Sunday 25 February 2018

Video: Seven sending offs that were more bizarre than Cesc Fabregas' red card

Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas after being sent of by referee Mike Jones as John Terry looks on
Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine
Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas after being sent of by referee Mike Jones as John Terry looks on Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine

James Cann

The fact newly-crowned Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea were soundly beaten 3-0 at West Brom on Monday night was perhaps not the biggest surprise of the evening.

Twenty-nine minutes into the match and with play paused at the Hawthorns, Cesc Fabregas inexplicably booted the ball across the penalty box and into Chris Brunt's head, earning the Spanish midfielder a red card from referee Mike Jones.

Here, we examine some of the other bizarre dismissals that have shocked football.

KIERAN GIBBS - March 2014

When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stuck out a hand to help Eden Hazard's apparent goalbound shot miss the mark he could have fully expected to see a flash of red from Andre Marriner. The card was produced, but was shown instead to his bemused team-mate Gibbs, who protested his innocence to the referee before accepting his fate and trudging off the pitch. Arsenal went on to lose the match 6-0 but avoided a further setback as both Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain were cleared of wrongdoing, while Marriner issued a sincere apology to the former player.


The feisty Argentinian midfielder had been heading off the pitch on a stretcher but ended up taking the long walk back to the changing rooms after earning his marching orders for an unusual outburst. Mascherano was undergoing medical treatment towards the end of a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with Ecuador when he took exception to a jet of water squirted onto him by one of the medics. He kicked out at the offender and was soon back on his feet and heading down the tunnel thanks to referee Enrique Caceres' intervention.

EDEN HAZARD - January 2013

If medical staff are fair game then perhaps the same rules apply to ball boys, or at least Hazard thought so during a Premier League meeting with Swansea. The Chelsea forward was frustrated by the actions of local boy Charlie Morgan, who put his whole body on the ball when Hazard tried to retrieve it, earning a kick from the player. Referee Chris Foy sent off the Belgian and he later apologised to Morgan, who in turn was not prepared to press charges.


After an illustrious playing career, French playmaker Zidane was preparing to step away from football - but not before trying to taste more World Cup glory. Les Bleus were looking good for an extra-time winner when Zidane took serious exception to some words uttered by Italy's Marco Materazzi, who quickly found himself on the receiving end of a powerful headbutt to the chest. Referee Horacio Elizondo had no other option than to dismiss the midfielder, and the lasting image of the final is of Zidane walking past the trophy before reaching the tunnel.


The Croatian defender knew he was on thin ice when he picked up a first yellow card in the 61st minute of a World Cup clash with Australia. He was relieved, therefore, when referee Graham Poll neglected to show him the red card after issuing him with a second yellow for a foul on 90 minutes. Simunic finally saw red when angrily approaching Poll after the full-time whistle, his push prompting a rarely-sighted third yellow card. The English official and his assistants were sent home from the tournament in Germany before the knockout stages began.

HAKAN UNSAL - June 2002

While the former Galatasaray and Blackburn full-back is not a household name, his claim to fame is being the fall guy in one of the most famous World Cup incidents of all time. Unsal's crime was to kick the ball at Brazilian midfielder Rivaldo during a group-stage match as he suspected him of time-wasting at a corner. The former Ballon d'Or winner was hit in the thigh but dropped to the ground clutching his face and writhing in agony - his play acting worked and Unsal was swiftly sent off, leaving Turkey a man light before they went down 2-1 in Ulsan.

JAMIE CARRAGHER -  January 2002

A peculiar incident at Highbury in Jan 2002 that taught us two things: first, when Arsenal fans throw coins, they live up to their reputation as one of the more well-heeled set of fans in the Premier League by hurling pound coins. And second, Jamie Carragher is not man to take liberties with.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport