Chris Smalling would have been wise to find a corner of Manchester United’s changing room and hide in it on Sunday afternoon.
Manager Louis van Gaal described the defender as “stupid” as he picked up two yellow cards in the first half of the Manchester derby, which United went on to lose 1-0 to Manchester City.
Smalling can rest assured that he isn’t the only player to have had a momentary bouts of madness though, and as our five examples show, he’s got a couple of high-profile teammates who’ve done the same.
Robin van Persie for Arsenal against Stoke
Somewhat offended by the sight of Thomas Sorensen picking up Andy Wilkinson’s elegant chest back to him (when he probably should have just been surprised), Robin van Persie decides that the only course of action is barge into the goalkeeper and send him to the turf, thereby removing any hope that Arsenal had of coming back from 2-0 down at Stoke.
You’ll never be a Gunners hero behaving like that, Robin…
Wayne Rooney for England against Portugal
It’s the World Cup quarter-final, your nation is relying on you and the score is 0-0 after an hour. What do you do?
Well if you’re Wayne Rooney, you decide to wipe your feet all over Ricardo Carvalho’s unmentionables and get sent off. It made sense to him, anyway.
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John Terry for Chelsea against Barcelona
Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League win was a remarkable achievement, and it was made even more remarkable by their performance at the Nou Camp after ‘Captain Leader Legend’ John Terry was sent off with the aggregate scores locked at 1-1.
For reasons known only to himself, Terry decided that a knee in the back of Alexis Sanchez was what was called for at this particular point in the tie, and it turns out he was right. Chelsea won 3-2 on aggregate and eventually won the trophy without their suspended, but still very much kitted-out skipper.
David Beckham for England against Argentina
‘Ten Heroic Lions, One Stupid Boy’ said the Daily Mirror after David Beckham’s red card contributed to England exiting the 1998 World Cup to Argentina in Saint-Etienne.
Beckham’s petulant flick sent Diego Simeone to the ground and set millions of English men and women against him, meaning that it was going to be a long road back for him if he was to earn their acceptance again…
Mario Balotelli for Manchester City against Arsenal
Ah hello Mario, we’ve been expecting you!
Back when Manchester City’s ultimately successful 2011/12 Premier League campaign looked to be over, Balotelli decided to launch into this challenge on Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna when he was already on a yellow card. The inevitable ensued.
After the match City boss Roberto Mancini said that he’d “probably” sell his fellow Italian that summer, but before that Balotelli managed to set up Sergio Aguero for the strike which won City the league on the final day of the season.
See, he knows what he’s doing really.
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