World Football's 10 Most Infamous Handballs in History
Maradona's "Hand of God" undoubtedly takes the cake for most infamous handball. Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and others have all handed in their application to be considered one of the top 10 and it's time for the results.
The beautiful game is a sport that allows you to use anything but your hands (or an extension of your hand) for 10 of 11 positions on the field. Your knee, thigh, chest or buttocks are all permissible.
Yet even some of the greatest players in history—past or present—have struggled to resist keeping their hands off the ball.
Some instances have taken place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, others took place at the club level.
All of which were shocking and 100 percent controversial.
Raul Gonzalez: Real Madrid vs Leeds
In the 2011 Champions League, Real Madrid faced Leeds United. In a tight game that saw Leeds hang around longer than most would expect against the Spanish giants, Raul guided the winning goal in with his hand.
UEFA was not exactly pleased with the goal or how Raul explained it.
"There is no way that I touched the ball with my hand," explained Raul. "I don't know what I hit the ball with, but it was not with my hand."
Sure, whatever you say Raul. UEFA ended up banning the Spaniard for one match and fining him £8,000.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs St. Petersburg
During the 2008 Super Cup, Paul Scholes decided to take matters into his own hands. As a cross came in from the wing, Scholes stuck up his arm and volleyed the ball into the net in a looping fashion with his fist.
If it were any other part of his body, it would've been a magnificent-looking goal. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
Scholes instantly received a yellow card and didn't give much of a protest.
Of all the achievements he's had with Manchester United, this will not go down as one of his finest moments.
Lionel Messi: Barcelona vs. Espanyol
Lionel Messi has been compared to Diego Maradona for several reasons. For starters, the two players are Argentinian compatriots.
Messi plays for Barcelona. He's considered by most to be the best footballer in the world and now he has an infamous hand ball to add to his resume.
In a game versus Espanyol, Messi reacted to a deflection with a knee-jerk-like raise of his arm as he lunged toward the ball. Clearly, he used his hand to reach the ball.
I don't speak Arabic, but even the announcers in Arabic referred to the Maradona handball from 1986.
Since then, Messi has continued to score buckets worth of goals for Barcelona using body parts other than his hand.
Sergio Aguero: Atletico Madrid vs Recreativo
Way back when Fernando Torres had a buzz cut and played with Atletico Madrid, another Atletico budding superstar made a name for himself. Baby-faced Sergio Aguero added his name to the list with a sly lunge for the ball at the far post with his arms just slightly extended.
Aguero ended up knocking the ball in with both hands as he tried to chest the ball into the back of the net. He was wearing blue gloves, so maybe that helped the Argentine escape punishment.
Not sure how that makes sense, but it's just a theory.
However, do you see a pattern here? Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and now Sergio Aguero have all used their hands.
What are they teaching in Argentina?
Luis Fabiano: Brazil vs Ivory Coast
Luis Fabiano had an incredible display of talent for Brazil in 2010 in a game versus the Ivory Coast. The Brazilian midfielder scored an impressive brace with a smashing near-post effort and a controversial second goal.
Fabiano went up for a 50-50 ball with both arms raised to cradle the ball down to his feet. The ball hits twice on his arm before he lashes the ball into the net.
To make things worse, the referee clearly saw the foul yet he neglected to blow his whistle. I guess Brazil will continue to get breaks as long as they "finish in magnificent style."
Joe Jordan: Scotland vs Wales
A win-or-go-home qualifier between Scotland and Wales at Anfield saw Joe Jordan punch the ball over his head into the net.
Scotland was rewarded for their efforts in 1977 as they qualified for the World Cup in 1978 hosted by Argentina.
The ironic part is Jordan's fist earned him a penalty for his efforts.
How does that happen? I don't know.
Joe Jordan was then witnessed kissing his fists leaving the pitch after Scotland's qualification.
Unfortunately, the best I can do on this one is the post-match interviews in the dressing room. The previous videos have been all taken down.
Abel Xavier: Portugal vs France
During the European Championships in 2000, the Portuguese made a fantastic run through the tournament. They finished top of their group, which included traditional powers England and Germany.
Portugal then beat Turkey in the quarterfinals and faced France in the semifinals for the opportunity to face either Italy or the Netherlands in the finals.
The game went into extra time after both teams scored a goal apiece during the first 90 minutes. In the 117th minute, the referee's assistant raised his flag for a handball.
Abel Xavier's touch of the ball gave France a penalty that would end the game instantly, since the golden goal rule was still in effect in 2000. Zinedine Zidane delivered from the spot and sent the French into the final.
Portugal would end up masking their great run by swarming and handling the referee, which later warranted hefty fines from UEFA.
I should add that the handball takes place at the very end of the video, but there are some fantastic goals if you want to watch the entire thing.
Thierry Henry: France vs Ireland
Easily one of the most infamous handballs of all time took place during qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Ireland and France were playing in a playoff to see who would punch their ticket to South Africa.
Thierry Henry took measures into his own hands in order to get the French through to the World Cup. Ireland would have the last laugh as they watched a divided French team fall to pieces in a humiliating fashion during the World Cup.
Ireland still may not be the safest place in the world for Henry to take a holiday. The IRA may want to have a few words with him.
Luis Suarez: Ghana vs Uruguay
This wouldn't be a credible list without this incident. Luis Suarez forgot that Uruguay was playing in the World Cup when he decided he wanted to play volleyball.
Ultimately he took one on the chin for his country and teammates, as his handball helped Uruguay move past Ghana.
The old saying "if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'" was taken to heart by Suarez. In fact, that may be the motto throughout South America.
After all, this list has a bunch of South American players handling the ball.
Diego Maradona: Argentina vs England
The handball heard throughout the world: Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal versus England in 1986.
If you ever wondered why the English are more sensitive than other nations about the rules surrounding a handball, this is why. The world's best player at the time got away with the ultimate crime on a worldwide stage, in the sport the English created.
Argentina's playboy superstar helped guide Argentina past England thanks to one of the most infamous plays to ever take place in the sport.
Justin Sparks is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report @JustinSparks22
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