Eric Cantona kicks fan during Crystal Palace v Man United match
Twenty years ago, it was one of the most extraordinary moments ever seen on a pitch. Cantona took exception to some choice words by a Crystal Palace fan after he had been sent off for kicking Richard Shaw. The French playmaker could have let it go, but instead decided to launch a kung-fu kick at Matthew Simmons for his expletive-ridden rant. Cantona originally got a two-week jail sentence but upon appeal it was reduced to 120 hours of community service.
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Luis Suarez bites Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup
Perhaps we should not have been surprised. Uruguay striker Suarez had form, having already served lengthy bans for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal while at Ajax and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic while playing for Liverpool. But even so, the sight of him plunging his teeth into the shoulder of Italy's Chiellini while playing for his country on the world's biggest stage was one of those moments that nobody watching will ever forget. The footballing world was outraged, and Suarez's claim that it was accidental hardly helped. He eventually apologized, but only after being hit with a four-month ban from all football, and at the behest of Barcelona, who were in the process of signing him from Liverpool.
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Zinedine Zidane head-butts Marco Materazzi at the 2006 World Cup final
The 2006 World Cup final gave one of the game's greatest players, Zidane, the opportunity to write a storybook ending to his career by guiding France to its second world title. Instead, he ended the evening in disgrace after launching a stunning headbutt into the chest of Italy midfielder Materazzi, which lifted the Italian off his feet. It was later claimed that Materazzi had insulted Zidane's sister to provoke the attack, but whatever the explanation, the final image of Zidane was of him trudging off the pitch and into retirement -- so much so that the head-butt was commemorated in a statue by Algerian-born French artist Adel Abdessemed.
AFP/Getty ImagesPETER SCHOLS
Paolo Di Canio pushes referee Paul Alcock
Long before his apparently short-lived managerial career and controversy over his reported political views, Di Canio had a habit of attracting the spotlight on the pitch. Sometimes it was for moments of stunning skill (see his volley against Wimbledon for West Ham in 2000), or amazing gestures (like the time he passed up a clear scoring opportunity because he saw Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was injured), but the most famous will always be his shove on referee Alcock during Sheffield Wednesday's league match against Arsenal. Alcock had just dismissed the Italian for his role in a mass brawl, and Di Canio reacted by shoving the official. Perhaps if Alcock's stumble and fall had not been so comical, seemingly occurring in slow motion, the incident would not be so well remembered, but either way Di Canio was banned for 11 matches.
Action Images / ReutersIan Waldie
Newcastle teammates Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer fight during Premier League match
The sight of teammates fighting is hardly unprecedented, and we had even see two England internationals go at it before when Graeme Le Saux and Gareth Batty fought while playing for Blackburn Rovers against Spartak Moscow in 1995. But the fight between Bowyer and Dyer during Newcastle's 3-0 home defeat to Aston Villa is the most memorable. The midfielders squared up off the ball and it took several moments for the other players and officials to realize what was going on. By the time they were separated, Bowyer had landed a punch or two and was hauled away by another England colleague, Gareth Barry, still raging and with his shirt split down the front. He and Dyer were sent off, leaving Newcastle with only eight men after the earlier dismissal of Stephen Taylor.
Getty ImagesLaurence Griffiths
Frank Rijkaard spits at Rudi Voller at the 1990 World Cup
Anything that happens at the World Cup comes with an extra "shock" factor with the eyes of the world watching. But the squabble between Rijkaard and Voller when the Netherlands faced West Germany in 1990 was just bizarre. It started when Rijkaard fouled Voller and, having been booked, spat in the German's hair as he waited for the free-kick -- unseen by the officials. When the ball was played in, Voller tumbled to the floor again, sparking outrage amongst the Dutch who thought he was trying to win a penalty. Rijkaard confronted him, grabbing his ear and stomping on his foot. Both men were sent off, and Rijkaard spat in Voller's hair once again as they walked off the pitch.
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Man City's Ben Thatcher elbows Portsmouth's Pedro Mendes
Thatcher's challenge on Mendes was technically an elbow, but that does not really do it justice. As the pair were racing after a loose ball, Manchester City defender Thatcher slammed his arm into the back of Mendes' head, sending the Portsmouth midfielder sprawling towards the advertising hoarding. Mendes was knocked unconscious and needed oxygen at the side of the pitch. Thatcher was only booked for the incident, but the FA ignored its own rules regarding incidents already dealt with by the referee and claimed an "exceptional case" as Thatcher was suspended for eight matches by Manchester City, adding to the 15 game suspension ban dealt by the Football Association
Getty ImagesMatthew Lewis
Roy Keane exacts revenge on Alf-Inge Haaland
Keane and Haaland had been on bad terms since 1997, when Keane injured his anterior cruciate ligament trying to challenge the Norwegian in a match between Manchester United and Leeds. Four years later, in the heat of a Manchester derby, Keane launched a horror tackle on City's midfielder, after which he was never the same player again. Keane was initially red-carded and banned for three matches, but the following year he was given an additional five-match ban and $225,120 fine after saying the tackle was deliberate in his autobiography.