World Football: 6 Greatest Moments of Football Sportsmanship

Colin Stone@Colin__StoneContributor IIIMarch 28, 2012

World Football: 6 Greatest Moments of Football Sportsmanship

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    It's not often you see it, but when you do, it's always a memorable moment.

    I'm talking, sadly, of sportsmanship in football.

    In the past few weeks, displays of solidarity and support have been rife. T-shirts, minutes of applause and banners at football matches have reflected the feelings of players and fans alike in regards to Eric Abidal and Fabrice Muamba.

    Let's look back at some of the best examples of sportsmanship in football through the years.

Paolo Di Canio

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    Love him or hate him, Di Canio was arguably the most controversial figure in football in the 90s.

    His temper often overcame his terrific technical ability, but, on occasion, his gentle side shone through.

    Di Canio received a standing ovation for this act of fair play.


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    A game between Jong Ajax and Cambuur a few years ago provided a fantastic example of sportsmanship in football.

    A young Jan Vertonghen, now a mainstay in the Ajax side, scored an accidental goal as his kick back to the opposing team flew into the top corner after a player had gone down with an injury.

    His reaction is one of total disbelief.

    However, the sportsmanship between the two sides was clear as the Amsterdammers allowed the opposition to score a goal of their own.

Costin Lazar

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    It's not often you see players turn down penalties that they've won themselves.

    However, credit Rapid Bucharest's Costin Lazar, who corrected the referee's decision to award a penalty to his team after the official deemed that a foul had taken place.

    His team went on to win the game, but Lazar's act will be remembered for a long time.

Oliver Kahn: Champions League Final 2001

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    German legend Oliver Kahn was given a Fair Play award by FIFA for this incredibly gracious act.

    Instead of celebrating like the rest of his teammates after Valencia had just lost to Bayern Munich on penalties in the 2001 Champions League final, Kahn went over to a distraught Santiago Canizares (Valencia's goalkeeper) to comfort him.

    The video really does bring a smile to your face.

Real Madrid's Eric Abidal Tributes

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    Real Madrid and Barcelona have one of the fiercest rivalries in world football.

    However, it was touching to see Madrid's players wearing t-shirts supporting Barca defender Eric Abidal after the 32-year-old was told that he would have to undergo a liver transplant after fighting off a liver tumour last year.

    It's moments like these that make you remember that there are far, far more important things in life than football.

Fabrice Muamba

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    You'd be hard-pressed to think of another time in which the whole footballing world gathered in unity over one player.

    Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped for 78 minutes after he collapsed on the pitch against Tottenham Hotspur in a recent match, had his name chanted at grounds worldwide this past weekend as support and prayers were said for the Bolton midfielder.

    He remains in a critical condition, but this act of sportsmanship shown around the world will never be forgotten.

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