and gloom of the UK in favour of the sunshine and beaches of España – and when you stick a bunch of footy-mad Brits and a 115-year-old football club together on the same coast, a love affair is just waiting to happen.
Meet the Guiri Army, a rowdy gang of British ex-pats who have followed Málaga CF home and away for the best part of two decades. Loud, proud and typically English in that they never take themselves too seriously, the group represents one of largest and most active foreign followings of any club in Europe. We caught up with the group’s leader, Dave Redshaw, to find out how the group first fell into existence, plus the story behind their unique name…
“We didn’t actually set out with the intention of forming a group. It more or less just snuck upon us. I first started watching Málaga in 1989 and there has always been a good group of us going to game but I suppose it really kicked off when Málaga got promoted in 1999 and people got interested as they could now see the big teams at La Rosaleda after 10 years out of La Primera. The club folded in the early nineties then re-formed, so the fans had been starved of top-flight football for a while.
I started getting a coach for games instead of us driving our cars and we were filling it regularly. I remember about this time that I was walking back to the bar we use near the ground with one of the lads and I said to him it was about time we got ourselves and identity. I’d been watching the cricket and the Barmy Army, so I suggested we call ourselves the ‘Guiri Army’ as a way of poking fun at ourselves – ‘Guiri’ being a Spanish slang word used to describe a foreigner – typically one who is as white as a milk bottle and wears socks, sandals and Union Jack shorts when on holiday!”
With the name decided on, there was only one thing left to do – the group purchased a giant St Georges Flag complete with their new name with the England and Málaga badges printed either side and the Guiri Army had officially been born. Twenty years later, the group (and flag) are still seen at virtually every Malaga match, home and away – but what exactly does a typical match day look like the Guiri Army? (It’s what you’d expect – a lot of drinking and the odd bit of mischief).
“On a match day we meet in the Lounge Bar in Benalmádena before we set off on the coach, always around two-and-half-hours before the game. We take our own DVDs and beer with us on the coach, the driver Paco is a good friend of mine so he basically let’s us get away with murder. When we get to Malaga we use a bar called Hermanos Madrid, it’s 10 euros and that includes as many bottles of beer as you want, before and after the match. Bargain!”
Part of the Guri Army match day experience is some of the wacky traditions the group have adopted over the years – from fancy dress to doing a dozen laps of a roundabout near the stadium in their coach on match days (to the bewilderment of the Spanish locals), by far the funniest is one bloke who used to whip off his shirt off before kick off and run the entire length of La Rosaleda holding a giant flag. Fair play.
“The roundabout tradition started when we got our own bus, everyone used to stand and look at us. The driver still does it, he goes around it a dozen times some days! A bloke called Rick used to run with the flag, he’d strip his shirt off and run to one end of the stadium and back, with all the fans egging him on. He doesn’t do it now as the police sort of take a dim view – they actually banned him from doing it at Champions League games!
There’s obviously quite a few characters in the group, all different in their own right. Rick is obviously a real character, a funny guy who is always taking the mickey out of anything and everyone. Then there’s Spider (whose real name is Graham Rimmer), at one time he was in the pop group Chumbawamba (“I get knocked down but I get up again”), although he left before they had their big hit. He’s an absolute lunatic. There’s also a guy called Dutch Tom, who is very funny as well.”
For years, at the heart of the Guri Army’s exploits (and making their roundabout shenanigans possible) was their customised bus – instantly recognisable wherever they went thanks to the 10-foot Union Jack plastered across one side. Sadly now-retired, the coach carried the gang on their adventures across Spain (and even further-afield into Europe), and was at the centre of more than a few hilarious tales for the group over the years:
“We’ve put the bus out to grass now as it’s 32-years-old and way past it’s sell-by date. I remember one time we were coming back from a home game on the coach and one of the wheels fell off, rolled past us and demolished a brand new BMW that was parked at the side of the road – apparently it had been in for a service and the mechanic had forgotten to tighten one of the wheels!
When Malaga played Porto in the Champions League we went on the coach and set off at 4.30AM on the Monday as we were staying overnight for the following day’s game. Coming back, we were just south of Porto when the bus broke down, meaning we ended up staying in a service station overnight. We eventually got back around 2.30am on the Thursday – it was a long trip, but one of the best ever!”
Unsurprisingly, some of the Guiri Army’s best times following Malaga was during the team’s remarkable Champions League run under Manuel Pellegrini back in 2013. Malaga made it within touching distance of the final but were cruelly knocked out by Borussia Dortmund – for the Guiris though, it was the adventure of a lifetime, with trips to Germany, Belgium, Russia, Italy and Portugal to name a few.
“We’ve had some fantastic trips over the years. We went all over Europe in the Champions League. The atmosphere is brilliant and Málaga fans always get behind the team, which isn’t always the case in Spain. It was unbelievable when we were in the Champions League. We had some great nights of European football, both home and away we’ve had even more fantastic trips over the years.”
While large groups of drunken Englishmen are probably a common annoyance for the Spanish locals, the Guiri Army actually have a strong bond with the locals at La Rosaleda and happily occupy their own area of the stadium away from the main Spanish ultras group, the Frente Bokeron. To outsiders though, the group sometimes still falls under the typical perception of English football fans as hooligans – until people quickly realise how different they are.
“One time we were coming home from Madrid on the train and one of the lads mistakenly put the flag over a steward’s computer. It was wet and the bloke went mad before calling the police to throw us off the train. On the platform the police were waiting with riot shields etc. – I think they were expecting Millwall or something and got the shock of their lives when they took us off and found out we were just a load of middle-aged blokes who had been drinking since 7.30am! They even showed us where the bar was before we bought tickets for the next train back to Málaga.
The Málaga fans love the fact we all support Malaga and I think they’re quite proud that we’re probably the biggest contingent of British ex-pats in Europe who go to watch their local club. We get on really well with them, although we don’t really associate with the ultras as we congregate in one corner of the ground, whilst they are behind the goal. Despite this, we are members of the Malaka Hinchas supporters club (I’m not quite sure why they spell it with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘g’. Mind you, I know what it means in Greek!) By and large we do get on with the ultras, especially now they are behind the goal at our end of the ground, and we know a few of them.”
While recent times for Málaga have been tough both on and off the pitch, with the club spending the last year playing in Spain’s Segunda Division following their relegation from La Liga and familiar financial troubles looming once again, you’d think it’d be all be doom and gloom amongst the Málaga fans, but think again – for the Guri Army this season has been one big holiday, with their support showing no sign of fading, no matter how much the team struggles.
“The current situation doesn’t look too good as I think the only way Málaga will go up this season is via the play-offs. There is also an ongoing court case with the owner Sheikh Al-Thani and Blue Bay Resorts, who claim he promised to sell them shares in the club which would have meant them becoming the new owners, but the mood amongst us that we are not overly bothered if they don’t go up as they’d more than likely come straight back down, as the Sheikh has not put any money in now for over six years.
We kind of like it in this division at the moment as we have a number of relatively near fixtures we get a bus to: Córdoba, Almería, Cádiz and Granada. And this year I’ve been to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, Mallorca and Tenerife, so we get a holiday for a few days at a time! In fact, when we went to Tenerife at the end of January there was 76 of us, including some who came over from the UK, so that was a bit chaotic.“
Dave has also written a book dedicated to the turbulent history of Málaga (available in both English and Spanish) which is well worth a read if you’re interested in learning more about the club. Check it out on Amazon here.
Because in the words of Liam Gallagher: “All I need are cigarettesfootball kits and alcohol.”
Football and alcohol have always seemed to go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s necking warm cans on a train to Burnley at seven in the morning on an away day, drowning your sorrows down the local after your 5-a-side team’s been whacked 10-0 (again) or that feeling of regret after launching your £4.50 pint everywhere ‘cos Kieran Trippier’s just put it top bins in a World Cup semi final, football and alcohol never seem to be far apart.
It’s hardly surprising then that back in the day, alcohol sponsors on football kits were a pretty common phenomenon (before people seemed to realise it was a bad idea). So since beer and retro football shirts is pretty much all we consume at Panenka Headquarters™, we decided to take a look at some of the best alcohol-sponsored efforts out there and put together our favourites. Crack open a cold one and enjoy!
CARLSBERG – LIVERPOOL
Probably one of the first kits that comes to mind when thinking of alcohol sponsors is Liverpool’s deal with Carlsberg, which ran from 1992-2010. During this time the Danish lager manufacturers’ logo become almost as synonymous with the red of Liverpool as Steven Gerrard himself. Him lifting the Champions League in ’05 is probably still the best lager advert of all time.
Don’t get us wrong though, Carlsberg does still taste of piss – but for those Liverpool fans it will always taste like European glory. Poetry.
CELTIC – TENNENT’S LAGER
Celtic. Tennent’s Lager. Scotland’s two heavyweights when it comes to fitbaw and beer. When they collaborated in 2010 it was always going to be good. As someone who’s drunk Tennent’s Lager at 6AM in a field somewhere in Perthshire, it brings back great (if blurry) memories. Plus this lovely black-and-grey away effort, modelled by Gio Samaras, from the 12/13 season is a pure winner.
Going to confidently call this the most Scottish football shirt ever produced — until Buckfast decide to sponsor the next Partick Thistle kit.
EINTRACHT BRAUNSCHWEIG – JÄGERMESITER
The first ever example of alcohol sponsorship in football (also the the first example of shirt sponsorship in the Bundesliga) was Jägermeister’s deal with Eintracht Braunschweig back in the 1970s. The German drinks giant paid 100,000 DM (€50,000) to display their striking logo on Eintracht’s kits – as seen in this lovely picture of two players holding some antlers.
The company also wanted the team to rename themselves Eintracht Jägermeister but sadly Braunschweig refused, which is a shame because it would have sounded cool as fuck.
NEWCASTLE UNITED – NEWCASTLE BROWN ALE
Ahh, we just couldn’t do a list of alcohol shirt sponsors and not mention those gorgeous kits Newcastle wore in the 1990s. Thanks to Adidas, the Magpies had some beautiful shirts throughout the decade – not least, this spectacular purple and pink away effort from the 1996 season.
The Newcastle Brown Ale sponsor pulls the whole shirt together perfectly, plus it looks like it could be the badge of a hipster team from the French 7th division, which is an added bonus. Ho’way man.
CD LUGO – ESTRELLA GALICIA
Last but certainly not least are Club Deportivo Lugo, a second tier Spanish side who took things one step further by designing a whole kit to look like a pint of lager. That’s right. The side’s home shirt for the 13/14 season not only featured the logo of local brewery Estrella Galicia, but was complete with bubbles and a smooth head to complete the bizarre but brilliant effect.
I would have loved to see the opposition fans reaction to a 6ft pint of lager scoring past their team – and as if there was any doubt this team weren’t sober when they designed their kits, the away effort from the same year featured a giant octopus tentacle. Way to go Lugo, you mad bastards!
Football is a soap opera. It’s got drama, excitement, heroes… and villains. And no-one plays the bad guy quite like Sergio Ramos.
Adored by fans at the Bernabeu and despised just about everywhere else, Ramos is the pantomime villain that football fans love to hate. Wiling to stop at nothing to win and well practiced in the Dark Arts, Ramos is the type of guy who would two-foot his nan if it mean winning the Champions League. Just mention his name near a Liverpool fan, and you’re likely to hear the sound of piss boiling.
It’s got to point where Ramos is that much of a bastard, there’s not much you can do but sit back and admire evil at work. After all, who doesn’t love a good anti hero? Tony Soprano, Michael Corleone, Walter White and now Sergio Ramos. With that in mind, here’s six times Ramos proved his reputation as football’s biggest arsehole:
WHEN HE TRIED TO SNAP MESSI’S LEG OFF
As someone who makes a living out of scything people down, Ramos is unsurprisingly no stranger to red cards (he’s got the most in La Liga history), and El Classico is no exception. The games against rivals Barca tend to be a feisty affair and have seen Ramos chalk up an impressive five sendings off.
The best of the bunch is probably the straight red Ramos received for this two-footed lunge on Lionel Messi, would would have taken the Argentinian’s leg clean off (had he not jumped out of the way first.) It’s a horrible challenge but to be fair to Ramos, that’s probably the only way to stop Lionel scoring.
WHEN HE REARRANGED A VICTORIA PLZEN PLAYER’S FACE
While Messi might have escaped the wrath of Ramos (that time at least), one Victoria Plzen player wasn’t quite so lucky. When the Czech side met Real in the group stage of the Champions League, Milan Havel was unfortunate enough to find his face on the end of a sly elbow from Ramos just ten minutes in.
I don’t know what’s worse, Havel being crumpled on the ground in a pool of his own blood or the fact that Ramos clearly wasn’t arsed in the slightest. What a bastard. (Warning – the video’s pretty grim, so if you’re squeamish maybe skip this one.)
HIS VERY DELIBERATE BOOKING AGAINST AJAX
Nothing says cynical like a deliberate yellow card, which is what Ramos decided to pick up during Real’s tie against Ajax back in February. With the first leg wrapped up 2-1 and a suspension hanging over Ramos’ head, the defender hacked down Kasper Dolberg in front of the ref late on ensuring he collected a yellow card.
The booking meant Ramos sat out the return leg at the Bernabeu – meaning he’d be suspension-free and able to hack people down again in the later rounds. For once however Ramos’ actions came back to bite him in the arse, with Ajax, inspired by Dusan Tadic, battering the hosts 4-1 and dumping Madrid (and Ramos) out of the competition.
WHEN HE GOT CUADRADO SENT OFF IN THE CL FINAL
When it comes to shithousing, Ramos has tended to save his very best for Champions League finals. Rewind to 2017, when in a seemingly innocuous exchange Juventus’ Juan Cuadrado ever-so-slightly brushed Ramos’ ankle on his way to collect the ball for a throw in. Big mistake.
Naturally, Ramos decided to throw himself on the ground, roll about a bit and hold his foot in fake agony. It would have been hilarious, had the linesman two inches away not somehow fallen for it and told the ref to send Cuardrado off. Juventus were reduced to 10 men and Real went on to win 4-1.
AND THEN INJURED MOHAMMED SALAH THE YEAR AFTER
It was in last year’s Champions League final that Ramos really established himself as the most hated bloke in football (look away now Liverpool fans). His victim was Mo Salah, Liverpool’s prolific Egyptian striker, who had pretty much single-handedly fired the reds into the final with his 10 goals scored in the competition.
With Salah on-fire, Liverpool came into the match with their eyes firmly on the trophy. But as always, Ramos had other ideas. An innocent tussle for the ball turned WWE takedown later and Liverpool’s talisman was limping off the pitch in tears. The rest is history, two mistakes from a concussed Lorius Karius (also thanks to you-know-who) later and Real had a 3-1 win.
AND RUBBED SALT IN THE WOUND AT UEFA’S AWARD CEREMONY A FEW MONTHS LATER
If you thought injuring Salah in the biggest game of his career and snatching away Liverpool’s chance of a historic Champions League trophy would be enough for Ramos, then you’d be wrong. (Credit for this one also has to go partly to whichever genius at UEFA comes up with the seating plans for major award ceremonies.)
It was at a swanky UEFA awards do that Ramos decided to make his best attempt to replace Maggie Thatcher as the most hated person in Merseyside. Lurking behind Salah all night like some sort of demon in a three-piece suit, Ramos’ smugness was there for all to see as he collected his award, giving Salah an infamous brush on the shoulder as he returned to his seat.
As Tony Montana once said: “This is the last time you ever gonna see a bad guy like me.” Never change, Sergio. You horrible man.
The 90s was mad. New Labour. Britpop. Sex in the City. The internet. Gazza. ‘Cool Britannia’ was in full swing. And for some reason, barmy goalkeeper tops were everywhere. We sifted through the most out-there efforts from the decade and put together our favourites for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Any self-respecting compilation of mad 90s goalkeeper kits wouldn’t be complete without a mention for Jorge Campos, arguably the man who was responsible for the trend in the first place. The Mexican’s bizarre getup at the 1994 World Cup helped him take the crown of ‘craziest keeper’ from Rene Higuita (the latter was in prison for kidnapping at the time, but that’s another story.)
Unusually short for a goalkeeper at just 5’6″, Campos made up for his lack of stature with his eccentric style of play and barmy self-designed kits. This fruit salad-inspired 1994 effort is probably the craziest of the lot and earns it’s place in our top five.
From shirts decked out with orange liver-birds to ones covered in purple and grey rectangles, it’s fair to say David James wore some pretty interesting attire during his stint as No. 1 at Anfield. We can’t tell if this leopard print, triangle-y number dreamt up by Adidas for the 1995/96 season is a work of art or a pure disaster, but we like it either way.
PS – There’s a really nice purple version of it knocking around but we couldn’t find a decent picture of Dave wearing it, so enjoy this one instead.
MANCHESTER UNITED 1995/97
Not even Peter Schmeichel was immune from wearing bonkers kits in the 90s. United’s Danish shot-stopper wore everything from tessellating yellow and blue diamonds to space invader-themed triangles and even psychedelic green spirals during his trophy-laden decade at Old Trafford.
This pink and purple striped effort, complete with black sleeves and diamond accents, is one of Umbro’s classier efforts from the time, all the while still being zany enough to make it onto our list. Well played lads.
When people associate things with David Seaman, this kit is probably up there with horrible moustaches and that time he got lobbed by Ronaldinho. Worn for the 1996 Euros, the odd-looking rainbow number is one of the defining memories from the tournament when ‘football almost came home’.
Others include Gazza’s wonder-goal against the Scots, ‘Psycho’ Stuart Pearce fist-pumping against Spain and of course the penalty shoot-out heartbreak against the Germans where Seaman’s kit didn’t help him save a single one.
Nowadays, if someone suggested putting the Newcastle skyline (complete with Tyne bridge) on the front of a Premier League football kit, they’d be laughed straight out of their production meeting. But in 1994, that’s exactly what Adidas did, and in the process spawned one the Magpies’ most iconic ever shirts.
Looking at the shirt, it’s got everything. The black silhouetted skyline, the sunset-inspired colours and that perfect Newcastle Brown Ale sponsor rounding it all off in the middle. What more can we say? Top marks.