Home / Champions League / Studs Up, Sportsmanship Down: A Week of Terrible Tackles


One subject that has dominated football news, the blogosphere, and the weekly rags has been the shower of horrendous tackles falling on some the world’s best players. Some of these challenges were fair ones gone wrong, like Broadfoot’s one on Valencia. There was no malice in it, just bad luck, and we here at soccerprose hope he makes a quick recovery. However, the tackle by Tomas Ujfalusi on Messi was an absolute howler. He came in late, almost off the ball it was so late, and targeted his ankle. He’s issued an apology today, with about as much sincerity as the one Wayne Rooney gave to his wife. Some commentators have blamed the boots for the injuries, or the guards, or the pitch, but the fact of the matter is that whether you were wearing a Puma Powercat or a Nike Mercurial Vapor of referee’s need to be retrained to deal with this unseemly part of the modern game.

Players like Messi are simply on another level when compared to their opponents, and when faced with the prospect of having to mark him, many defenders, either under orders or not, can only foul him to keep under control. There are only two ways these things end, in the shrill sound of the refs whistle every time a striker is touched or sprained ankles and broken legs. The argument has been made on both sides of this issue for year. Either we have to protect he run of play, or the strikers, there’s no middle ground. This is bunk, if we really want to protect players and the run of play, we need to train the refs to be able to recognize these awful tackles, and punish them immediately with a red card, and a further sanction to be decided by a board composed of retired players, not FIFA bureaucrats, after the match. Imagine the shame of Ujfalusi being formally and publicly derided by Pele and Bobby Robson for his challenge.

This is the only way to stop the Emmy wining antics of Christiano Ronaldo and his crocodile tears, and save the ankles of a truly great player like Messi. Accidents will always happen in sport, there was no malice in Broadfoot’s challenge, or the one that cracked Petr Cech’s, but steps have to be taken to criticize and punish those who would inflict harm on the other side for the sake of a few point on the table. Until players have to face there peers on this, the cries of agony will fall on deaf ears.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

Matt got his Messi jersey and shoes at soccerpro.com


About the author: Matthew Wall


I've played soccer since I could walk thanks to my father and love keeping up on all the latest gear and gab. I'm in my twenties, and I'm lucky enough to have found work in search marketing for a leading soccer retailer after completing my M.A. at Georgetown in 2008. My team is Liverpool, and national side is Ireland, but I've also got a passion for GAA and a number of sports. Feel free to give me a shout on Google+


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