The Tuesday 10: Controversial celebrations

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If it’s Tuesday, it must be time for a 10. This week,’s Dan Ross brings you the 10 most controversial goal celebrations...

It’s safe to say Emmanuel Adebayor’s antagonistic antics against his former club shocked everyone in football. Almost unbelievably, the injury-prone Togolese sprinted the entirety of the pitch without one of his newspaper legs crumpling.

What was far from surprising was the controversial nature of the celebration. Adebayor has some work to do if he wants to beat the best.

1. Edmilson Ferreira
What would the Tuesday 10 be, if heading the list wasn’t somebody international doing something insane? Brazilians still chuckle or choke at the mention of Atletico Mineiro striker Edmilson Ferreira’s celebration after scoring against local rivals America-Belo Horizonte.

Now, America-Belo Horizonte are nicknamed the Rabbits. Standing before their fans, Ferreia’s delight was obvious not only on his face, but also in an ominous bulge in his shorts. But far from being “pleased to see” them, he pulled a carrot from his shorts and munched in front of the incensed fans.

His actions led to a raft of cynical fouls and a gobful of Frank Rijkaard-style hatred from the opposition, and crowd trouble for this game and many after.

2. Paul Gascoigne
Who else? Responsible for two of the most notorious goal celebrations in English football, ‘Gazza’ was as controversial as he was popular. A master at defying subtlety, the cheeky Geordie revelled in the controversial post-goal spectacle – a reputation cemented after the infamous ‘dentist’s chair’ of Euro ’96. 

After scoring that goal against Scotland, Gazza lay flat on the turf as his England teammates squirted water into his mouth, recreating a binge-drinking session that was enjoyed on a pre-tournament trip to Hong Kong.

Gazza does the dentist's chair – watch it HERE

But while that was mildly unpopular in Scotland, it was nothing compared to Gazza's most controversial celebration.

Failing to learn from his mistakes, the mischief-maker danced across the borderline of common sense in Glasgow in 1998, antagonising the Celtic fans as he mimed playing a Loyalist flute in the Old Firm derby. He learned the consequences of his actions the hard way, feeling sectarian wrath in the form of IRA death threats.

3. Gary Neville
If the Adebayor incident set your Spidey Sense tingling, and the feeling of déjà-vu has nagged ever since, relax. Before the days of Brazilian ninja twin full-backs, local blokes twice their age ran the defensive channels.

One of them, Gary Neville, was Manchester United through and through. And through. On one occasion in 2006, unconvinced that the footballing world (Liverpool fans) knew just how ‘United’ he was, he proceeded to show everyone (the Liverpool fans) the only way he knew how.

When, facing Liverpool, United scored a 90th-minute winner at Old Trafford – difficult to imagine, but bear with us – G-Nev saw  his ideal opportunity to antagonise the visiting supporters, who had spent all game barracking the arch-Red.
Off Neville set, albeit much slower than the Premier League’s current villain, from the half-way line towards the Liverpool section of the stadium, cheering and grabbing the Red Devils’ badge.

Rather than tut or accept it as part (and of course parcel) of the game, the spume-flecked Liverpool fans mistook this simple demonstration of love for an act of provocation.

The FA fined and banned Neville (as they later did Adebayor) and the police later blamed him for post-match disturbances. Because without G-Nev, the fans would have left the ground with arms linked in harmony.

Red Nev goes Red-faced – watch it HERE

4. Mario Gomez
At the business end of last season, Mario Gomez hadn’t a care in the world. He’d had his highest-scoring season in the red-and-white of Stuttgart, and was preparing for a lucrative move to Bayern in the forthcoming World Cup season. In a cliché, he was on cloud 9.

Or at least that’s the story he’s sticking to. In March this year, Gomez scored the winning goal against Dortmund and proceeded to open and drink from an imaginary can before flapping his arms like wings.

German newspaper Bild moved quickly to illuminate those without TV sets about the energy beverage thusly advertised, before revealing the secret agreement Gomez had with that particular manufacturer. Despite FIFA strictly banning advertising by (but, somewhat hypocritically, not on) players.

Keen to avoid any punishment, Gomez’s advisor Uli Ferber entertainingly refuted the accusations. “I was surprised when Mario did that celebration. It was certainly not a statement of Red Bull, but a spontaneous decision. He told me afterwards that he felt like he had wings.”

And they bought it. In an entirely unrelated agreement, Gomez now features on the drink company’s website flouting the neon liquid to Germany’s football community. Perhaps a move to Salzburg would have been more fitting?

5. Robbie Fowler
From one embarrassingly-defended fizzy-drink fan to another. After scoring against rivals Everton in 1999, Robbie Fowler picked a sensational way to respond to fans who had insulted him with false accusations of ‘coke’ abuse. He got down on all fours and mimed snorting his way along the touchline.

Gerard Houllier tried to defend his star striker, offering the amusingly transparent explanation that Rigobert Song had taught his teammate an African grass-eating celebration.

Fowler heaped more embarrassment on Houllier by helpfully explaining the obvious reasoning for the celebration to the media, and was immediately fined £60,000 by the club.

Fowler does the white line - watch it HERE

6. Graeme Souness
Souness’s response to his detractors after the 1996 Turkish Cup Final contains every perceivable aspect of a controversial celebration: one of the biggest stages in the country, a battle between two fierce rivals, and a ludicrously provocative statement.

Ever the expert at tact and diplomacy, Graeme Souness decided to celebrate his Galatasaray side’s 2-1 aggregate victory over bitter adversaries Fenerbahce in the most humble and discreet manner possible.

Charging into the middle of a pitch featuring more smoke than Dot Cotton’s living room, the master of the moustache planted the world’s biggest red-and-yellow Galatasaray flag slap bang in the centre circle. Of Fenerbahce’s pitch.

Though the trophy was secured, Souness left the club not long after, and is unlikely to be invited back to Istanbul any time soon…

Souey's side mission – watch it HERE

7. Craig Bellamy
Ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League tie against Barcelona in 2007, rumours were rife that Bellamy had attacked teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club during a squad “bonding trip”. Tabloids fell over themselves to create the wittiest nickname, with most fans favouring “the nutter with the putter”.

Whatever the truth, the worst pain was suffered by William Hill. The bookies lost more than £50,000 as Liverpool beat the European Cup holders with goals from the victim and his attacker, the latter defying the 100/1 odds by celebrating with a golf swing.

Bellers has a swing – watch it HERE

8. Carlos Tevez
While many of the over-zealous celebrations on this list received the yellow card they warranted, only Carlito’s way earned the ultimate punishment.

Tevez understood what Al Pacino meant by ‘crossing the line’ when he removed his shirt and imitated a chicken after scoring against arch-rivals River Plate in a Libertadores Cup match in June 2004.

River’s detractors take great delight in dubbing them the ‘chickens’ after they lost the 1966 final to Uruguay’s Penarol, but unfortunately there were no Boca fans in the ground to share Tevez’s amusement. The referee certainly didn’t and showed a straight red, meaning Carlito missed out on the first leg of the final.

Carlito gets chicken - watch it HERE

9. Ahn Jung Hwan
And now, over to our International Diplomacy correspondent, Ahn Jung Hwan.

After bagging the equaliser against the United States during the 2002 World Cup finals, the South Korean forward imitated a speed skater, referencing a controversial Winter Olympics incident.

The celebration was a protest against the disqualification (which many Koreans believed biased) of compatriot Kim Dong-Sung, allowing American Apolo Anton Ohno to win the gold medal.

Ahn’s actions also ensured that the talented forward was on everybody’s lips even before knocking out the Italians to reach the quarter-finals – and consequently finding his Perugia contract rescinded.

What's going Ahn – watch it HERE

10. Gennaro Gattuso
Small, hairy, goes in hard… Gennaro Gattuso got very excited at the 2006 World Cup. Rino produced some typically tireless tenacity throughout the campaign, but succeeded mainly in achieving notoriety for his post-victory celebrations.

This involved the 28-year-old midfielder doing things in a typically Italian manner: instead of removing his shirt (as most are content with doing,) he removed his shorts and ran around the pitch until the officials, obviously petrified of the fallout, forced him to cover up.

Rino says "I know..." – watch a tribute HERE

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