9 naughty gestures that got their subjects in big trouble
6. Fowler sniffs trouble
Against the backdrop of pre-match rumours about drug abuse, Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler celebrated scoring a penalty against Everton in 1999 by getting down on all fours and sniffing the white line of the six-yard box. Reds boss Gerard Houllier was the only one who appeared to think it was perfectly normal behaviour.
"He was pretending to be a cow eating the grass," the Frenchman declared, insisting it was a normal Cameroonian celebration taught to Fowler by team-mate Rigobert Song. Unsurprisingly, this line of defence didn't prevent a four-match ban.
7. "Theo, Theo, what's the score?"
Theo Walcott isn't the wind-up merchant type, but north London derbies can make even the most placid of characters tribal. After the Gunners went 2-0 up in a third-round FA Cup tie at the Emirates in 2014, the Arsenal forward was taken off with a knee injury. While lying on the stretcher, he was apparently pelted with coins by the travelling contingent of Spurs supporters.
Walcott was well enough to sit up and gently remind the away end of the scoreline with two digits. Arsene Wenger suggested it was a “non-offensive” gesture and the FA didn't punish the player, although they did remind Walcott of his “responsibilities over a scoreline gesture”. Worst of all, the England international was ruled out of the upcoming World Cup after the injury was diagnosed as a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
8. Ronaldo imitates Messi... then gets banned
Lionel Messi celebrated his last-gasp winner in April's 3-2 Clasico triumph by holding up his shirt at a seething Santiago Bernabeu. Such in-your-face hubris clearly irked his great rival, who mimicked the Argentine four months later after scoring a stunner at Camp Nou.
Cristiano Ronaldo was booked for removing his shirt, but the biggest drama was yet to come: a few minutes later, he was shown a second yellow for a perceived dive. A disbelieving Ronaldo pushed the referee in the back as he trudged off; unsurprisingly, the authorities took a dim view and banned him for five games.
9. Wojciech does the W-sign
Wojciech Szczesny was sent off in Arsenal's Champions League loss to Bayern Munich in February 2014 after taking down Arjen Robben in the box. As the Pole left the field, he made an obscene gesture which could be best construed as 'the W-sign' (clue: rhymes with former Germany star Carsten Jancker).
Arsenal boss Wenger said the matter would be dealt with internally, although he did concede: "Yes, (the gesture) was frustration, but we are professionals, me included, and we have always to master reactions."
Now read these...