World Football Videos: 15 Most Notorious Hand Balls in History
Football is filled with controversy.
There are numerous decisions each season which are both mystifying and infuriating.
Controversial decisions can have very different effects on fanbases, and while one set will breathe a sigh of relief, the other set will wonder exactly what the world has come to.
Hand balls are firmly entrenched on the seemingly endless list of things referees can get badly wrong.
Here's 15 hand-ball incidents, seen throughout the history of the game, that have brought us shock, disgust and the occasional laugh.
Maynor Figueroa vs. Manchester City
It's not like your in plain sight of the referee or anything.
Maynor Figueroa misjudges a jump for the ball by some distance and consequently handles the ball to keep it from the Manchester City attacker.
He's basically stopped someone going through on goal there, so the fact he didn't get a red card is a bit of an injustice.
Steven Taylor vs. Aston Villa
This is just ridiculous.
Not only does he pull off what could be considered a wonder save (if only he were a goalkeeper), he then tries to con the ref and suggest it hit him in the chest.
Ultimately, he went down like he'd been poleaxed and looked all the more stupid upon receiving a red card.
Nemanja Vidic vs. Arsenal
Here, you can see Nemanja Vidic doing what he does best.
The Serbian quite often gets away with murder and this is just one example. Robin van Persie is already celebrating a goal when, for some strange, gravity-defying reason, the ball's trajectory changes.
Vidic executes a perfect hand ball, making the slightest of touches and denying the Arsenal striker a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Lionel Messi vs. Albania
Albania took on Argentina in an international friendly, probably hoping they'd grit it out for a respectable score.
The last thing they expected is for one of the best players in football to resort to this.
Yes, Lionel, of course it came off your forehead.
Lionel Messi vs. Espanyol
So he's not the patron saint of football after all?
Lionel Messi, in a crucial derby game against Espanyol in 2007, punches the ball into the goal to equalise.
He made it 1-1 on the night and kept Barcelona's title hopes alive.
Carlos Marchena vs. Atletico Madrid
This one is great.
Having made a terrible defensive mistake, Carlos Marchena races back to prevent a goal.
It's at this point he decides he's a goalkeeper, getting down low and smothering the ball away from the striker's reach.
It took the referee a while, but he got the decision right in the end.
Partick Thistle vs. Dundee United
Skip to 1:15 on the video to see what I'm seeing.
As the ball is stuffed into the back of net, it bounces back out and lands in the arms of the Partick Thistle defender.
He catches the ball and hands it to his goalkeeper, who is just getting back up off the floor having been beaten for the goal.
The referee waves play on as usual. No goal is given.
Sergio Aguero vs. Recreativo de Huelva
Sergio Aguero's second goal in European football is the third hand ball on the featured video.
The ball is pinged across the box and Aguero, unable to get his head nor foot near the ball, decides to use his hand instead.
He more or less punches the ball into the goal, and there's no way anyone's neck can extend like that.
How the referee didn't see it is beyond us all. Poor Recreativo de Huelva.
Australia vs. Equatorial Guinea
Joern Pollex/Getty Images
This one is basically Partick Thistle vs. Dundee United, only on a global scale.
After a shot hits the post and bounces back out, the Equatorial Guinea defender decides to catch the ball and give it back to the goalkeeper in a calm, controlled fashion.
The Australian players are absolutely incredulous, and rightly so, as this is one of the most clear-cut penalty decisions your likely to be faced with.
Nani vs. Tottenham Hotspur
In 2010, Manchester United hosted Tottenham in a Premier League match.
Nani went through on goal wide on the right and was bundled over in the penalty box. The Portuguese winger, sure that it's a penalty, grabs the ball like so many idiotic footballers do.
No set piece was awarded—for the hand ball or the foul—and thus play continued. Nani stood up, walked over to the ball and tapped it in for a goal.
He then celebrated like he'd scored from his own half.
Gerard Pique vs. Chelsea
In 2009, Chelsea were the subject of what seemed like an incredible match-fixing plot.
They were denied penalty after penalty, including this classic hand ball from Gerard Pique.
Tell me, how is this not a penalty?
Paul Scholes vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
It seems Paul Scholes forgets which sport he gets paid to play for a second here.
He produces a beautiful shot—with his hand—to guide the ball into the top corner of the net.
Luckily for the integrity of football, the referee spotted it—although the midfielder's reaction was one of shame and embarrassment, very much giving away what he'd done.
Luis Suarez vs. Ghana
This was only the start for Luis Suarez and his controversy-ridden career.
During the World Cup 2010, Ghana were piling on the pressure and Uruguay had to rely on their star striker to bail them out trouble—by hand-balling on the goal line.
It was a risky strategy of course, as it resulted in a penalty kick to Ghana, but Asamoah Gyan missed and La Celeste went on to win the consequent penalty shootout.
Thierry Henry vs. Republic of Ireland
The goal that sparked so much controversy.
France took on the Republic of Ireland in a 2010 World Cup playoff match, representing a truly do-or-die situation.
Thierry Henry uses his arm to keep the ball in play, then slots it across goal for a tap-in.
The Irish are still angry, by the way.
Diego Maradona vs. England
The landmark hand ball in world football history. No one has managed to take Diego Maradona's throne just yet.
The magnitude of the occasion and the calibre of the player made this all the more controversial and Englishmen everywhere will opt not to watch when they reach this slide.