The Rundown

Football’s 12 most gruesome challenges

The Rundown

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Callum McManaman's terrible tackle on Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara made us think of the infamous Battle of Santiago between Chile and Italy at the 1962 World Cup that BBC's David Coleman described as "the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game."

It inspired us to look back through football's archive and pick out another 'dirty dozen' gruesome tackles:

1. Roy Keane (Manchester United) v Alf-Inge Haaland (Manchester City)

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In September 1997, with Manchester United losing 1-0 to 's Leeds United at Elland Road, Keane injured his anterior cruciate ligament. As Keane lay on the ground, Leeds player Alf-Inge Haaland criticised him for an attempted foul and suggested he was feigning injury to avoid punishment. Keane was booked as he was stretchered off the field.

Three and a half years later, in April 2001, Keane went in high on Haaland's knee during a Manchester derby between United and Haaland's new club, Manchester City. Keane was fined £5,000 and received a three-match ban.

Then came the infamous passage in Keane's biography, where he admitted he wanted to "hurt" Haaland as revenge for the Norwegian's disparaging words years prior. That earned the Irishman an FA inquiry, an additional five game ban, and a whopping £150,000 fine.

2. Harald Schumacher (West Germany) v Patrick Battiston (France)

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Harald Schumacher was involved in a collision with French substitute Patrick Battiston in the semi-final of the 1982 World Cup. Battiston had just Schumacher to beat after a through ball from Michel Platini, but shot wide of the goal.

Instead of trying to defend the shot, Schumacher appeared to jump directly at Battiston, and collided with him in mid-air. Battiston was knocked unconscious, and later slipped into a coma. He also suffered damaged vertebra and lost his two front teeth.

3. Norbert Siegmann (Werder Bremen) v Ewald Lienen (Arminia Bielefeld)

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On August 14 1981, Bielefeld's Ewald Lienen suffered one of the more gruesome entries on the list, as the studs of Norbert Siegmann of Werder Bremen slit his thigh wide open, as pictured above. The wound measured a frightening 25cm in length and required 23 stitches.

In shock, and despite his open leg wound, Lienen ran after the coach of then-Bremen coach Otto Rehhagel. Why? Because he blamed Rehhagel for the incident, insisting he had incited Siegmann to "play rough". If that didn't seem insane enough, Lienen was back in full training little over a fortnight later.

4. Diego Braghieri (Arsenal Sarandi) v Ronaldinho (Atletico Mineiro)

This one's recent. Very recent. Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho, who has returned to Brazil to play for Atletico Mineiro after a successful spell in Europe, was the victim of a vile two-footed lunge from Diego Braghieri of Argentine club Arsenal Sarandi in Copa Libertadores action less than a month ago.

Like McManaman on Sunday, Braghieri was not even booked for the challenge which bent Ronaldinho's leg back. Fortunately, the former Barcelona man wasn't seriously injured and even took the resulting penalty - which he hammered onto the crossbar.

5. Richard Vanigli (Empoli) v Francesco Totti (Roma)

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In February 2006, Roma talisman Francesco Totti was carried off in the 12th minute after going down under a heavy challenge by Empoli defender Richard Vanigli in a game the Romans won 1-0.

The Italy international fractured his ankle and but was able to recover just in time to play a role in his country's World Cup-winning efforts, despite not being at his best courtesy of the lay-off.

6. Axel Witsel (Standard Liege) v Marcin Wasilewski (Anderlecht)

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Emotions often run high when Belgian rivals Standard Liege and Anderlecht play, but Axel Witsel's challenge on Poland defender Marcin Wasilewski in August 2009 was an inexcusable loss of control by the Belgium midfielder.

Wasilewski slid in for a 50-50 ball by the touchline, with Witsel - eyes closed and in a panic - launching into a flying stamp on the Anderlecht full-back's prone leg. Wasilewski suffered a double fracture of his right fibula and tibia, with his leg hanging off at a horrific angle above the ankle. Witsel was sent off, and the Belgian FA initially banned him for 11 matches, cut to eight on appeal.

Witsel was vilified, receiving death threats, and ended up leaving Belgium. Fortunately for Wasilewski, he was incredibly back playing within seven months, and continues to turn out for club and country.

7. Paul Gascoigne (Tottenham Hotspur) v Gary Charles (Nottingham Forest)

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One of the most famous bad tackles in British history, perhaps even beyond that: in the opening minutes of the 1991 FA Cup final, Tottenham's Paul Gascoigne launched a wild tackle on Nottingham Forest's Gary Charles that would leave its mark on both men.

Gazza wrecked his own cruciate ligament in his right leg and was seldom the same player, and was forced to spend Spurs' trophy celebrations and his 24th birthday in hospital.

Both victim and perpetrator ended up on a twin-track to perdition, with Gazza descending in retirement into mental illness and Charles serving two prison terms for crimes caused partly by his alcoholism.

8. Ben Thatcher (Manchester City) v Pedro Mendes (Portsmouth)

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Ben Thatcher gained notoriety on 23 August 2006 whilst challenging with Pedro Mendes for a loose ball. Thatcher callously led with his elbow, knocking Mendes into the advertising hoardings and rendering him unconscious.

Mendes required oxygen at pitchside and suffered a seizure whilst being transferred to hospital, where he spent the night. Mendes was discharged from hospital the next day, but remained under medical supervision.

Thatcher, now pegged with a permanent reputation for the incident, was shipped off to struggling Charlton Athletic at the very next transfer window.

9. Nigel De Jong (Holland) v Xabi Alonso (Spain)

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During Spain's era of dominance which has seen them collect Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 honours, it has been said that their spellbinding possession game has many opponents defeated even before kick-off.

This was never more true than when they sealed their maiden world championship in South Africa against a Holland side who abandoned their own technical prowess in a bid to rough up the favourites - leading to a terrifying challenge by Nigel de Jong.

De Jong planted his studs into Alonso's chest with a kung-fu-like kick, a challenge which referee Howard Webb did not deem worthy of a red card.

10. Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) v Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

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Any Arsenal fan who opted not to ridicule Stoke City as an 'anti-football' side before February 27, 2010 was likely convinced to join in on the meme after this incident.

Ryan Shawcross's attempted tackle broke both the tibia and fibula of Aaron Ramsey and resulted in a sending off. Shawcross wept when he saw the extent of the injury to Ramsey who had to be stretchered off and taken to hospital.

Shawcross, who was visibly distraught as he left the pitch, was defended by his team mates Danny Pugh and Rory Delap after the match.

11. Martin Taylor (Birmingham) v Eduardo da Silva (Arsenal)

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In another entry where the Gunners play the role of victims, Croatian-Brazilian striker Eduardo had his left leg splintered in 2008 by Martin Taylor in an incident which led to perhaps Arsene Wenger's angriest rant of all time.

His calls for Taylor to be banned for life and insistence that the foul was malicious, not just dangerous, led to the centre-back receiving threats on his life, according to Taylor.

12. Denis Irwin and Brian McClair (Manchester United) v David Busst (Coventry City)

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We conclude with the injury regarded as THE horrific tackle in football history.

Coventry City's David Busst found himself sandwiched by Manchester United's Denis Irwin and Brian McClair as the Red Devils defended a set piece. The impact caused numerous severe compound fractures to the tibia and fibula of his right leg, resulting in mass bloodshed which took 12 minutes to clear off the pitch and caused a queasy Peter Schmeichel to add vomit to the cleaner's workload.

Busst never played again, retiring aged just 29. But after 26 (TWENTY-SIX!) operations, he thankfully avoided the very real risk of amputation.

In a more pleasant twist, a testimonial was held for him at the end of the 96-97 season, against Manchester United, which saw Eric Cantona don the red shirt one final time and the likes of Gascoigne and Les Ferdinand line up for the Sky Blues.

Where do you think Callum McManaman's lunge on Massadio Haidara ranks amongst these all-time horror challenges? Which for you is the worst of them all? Have we left any particularly-gruesome cases of glorified assault off the list? Let us know in the comments section below...

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