Rami’s dirty dancing results in foot fault
When Valencia let blister-blighted Adil Rami travel to an April fundraiser at former club Lille, they might have expected the French centre-back to put his feet up. Instead, the 27-year-old leapt on stage to dance to Gangnam Style, infecting his wound and missing the next three games. “What an idiot,” trilled one disgruntled Che fan, accurately.
One in the eye for Jari
Fitness concerns, heart complications and Ricardo Batista missiles “struck from four yards away” – Jari Litmanen’s six months at Fulham in 2008 yielded zero appearances.
“When I first went to the Finnish FA,” recalled then-Cottagers boss Roy Hodgson, explaining the Finn’s bad luck, “he was standing next to Malmo’s sporting director, who opened a can of Coke and the top popped into Jari’s eye.”
Richard makes a Wright idiot of himself
It’s the 2006 FA Cup fourth-round replay between Everton and Chelsea, and Toffees keeper Richard Wright walks serenely onto the Stamford Bridge pitch to warm up. Ignoring a sign telling him not to practise in the goalmouth, the hapless stopper promptly falls over said notice and twists his ankle.
Three years earlier, Wright had damaged his shoulder falling through his loft. His middle name is not, in fact, Clouseau.
“But I had toothache – why would I put it up there?”
Brazilian midfielder Ramalho had a hurty fang, so he went to the dentist and swallowed the pill he was given. Unfortunately the tablet was a suppository and he spent the next three days in bed. For all the good it did him, he may as well have shoved it up his arse.
“Please keep an eye on your documents…”
Endless queuing, third-world toilets and strip searches at the hands of square-headed hangovers from the Cold War – airports can be stressful places. But quite what persuaded Croatian striker Milan Rapaic to poke himself in the eye with his boarding pass in July 1995 was anyone’s guess… until he missed an arduous three weeks of pre-season. Cleverly done.
Romero’s slippery customer
Clearly, airports are dangerous places. As Deportivo La Coruna landed in Pamplona for a 2003 game with Osasuna, a 15cm viper formed part of the unofficial welcome party. As full-back Enrique Romero went in for a closer look, the tiny snake bit the Spaniard’s left finger and his whole arm was soon engulfed in a rash.
Antihistamines didn’t work and Romero spent the night in hospital, rejoining the squad at the airport 24 hours later for the 430-mile journey home. They’d lost 3-2.
Dog’s life being a Bees keeper
“Oh good tackle, good tackle,” chuckled the commentator as an errant pooch thudded into Brentford keeper Chic Brodie in November 1970’s Fourth Division match at Layer Road.
But it was no laughing matter for Brodie. The Scot’s left kneecap was shattered and he never played a professional game again, retiring to become a taxi driver. “The dog might have been small,” said the victim, “but it happened to be solid.”
Leroy’s luckless lie-in
We’ve all struggled to get up in the morning, but in August 2007, Leroy Lita just couldn’t get out of the sack. Literally. Indulging in a good old morning stretch, the striker trapped a nerve in his leg and missed the opening three games of the season.
“It’s not an injury that should be ridiculed,” grizzled Reading boss Steve Coppell. “Leroy’s in a great deal of pain. He could hardly walk yesterday.” Still funny, though.
Balls deep in trouble
When bumping uglies with the missus, always ensure there are no hot liquids around. Just ask Argentinos Juniors forward Emilio Hernandez, who, mid-coitus in February 2011, knocked a cup of boiling water onto his testicles (seriously, how?).
Two weeks later the Chilean returned to action, still sporting a John Wayne waddle.
Player and team both on the slide
Two months without victory, Real Betis's need for a win bordered on the febrile against fellow strugglers Numancia in April 2008. So when talismanic forward Sergio Garcia netted inside 10 minutes, things looked good – until he attempted a knee-slide celebration, got stuck in the ground and strained his ligaments.
Betis lost four of the subsequent six games that the ponytailed hitman missed and went down on goal difference. Oops?
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Andrew Murray is a freelance journalist, who regularly contributes to both the FourFourTwo magazine and website. Formerly a senior staff writer at FFT and a fluent Spanish speaker, he has interviewed major names such as Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero and Xavi. He was also named PPA New Consumer Journalist of the Year 2015.