The wind, ash clouds, broken fax machines – football's 14 worst ever excuses

Dani Alves Jurgen Klopp Robert Lewandowski
Jurgen Klopp pointed to atmospheric conditions after drawing with Everton - but he is far from the only person to make outlandish excuses in the sport

  1. Woes with the wind

    #1 Woes with the wind

    It was a "wild opponent," Jurgen Klopp admitted after Liverpool were held to a draw. Merseyside rivals Everton? Not quite. 

    The German manager chose to point the finger at the wind following the weekend's derby stalemate, which saw the Reds surrender their lead the top of the table to Manchester City.

    "The wind came from all different directions, you saw that in a lot of situations," Klopp told Sky Sports.

    “It didn’t help any football play, especially when the ball was in the air which it was a lot. In a game that was difficult to control because of those things, we had I think three or four really big chances.”

  2. Straight down to business
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    #2 Straight down to business

    Plenty of footballers have fallen victim to bizarre injuries over the years. But current Barcelona man Kevin-Prince Boateng apparently paid the price for an over-active sex life which was responsible for a host of problems. 

    During his time at Milan, the player's girlfriend Melissa Stata was convinced that the couple's arduous bedroom activities lowered his fitness levels. 

    "The reason why he is always injured is because we have sex seven to 10 times a week," the model told Vanity Fair.

    "I hate foreplay, I want to get straight to the point. My favourite position is on top so I can take control." A sentiment Boateng can perhaps share now that his new club sit pretty at the summit of La Liga.

  3. Raging bulls
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    #3 Raging bulls

    Over the years footballers and other sportsmen found guilty of doping have come up with a dizzying number of excuses to explain how illegal substances entered their system. 

    The Netherlands team, though, went a step further in blaming their dinner when Frank de Boer and Edgar Davids tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone. 

    According to Oranje defender Bert Konterman, his team-mates were duped by meat coming from cows that had been fattened up with the substance. 

    "In Holland, a lot of farmers inject cows with nandrolone to enhance the beef and make more money for themselves," the then-Rangers man claimed.

    "I think this is what happened. The Dutch players have had dinner with the national team and probably had beef with a lot of nandrolone in it. 

    "This could be the root of the problem but players in Scotland are safe because cows aren't injected with nandrolone. There is plenty of fresh air in Scotland so there is really no need to inject them with anything." 

    Konterman's bovine slurs were later given short shrift by Dutch farmers, with a union spokesman stating bluntly:  "I haven't got a clue where he's got this from."

  4. Oh deer!
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    #4 Oh deer!

    In 2011 North Korea made dubious history as the first team to break doping regulations at a Women's World Cup. 

    No less than five of the squad's players returned positive tests for steroids - an offence that, of course, was not their fault. 

    FIFA were informed that the steroids were accidentally administered through a traditional medicine that included a musk derived from deer glands. 

    A lightning strike prior to the tournament left the affected players needing the unorthodox treatment, although the appeal was ultimately academic as North Korea exited in the first round in Germany.

  5. Too many video games

    #5 Too many video games

    Former Liverpool No. 1 David James enjoyed a long, successful Premier League career, but has rather unfairly been remembered more for his mistakes than his long years of services between the posts. 

    It is true, however, that James did not always help himself, most notably when claiming that a long video game session was responsible for a terrible performance against Newcastle back in 1997. 

    "I was getting carried away playing Tekken II and Tomb Raider for hours on end," James said to explain his rather sleepy display.

  6. Grey days
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    #6 Grey days

    Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United team of the mid-1990s were as unbeatable a unit as the Premier League has seen. Perhaps the only thing more inventive than the Reds' on-pitch play were the reasons given on those rare occasions defeat did occur. 

    In 1996, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the rest of the United team were shocked on the road as Southampton built up a 3-0 lead before half-time.

    The issue was the grey kit the away team had donned for the occasion, never previously used and which apparently affected their ability to pick out team-mates while passing. 

    United changed shirts at half-time and went on to lose 3-1, a result which did not ultimately impede their march to another title. The unloved grey kit, meanwhile, never saw the light of day again.

  7. Don't be a grass
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    #7 Don't be a grass

    The length or quality of the grass on playing surfaces has been a constant gripe of Barcelona's over the years. Barely a Blaugrana away defeat goes by without aspersions being cast on the groundsman. 

    "It wasn't a matter of desire; they play with their weapons and leave the field very, very dry," Dani Alves complained on one famous occasion back in 2014, after the Catalans were comprehensively beaten by Atletico Madrid

    As long ago as 2011, too, pitch problems were being alleged, with the legendary Xavi pointing the finger at none other than Real Madrid.

  8. A transfer up in ashes
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    #8 A transfer up in ashes

    Robert Lewandowski is considered one of the world's elite strikers, while Blackburn Rovers have for years floundered outside the promised land of the Premier League. 

    How different, then, could things have been for both parties had a 2010 move to Ewood Park prospered? Unfortunately, talks failed due to volcanic activity in Iceland causing travel chaos. 

    "He got the invitation [from Blackburn], but due to the cancellation of the flights he could not go, and it makes no sense to drive," agent Cezary Kucharski confided years later, with Lewandowski making waves at Dortmund.

  9. Ill-fitting genes

    #9 Ill-fitting genes

    Few would have had former Scotland boss Gordan Strachan as an expert in the field of genetics. But he is convinced that his nation's failings can be explained by DNA. 

    "In the last [World Cup qualifying] campaign we were the second smallest, apart from Spain," Strachan claimed after Scotland's 2018 hopes were ended.

    "Genetically we have to work at things, maybe we get big women and men together and see what we can do."

  10. Red in the face

    #10 Red in the face

    Goalkeepers are known for their infinite supply of excuses when it comes to justifying a soft goal. But former Newell's Old Boys shot-stopper Sebastian Peratta surely takes the prize for most original. 

    In 2012 Peratta and Newell's saw a 2-0 lead transform into a 3-2 defeat to relegation strugglers San Lorenzo. It was alleged that dirty tricks were at play: Coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi had sent young ball-boy Franco Robledo behind Peratta's goal at half-time, which precipitated his side's collapse. 

    Robledo boasted a shocking head of ginger hair, something that in Argentina is considered bad luck. Caruso Lombardi denied that his strategic placement was to jinx Newell's' No. 1, although that did not stop the youngster carrying out duties behind the net for several more fixtures that season.

  11. Where have all the ball-boys gone?

    #11 Where have all the ball-boys gone?

    When it comes to ball-boys, too few can be just as damaging to a team's chances as one who is a bad-luck omen. That is, according to Jose Mourinho. 

    "What I'm about to say is not a criticism, I'm just stating a fact: There were no ballboys in the second half," Mourinho griped in 2011 after his Real Madrid side fell victim to Barcelona in the Supercopa. 

    "This is something typical of small teams when experiencing difficulties."

  12. Hopping mad
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    #12 Hopping mad

    Spain began the 2006 World Cup in style, destroying Ukraine 4-0 in their first match. But that heavy defeat was naturally no fault of the beaten team, who decided to blame a host of tiny amphibians who had croaked through the night outside their Potsdam hotel.

    "Because of the frogs' croaking we hardly got a wink of sleep," defender Vladislav Vashchuk explained after the game. "We all agreed that we would take some sticks and go and hunt them."

    Perhaps Vashchuk had a point, though. Once away from the noisy intruders results picked up immediately, as Ukraine battled through to the quarter-finals before eventually going out to winners Italy.

  13. Too many injuries?

    #13 Too many injuries?

    Managers blaming their team's failings on a spate of unfortunate injuries is nothing new. But perhaps only Klopp has dared to use the opponent's physical issues to explain away a poor result. 

    Manchester United held Liverpool to a draw in February despite being forced into three first-half substitutions, something the German paradoxically believes played into their hands. 

    "Everyone saw at United we were confident and we were much better when all of United’s players were on the pitch but the game changed completely," he claimed after the match.

    "The open game and we were better. It changed and we were still in charge and gave nothing away. That is important."

  14. Just the fax
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    #14 Just the fax

    Rumours linking David de Gea to a Real Madrid move have been almost constant since he hit the big time at Man United. But the Reds have been equally insistent in fending off Real's interest, even when a transfer looked inevitable. 

    The closest De Gea came to moving was in 2015, when only a reported malfunctioning fax machine stopped the clubs from completing the paperwork on time on transfer deadline day. 

    Both sides blamed each other for what was reported officially as a "technical glitch", and more than three years down the line De Gea remains safely at Old Trafford.