One of the most common complaints you’ll hear from people who do not like soccer is that they hate how the players flop to the ground and writhe around in feigned agony any time they sense an opponent within five feet of them. Hell, in North American, this is the most common complaint you’ll hear from people who are fans of the game. And it’s all 100% true: soccer players often act like a bunch of ninnies.
However, it should be noted that, on occasion, soccer actually can be as violent and brutal as players pretend it is. And to prove it, today I present to you this list of vicious tackle GIFs that will make you cringe. Have a look and you may just discover a newfound appreciation for the mostly beautiful but sometimes gritty game.
Clint Dempsey got his face rearranged in the USA's World Cup opener against Ghana but kept on playing.
Who says soccer players aren't tough?
29. Dempsey's Face Rearranging
And here is Belgium's Marouane Fellaini acting like a hockey player.
28. Belgian Elbow
The guy in red was asking for it, but still, you can't just slam guys to the ground.
27. The Throwdown
Like I just said, bodyslams are illegal in soccer.
26. The Bodyslam
That's One Direction wiener Louis Tomlinson getting taken out by Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor in a charity game...which is just awesome.
25. Not Feeling Charitable
That's what you would call a "dangerous play."
24. Karate Soccer
I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure knees aren't supposed to bend that way.
23. Cleat on Knee Violence
Just look at the way this poor bastard's head snaps back. If he didn't suffer a concussion, he sure as hell got whiplash.
22. Knee on Head Violence
Who could forget this insane "tackle" from Holland's Nigel de Jong on Spain's Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup Final?
If you'd like sound effect for this one, but grab a handful of chips and crunch them in your mouth.
Technically, I guess this one is legal since the defender does get the ball. But that doesn't mean it isn't also a little dirty.
18. All Ball
Don't you just love Tchaikovsky?
17. The Nutcracker
This nasty attack on Alf-Inge Haaland was am expensive one for Roy Keane. At first the FA fined him £5,000 and suspended him for three games. However, several years later he admitted that he did it on purpose to get revenge on Haaland for something he had said, the FA fined him another £150,000 and suspended him for five more games.
16. Keane Plays Dirty
If you stomp down on somebody's heal so hard that it goes into the ground and created an explosion of turf, you're probably going to get a red card. FYI.
15. Thiago Motta Gets a Red Card
This is one of the most-talked-about tackles in recent Premier League history...for obvious reasons. It's pretty disgusting.
14. Callum McManamann vs. Massadio Haidara
Could have been worse—at least the ball was in front of this guy's stomach instead of his crotch.
13. Kick to the Gut
Pro tip: when you get sent flying through the air and spun around 180º, you don't need to do anything else to draw attention to the situation. The refs probably saw it just fine.
That's a booking.
11. Cleats on Sternum Violence
Dude didn't even try to go for the ball here. What a douche.
That's a pretty shitty thing to do to anybody, but it'seven worse when it's the best player in the world.
8. Goikoetxea vs. Maradona
Sometimes you go to an MMA fight and a soccer game breaks out.
7. Knocked Out Cold
And sometimes you're playing FIFA '14 and a game of Mortal Kombat breaks out.
6. FINISH HIM!!!
The best part is that, after is just stomped his cleat on the other dude's thigh, Souness points at the snag in his sock like that somehow justified his actions.
That said, the man sure does have some nice hair. He's like a young Tom Selleck.
5. Graeme Souness Is a D*ck
If the Germans aren't plowing through France in tanks, they're plowing through Frenchman like tanks.
4. Harald Schumacher Destroys Patrick Battiston at '82 World Cup
Eysseric got an 11-match ban for this horrendous tackle. But if you think this injury is gruesome, just wait until you see the next two...
(That's a warning, by the way. If you're squeamish, proceed with caution.)
3. Valentin Eysseric vs. Jeremy Clement
Amazingly, this did not end Wasilewski's career. He now plays for Leicester City, which will play in the Premier League in 2014-15.
As for Witsel, you can watch him play for Belgium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
2. Axel Witsel on Marcin Wasilewski
Before there was Kevin Ware there was Oupa Ngubule of the South African Premier League.
I told you not to proceed if you were squeamish, didn't I?