After the extraordinary and unexpected sight of Genarro Gattuso head-butting ‘old enough to be his father’ 59-year-old Spurs Assistant Coach, Joe Jordan last week, it’s time to delve into the archive and have a look at some more notorious moments of players losing and using their heads.
From little Ariel Ortega to, bizarrely, German coach Norbert Meier, it seems that no matter who the protagonists, when it comes to football confrontations, a head-to-head battle is often just a square-up away. So here is our Top 5 Famous Football Headbutts.
The Worst Ever?
Zidane vs. Materazzi
The most famous butt of them all (except perhaps Kim Kardashian’s). As the 2006 World Cup Final entered extra time, that old master of wind-ups, Marco Materazzi was giving the French maestro an earful of not-so-pleasantries. ‘Zizou’ was not entirely impressed with Materazzi’s trash-talk and so decided to let him know by slamming him in the chest with his baldy head.
Cue Italy winning the World Cup and Zidane retiring in disgrace – quite a departure from 4 years earlier, when the French legend scored 2 goals in his country’s maiden World Cup victory against Brazil. CLIP.
Ortega vs. Van der Sar
While the violence is unacceptable, you can’t help but appreciate Ortega’s innovation in head-butting Van de Sar’s chin during Argentina’s loss to the Netherlands in the 1998 World Cup quarter-final. The 5’7″ ‘Little Donkey’ was giving up a whole foot to the giant Dutch goal-keeper when he decided to take him on in a David vs. Super Goliath situation.
After diving to try and win a penalty, Van der Sar began remonstrating with the little Argentinian, who proceeded to launch himself up from the turf, directly into the Dutch keeper’s chin. Already about to get a yellow for diving, he got a straight red for violent conduct; oh, and Dennis Bergkamp went on to score the winner not long afterwards – all in all not the best game of Ortega’s career. CLIP.
Gattuso vs. Jordan
Tuesday’s game between AC Milan and Spurs produced some extraordinary scenes, and not just on the pitch. Famously belligerent battler Genarro Gattuso, like most of his team-mates, had a poor game, and he couldn’t stop his febrile frustration boiling over.
Unbelievably, the focus of the Growler’s anger was 59-year-old Joe Jordan, Harry Redknapp’s No.2. Gattuso first pushed Jordan away by the throat, a sending-off offence in itself, during the game; he then approached Jordan after the final whistle and, no doubt recalling his time in Scotland, gave ‘Jaws’ a Glasgow kiss. Graeme Souness didn’t fancy the Italian’s chances had Jordan reacted however,
“I just wish now he could have 10 minutes in a room alone with Joe Jordan. Actually, it wouldn’t take that long, make it five minutes.”
Meier vs. Streit
The most comedic headbutt (if there can be such a thing) on this list, Norbert Meier’s hilarious head-butt/falling-over double act richly deserves its place in the top 5. Meier, at the time the MSV Duisberg boss, was having strong words up-close with FC Koln’s Albert Streit, when the two leaned towards each other. Meier then made the headbutt and immediately collapsed, feigning injury.
Streit, takes a moment to comprehend quite what has happened, sees Meier falling down and decides he must join him in his collapse, so as to avoid blame for the ridiculous incident. Meier was fooling nobody however, and was banned from management for 3 months as a result – nice try Norbert. CLIP.
Eto’o vs. Cesar
Samuel Eto’o is a fantastic goal-scorer and a great player who many people idolise, and it seems from the following clip that the African hitman has his own football idol – Zinedine Zidane. Unfortunately, the way in which he chose to imitate the Frenchman was with a headbutt to the chest of Bostjan Cesar, the Chievo defender.
A carbon copy of Zidane’s head-based antics, Eto’o avoided punishment at the time as the ref did an Arsene Wenger and missed the incident. Unfortunately for the Cameroonian, he was collared with video evidence after the game and received a three match ban. It was a case of ‘Eto’o Brutal’ for Cesar.CLIP.
So there we have the top 5, but who’s missing? Duncan ‘Disorderly’ Ferguson? Cristiano Ronaldo? Let me know in the comments below.
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