Woodgate, Ibrahimovic & the worst debuts ever

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With a host of January signings set to make their bows this weekend, Goal looks back at those who endured debuts to forget in years gone by...

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    Given both his talent and his character, it is difficult to imagine Zlatan Ibrahimovic not making a huge impact when he first joins a team. At Milan, however, his first day on the job was one to forget following his arrival from Barcelona. The Swedish striker missed a penalty as the Rossoneri lost 2-0 to newly promoted Cesena, though he did go on to score 28 goals in 32 games for the San Siro outfit.
  2. Ali Dia

    One of football's greatest lies resulted in Ali Dia making his debut for Southampton in 1996, as Saints boss Graeme Souness was tricked into signing the unknown midfielder on the proviso he was George Weah's cousin. Needless to say, there was no relation or similarity in style to the great Liberian, and having replaced Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier in the first half, Dia was hooked after just 53 minutes, never to be seen at The Dell again.
  3. Jonathan Woodgate

    Having been forced to wait to make his Real Madrid debut for around a year due to injury, Woodgate's time at Santiago Bernabeu could not have got off to a worse start. The former Leeds and Newcastle centre-back netted a spectacular own goal during the first half against Athletic Club before picking up a second yellow card after the break as his opening night was cut short.
  4. Jason Crowe

    Crowe might have become a journeyman of the lower leagues for much of his career, but the full-back started life as an academy graduate at Arsenal. However, he only made one appearance for the Gunners, though it was certainly one to remember albeit for all the wrong reasons. Substituted on against Birmingham City during extra-time of a League Cup tie in 1997, Crowe's excitement got the better of him as a high foul saw him receive his marching orders after just 33 SECONDS - the fastest sending-off on debut in footballing history.
  5. Graeme Souness

    Player-managers are meant to be able to set an example to the rest of the squad, but in Graeme Souness's case at Rangers he certainly took things a little too far. Having arrived from Sampdoria in 1986 to take over at Ibrox, the fiery Scotsman saw red during the first half of his debut against Hibernian for a shocking tackle that saw his victim, George McCluskey, stretchered off with an open wound.
  6. Stanley Milton

    Another to make footballing history on their debut, goalkeeper Milton made his debut for Halifax Town in 1934 against Stockport County. He went on to concede 13 goals as the Shaymen suffered the heaviest defeat in English league football, with 11 of those strikes coming in what must have been a manic second half.
  7. Henrik Larsson

    Henrik Larsson is a Celtic legend, but it's fair to say he did not make the best start to life in Glasgow. Coming off the bench to make his debut against Hibernian in 1997, the Swedish forward proceeded to present the ball on a plate to Hibs' Chic Charnely to score the winner late on. Furthermore, Larsson's European debut for the Bhoys saw him score an own goal against Tirol Innsbruck.
  8. Emmanuel Frimpong

    Frimpong graduated from the academy at Arsenal, but struggled to establish himself at the Emirates Stadium having been sent off on debut for the Gunners. That was not even his worst debut performance, however, as he arrived at Barnsley in January 2014 complaining that his new team would see him struggle to "draw girls" while his unveiling saw him openly sulk during a photoshoot. All that led up to him picking up two yellow cards in the space of seven minutes against Sheffield Wednesday as he saw red before having even completed half an hour of football for the Tykes.
  9. Chris Iwelumo

    Iwelumo enjoyed a relatively successful career at club level, representing Stoke City, Burnley and Wolves with distinction. His international career, however, did not reach the same heights, in part down to one of the worst misses of footballing history during his Scotland debut. Aged 30 he was thrown on during a crucial World Cup qualifier against Norway in 2008, only to miss a golden opportunity to win the game as he proceeded to fire wide with the goal gaping and the keeper stranded.
  10. Joe Hart

    Having been surprisingly let go by new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, Hart set about rebuilding his career with a year-long loan spell with Torino. However, his time in Serie A did not get off to the best of starts as he proceeded to drop a routine cross to allow Andrea Masiello to score for Atalanta before being beaten from the penalty spot in a 2-1 defeat.