The ugly side of the beautiful game.
Kevin Muscat's outrageous assault on Melbourne Heart winger Adrian Zahara last Saturday has been widely vilified from every quarter and it got us thinking...
There have been some pretty outrageous challenges in the history of the beautiful game - here are our top 10 worst tackles... ever (in chronological order):
Feel free to let us know if we missed any out.
1. Harald Schumacher assaults Patrick Battiston, World Cup 1982. A crazy ding-dong 3-3 World Cup semi-final that Germany won on penalties is best remembered for how German keeper Schumacher smashed into Battiston who was left with a damaged vertebrae. Forget any thought of a red or even a yellow card, Schumacher restarted play with a goal kick and days later would play in the World Cup final.
2. Andoni Goikoetxea on Diego Maradona, 1983. So bad was this tackle that it left Diego Maradona out of action for 106 days and Goikoetxea became known as the 'Butcher of Bilbao'. In the longer term it was a also a contributory factor in Maradona failing to truly light up the Nou Camp and remains painful viewing.
3. Neil Simpson on Ian Durrant, 1988. The SPL has seen some bad challenges over the years but this must be the worst of the lot. Durrant missed the next 30 months of football after tearing both cruciate ligaments in his right knee. Legal proceedings also saw a settlement out of court after Durrant alleged the tackle was an "act of extreme recklessness".
4. Benjamin Massing on Claudio Caniggia, 1990 World Cup. One of the greatest World Cup shocks, in the opening game of Italia 1990, saw the Indomitable Lions play an extremely physical game in a bid to stop the world champions. Already reduced to 10 men, Benjamin Massing was the third player to have a go at Claduio Caniggia and it was a gruesome foul that stopped the Argentina striker.
5. Roy Keane on Alf Inge Haaland, 2001. There was more than meets the eye to this challenge with Keane storing up his revenge on the Manchester City midfielder from an incident four years previous. In Keane's autobiography he admitted that he had aimed to "hurt" Haaland and it remains one of the most infamous assaults in the history of English football.
6. Mido on Mostafa Abdul-Rahim, 2004. The much travelled striker put in a horrible challenge on Mostafa Abdul-Rahim in a friendly match between the Egyptian national team and Second Division club Al-E'lameyin. Mido ended up paying for an operation and six months of treatment in a clear admission of guilt.
7. Ben Thatcher on Pedro Mendes, 2006. "It is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my career," was how Pedro Mendes reacted to this touchline challenge that simply beggars belief. Ben Thatcher was long known as a 'hard man' but this was taking things too far and he was public enemy number one after this assault on the Portuguese midfielder.
8. Martin Taylor on Eduardo, 2008. "The tackle was horrendous and this guy should never play football again," was Arsene Wenger's reaction to a challenge that effectively destroyed Eduardo's career in English football and also severely affected Arsenal's hopes to win the title that season.
9. Axel Witsel on Marcin Wasilewski, 2009. The big match in Belgium between Standard Liege and Anderlecht witnessed an outrageous foul by Witsel that left the defender with a broken leg. Witsel was banned for eight matches and is still a marked man by referees in Belgium.
10. Nigel De Jong on Xabi Alonso, 2010 World Cup. Outrageous tackles at the World Cup are remembered above all others and this one came in the biggest game of all. To add to the outrage, Howard Webb did not even show De Jong the red card, settling for just a booking, and this has now become the definition of 'Kung Fu kick' in football.