Weird Week in Footy: Early exits, tough tackles, and boorish banners

Every Tuesday, BetaSoccer highlights the most outlandish moments from the wacky, sometimes daft, and perennially entertaining world of football. Here’s what made us smile – or cringe – on the pitch this past week.

Schalke’s Nubel redefines the straight red

Schalke’s Alexander Nubel went in a bit hard on Eintracht’s Mijat Gacinovic during a weekend clash that saw match official Felix Zwayer swiftly hand the shot-stopper his walking papers. Gacinovic was OK despite spitting up blood.

This brought up memories of Toni Schumacher on Patrick Battiston in the 1982 World Cup semi where the Frenchman suffer damaged vertebrae and facial trauma before slipping into a coma. Former Schalke ‘keeper Schumacher was then awarded a free-kick. VAR probably would have agreed with the decision.

Crap Cruyff turn taints teen’s terrible debut

Elsewhere in the world of goalie gaffes, 17-year-old Genk ‘keeper Maarten Vandevoordt became the youngest to appear in the Champions League when he started against Napoli, and well, he did this inside of three minutes. Oops.

Lyon Ultras’ unsavory dispute with Marcelo continues

Strained relations between Lyon’s Marcelo and a selection of Ultras intensified following a home defeat to Rennes when a derogatory banner was unveiled suggesting the defender to “keep his fingers for his wife.” Lovely stuff.

There’s some history to the beef. In October, Les Dogues supporters heckled Marcelo at the Lisbon airport after a loss to Benfica. Then, following a 2-2 draw at home to RB Leipzig that secured progression, a fan took the pitch with a banner of a donkey telling Marcelo to get lost.

Memphis Depay made a beeline for the banner, Marcelo’s wife slammed supporters online, and the Brazilian gave the finger to the Virage Nord, prompting the mess versus Rennes. Depay and Jeff-Reine Adelaide both tore their ACL in the loss in what was literally a banner day for the Ligue 1 side.

Everton’s Kean not keen about early exit

Moise Kean’s 18-minute cameo against Manchester United after a 71st-minute introduction understandably elicited a frigid reaction from the Italian before he headed straight down the tunnel. It didn’t help that Everton caretaker Duncan Ferguson completely ignored Kean after yanking off the 19-year-old.

Ferguson cited “fresh legs” and the need for “a bit of time wasting” for Kean’s dismissal, and even if reports of concerns about the striker’s work rate are true, this is a bit harsh. Nobody will cheer Carlo Ancelotti’s hiring more than Kean.

Grobbelaar leaks his secret

Liverpool fans, urine for a laugh, because former Reds ‘keeper and witchcraft savant Bruce Grobbelaar admitted to peeing on the posts at Anfield to break the curse of Steven Gerrard’s seminal slip. Sepp Bladder would be proud.

Gareth Bale: man of leisure

There’s a lot to love about Weird Week regular Gareth Bale’s commitment to trolling Real Madrid fans after he was spotted flipping bottles on the bench at Valencia. Maybe Arsene Wenger can help him kick the habit.

El Pajarito loses his s–t versus Valencia

Staying put with Real Madrid, one has to wonder if Federico Valverde enjoyed Karim Benzema’s injury-time equalizer at the Mestalla against Valencia. Can only imagine what he’d done if Thibaut Courtois’ header went in.

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