Top 5 Most Controversial Moments in Football

Football is a game that gets everyone’s heart racing. It is full of amazing skills, clever tactics, and sometimes, a bit of drama. This article takes you on a journey through some of the most talked-about moments in football.

From the Premier League to the FIFA World Cup, these unforgettable events have sparked endless discussions among fans.

5. The Battle of Old Trafford (2004)

One of the most aggressive games in Premier League history was the match between Manchester United and Arsenal on October 24, 2004.

The game was rough and aggressive, and José Antonio Reyes was the main target of the tackles. The game changed after the 73rd minute when Wayne Rooney went down in the box under a Sol Campbell challenge.

The match was controversial, with some fans blaming referee Mike Riley’s performance for the loss. Yet, Ruud van Nistelrooy stepped up and made no mistake this time before Rooney sealed three points with a simple tap-in.

4. The Hand of God (1986 World Cup)

In the 1986 World Cup quarter-final match between Argentina and England, Diego Maradona scored a goal using his hand.

The referee allowed the goal to stand, despite protests from the English players. Maradona later described the goal as “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”.

This incident is one of the most controversial moments in football history.

3. Thierry Henry’s Handball (2009 World Cup Qualifier)

On November 18, 2009, Thierry Henry handled the ball twice during a World Cup playoff match between France and Ireland.

The incident occurred in extra time, when Henry stopped a pass with his forearm and then nudged it again with his hand. The ball fell to his feet, allowing him to pass it across the goal for William Gallas to score. 

The goal made the score 2–1 on aggregate, sending France to the World Cup and eliminating Ireland. 

2. Luis Suárez’s Handball (2010 World Cup)

In 2010, Luis Suárez made a deliberate handball on the goal line to stop Ghana from scoring a winner in a World Cup quarterfinal match.

The handball resulted in a red card for Suárez and a penalty for Ghana. However, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty, and Uruguay went through to the next round.

Suárez has said he will not apologize for the handball, saying “I did the handball, but the Ghana player missed the penalty, not me.”

He also wrote in his autobiography, “And then I saw the ball go over the bar. He had missed. And one word came out of my mouth: ‘Gol!’ The feeling, the sense of release, was the same as if we had scored. Unbelievable. I’ll never forget it. That was when I realized what I’d done”.

1. Chelsea vs Barcelona (UEFA Champions League Semifinal, 2008/2009)

The UEFA Champions League semi-final match between Chelsea and Barcelona in 2009 is remembered for its controversial refereeing decisions.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba famously shouted “it’s a f*cking disgrace” into the TV cameras after a series of controversial refereeing decisions.

Referee Tom Henning Øvrebø waved away multiple penalty appeals for Chelsea, and Andrés Iniesta hit a famous equalizer from the edge of the area in stoppage-time to send Barca through on away goals.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw, but the controversial decisions sparked unsavoury scenes at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea crashed out of the competition.


To summarize, these unforgettable moments have changed the game in big ways. They remind us of the passion, the tension, and how a single moment can decide the outcome of a match.

While they have caused a stir, they also highlight the importance of playing fair and being honest. As we cheer for more exciting games, let us hope that the lessons from these moments will help shape the future of football.

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share article

Latest articles