Wojciech Szczesny and 10 of the Most Controversial Gestures in Football

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2014

Wojciech Szczesny and 10 of the Most Controversial Gestures in Football

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    Alastair Grant/Associated Press

    It's not been a vintage week for Wojciech Szczesny, who was sent off in Arsenal's Champions League loss to Bayern Munich for a foul on Arjen Robben. Then, as the Pole left the field, he was spotted giving his opinion on the red card via a very rude hand gesture

    According to The TelegraphSzczesny may face a two-match ban for his antics. 

    The Gunners' keeper's handy action leads our list of controversial on-the-field gestures... 

Paolo Di Canio

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    GIUSEPPE CALZUOLA/Associated Press

    Upon his return to Lazio in 2004, Paolo Di Canio celebrated several goals by aiming a fascist salute at the club's notoriously right-wing ultras in the Curva Nord.

    The former Sunderland manager makes no secret of his affiliation with fascism, but justifies his political opinion by saying "I am a fascist, not a racist," as per The Telegraph. Right then. 

Giorgos Katidis

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Sepp Blatter claimed Di Canio's fascist gesture was worthy of a lifetime ban from the game, but he landed several jobs afterwards and was virtually unaffected.

    One player who wasn't so lucky was AEK Athens' Giorgos Katidis, who was barred from the Greek national team by the country's football association when he did the same salute in March 2013. 

    "I hate fascism. I wouldn't have done it if I knew it meant something like that," he said at the time via CNN, feigning ignorance over his gesture's racist connotations. 

Nicolas Anelka

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    During West Brom's thrilling 3-3 draw with West Ham last December, Nicolas Anelka cast a spotlight of controversy over himself by performing a "quenelle" gesture. 

    French comedian and Anelka cohort Dieudonné M'bala M'bala may say it is a symbol of anti-establishment, but most interpret it to be an inverted Nazi salute. 

    The disagreeable Frenchman has insisted he is not anti-semitic, but a disciplinary panel is set to rule on the incident from next week, as per The Mirror

Robbie Fowler

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    When Robbie Fowler sunk a penalty during a 1999 Merseyside derby, he immediately ran to the touchline and started "snorting" it, as a sarcastic riposte to accusations of drug use.

    Liverpool failed to see the funny side, slapping their star striker with a £60,000 fine.

    Manager Gerard Houllier won comedy points at the time by trying to suggest Fowler was actually performing a Cameroonian grass eating celebration” taught to him by teammate Rigobert Song.

David Norris

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    Hamish Blair/Getty Images

    During Ipswich's meeting with Blackpool in November 2008, Tractor Boys midfielder David Norris celebrated a goal with a handcuffs gesture. It was in support of former Plymouth teammate Luke McCormick, who was serving time in prison for killing two children in a drink driving incident.

    Naturally, the gesture was ill received and Norris received a £5,000 fine.  

    Earlier that year, Tim Cahill was forced to apologise for performing the same gesture, as per the BBC. 

Paul Gascoigne

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    Paul Gascoigne landed himself in hot water during a 1998 Old Firm derby when he mimiced playing the flute in front of Celtic fans when he scored for Rangers.

    This symbol of the Protestant Orange Order didn't go down too well with the traditionally Catholic Hoops fanbase. The Geordie clown prince feigned knowledge of the significance of the gesture, but received a fine from his club and the Scottish FA. 

Jurgen Klinsmann

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    Skip to 1.55 in the video for the gesture

    Jurgen Klinsmann's predilection for diving stemmed all the way back to the 1990 World Cup, so he certainly had a reputation by the time he arrived in the Premier League in 1994. 

    When he headed home the winner for Tottenham in a 4-3 thriller at Sheffield Wednesday, Klinsi celebrated his reputation for cheating by diving on the turf. 

Craig Bellamy

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Craig Bellamy's career at Anfield looked uncertain in 2007 when he allegedly striking teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club during a drunken episode in Portugal—something he later admitted in his book.

    Rather than hide his shame, the Welshman embraced it by showing his swing when he scored in the first match after the incident, which happened to be against Barcelona at the Nou Camp. 

Theo Walcott

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    During Arsenal's FA Cup victory over North London rivals Tottenham in January, Theo Walcott was stretchered off with an injury. While exiting the pitch, he enraged Spurs fans by reminding them of the score.

    Perhaps he would not have been quite so smug if he knew the injury he had picked up would keep him out of the World Cup. 

Luis Suarez

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Luis Suarez is no stranger to controversy, and the Uruguayan received one of his many career bans in December 2011 when he was caught flipping his middle finger to Fulham fans.

    The Liverpool striker was given a one-match ban for his troubles.

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