You hate to see it: 5 times legendary players cost their team
From Oliver Kahn's fumble to Gerrard's slip, these five players cost their sides when the stakes were highest.
Oliver Kahn drops the World Cup
“You can have 99 fantastic games but make a mistake in one and that is what you’re remembered for,” said Kahn after his clanger in the 2002 World Cup final.
While the eight-time Bundesliga winner is remembered for more than this gaffe, it remains a stain on an otherwise glittering career and impressive tournament.
Germany had conceded just one goal in their previous six matches at the World Cup before meeting Brazil in the final in Yokohama.
But with the score goalless in the 67th minute, Kahn fumbled an effort from Rivaldo straight into the path of Ronaldo.
El Fenomeno gobbled up the gift before sealing the result with a second 12 minutes later.
It was “10 times worse than any mistake I’ve ever made”, according to the goalkeeper.
Germany lost the final and a despondent Kahn reacted to the final whistle by falling to the floor and sitting in his goalmouth alone.
He was later named Player of the Tournament, though it is unlikely to have been much consolation.
John Terry slips at the worst time
Terry can at least console himself with the knowledge that he isn’t the only iconic captain on this list who cost his team by slipping when the stakes were at high, but more on that later.
Not that that was any comfort to the sobbing defender after Chelsea lost on penalties to Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final.
Both sides had played out a 1-1 draw in difficult conditions at a sodden Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
In the penalty shoot-out that followed, the only failure from the first nine attempts came from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Step forward captain Terry to win the trophy… or not. The Chelsea defender lost his footing on the wet turf during his run-up, meaning he skewed his effort against the post and the shoot-out went to sudden death.
Nicolas Anelka’s later miss meant that the trophy would be going back to Old Trafford.
Terry would later get his moment, sort of.
The former Chelsea captain donned his full kit to lift the Champions League trophy four years later after they had beaten Bayern Munich on penalties, despite the fact the he had been suspended for the final.
Zidane sees red
Think of Zidane as a player and what springs to mind?
Probably that volley against Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final, maybe his match-winning brace in the 1998 World Cup final, but definitely his head-butt on Marco Materazzi in 2006.
Rather than centring around an unlucky individual, this entry in the list is an error of judgement costly enough to tarnish the legacy of one of the greatest players of a generation.
Simply, it was a mistake so iconic that it would be remiss not to include it.
Having set his retirement for after the 2006 World Cup, Zidane looked to be heading out at the top when France qualified for the final.
But he clearly hadn’t prepared himself for the shithousery of Marco Materazzi.
With 10 minutes of extra time left and the score at 1-1, Zidane reacted to a comment from the Italian about his sister.
The French captain headbutted Materazzi in the chest and was sent off, trudging past the World Cup trophy in what proved to be the final act of his career.
Italy went on to beat France on penalties, with Materazzi netting in the shoot-out.
Four years on, Zidane said he “would rather die than apologise”.
Roberto Baggio missed penalty
The immediate aftermath of Baggio’s penalty miss in the 1994 World Cup final has become one of the most iconic images in the tournament’s history.
But it is fair to say that it is a mistake that weighed heavier on him because of the reputation he carried at the time. He had come into the World Cup as one of its few genuine superstars.
The Divine Ponytail won FIFA World Player of the Year in 1993 and came second in the Ballon d’Or, while his face was even advertised on petrol pumps in Italy pre-tournament.
He had scored five goals in the knock-out stages of the tournament, carrying Italy to the final and there was an expectation that he would do his bit in the shoot-out.
That expectation soon turned to hysteria after he blazed the ball over Claudio Taffarel’s goal.
But it’s easy to ignore the fact that both Franco Baresi and Daniele Massaro had both already missed their spot kicks. Even if Baggio had been successful, Brazil would have still won the trophy by converting their final penalty.
So bad was the unwanted attention received by Baggio, though, that he sought refuge at a secluded Argentinian ranch after the tournament had finished.
Steven Gerrard slip
“There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about it,” admitted Gerrard a year on from his slip that effectively cost Liverpool their first ever Premier League title.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for the former captain and club legend, who is still clearly scarred by making such a costly error.
Despite winning seven major trophies at Anfield, and dragging his side through that night in Istanbul, for many, Gerrard’s career is defined by his stumble against Chelsea.
That it came two games after he had passionately told his players they ‘do not let this slip’ after beating title challengers Manchester City at Anfield made it all the more cruel.
Liverpool went into the game top of the table and six points clear of City, who were their only realistic competition by virtue of games in hand.
With just three games to go in the 2013/14 season, the prize was in sight. But the dream unravelled after Gerrard let a simple pass slip under his foot and slipped when trying to atone for his error.
Demba Ba robbed the ball and put his side 1-0 up after going clean through and Liverpool’s title bid never recovered.
Brendan Rodgers’ side were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea, and a 3-3 draw at Crystal Palace days later all but confirmed they had blown it.
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