It’s far from easy being a professional footballer.
With the eyes of the world watching your every move on the pitch, it can be quite easy for players to cave into pressure and commit an error.
It’s part and parcel of the beautiful game, but there are those select few times when one player’s entire performance can be described as one big error.
They’re relatively rare in professional football, but there have been some absolute corkers down the years.
So we’ve decided to rank 15 of the most humiliating individual performances in football history. It really is quite the ‘Hall of Shame’.
15. Ali Dia vs Leeds, 1996
We’re starting with an absolute corker. The only reason Dia isn’t closer to top spot for his 14-minute Premier League cameo is because he wasn’t really a professional footballer, was he?
He simply tricked Graeme Souness into thinking he was one, the cousin of Ballon d’Or winner George Weah no less. One of English football’s most comedic moments.
14. Steven Gerrard vs Man Utd, 2015
Gerrard’s last performance against Liverpool’s fiercest rivals, surely he was going to go out with a bang?
Well, he did to some extent. Thirty-eight seconds after coming on at half-time, the Reds legend was heading back down the tunnel having been sent off for stamping on Ander Herrera.
13. Olivier Giroud vs AS Monaco, 2015
A performance so bad that even Giroud himself was embarrassed. Arsenal would lose to the French side 3-1 at the Emirates, but if Giroud had even one of his shooting boots on that day it would have been so different.
“I am really hurting, more than disappointed, it has been embarrassing for me,” Giroud said after the game. It was hard not to feel a tad sorry for the Frenchman.
12. Jamie Carragher vs Man Utd, 1999
Having a bit of a stinker in English football’s biggest game is never good, but few have ever dropped a performance worse than Carragher’s during Liverpool versus United.
The defender scored two own goals as the Red Devils secured a priceless 3-2 win at Anfield and Gerard Houllier never played him at centre-back again.
11. Alberto Moreno vs Sevilla, 2016
Moreno pretty much single-handedly cost Liverpool the 2016 Europa League final with a truly disastrous second-half showing.
“It’s impossible to explain what Moreno was doing,” Michael Owen said in the BT Sport studio that night. He was spot on for a change.
10. Tiemoue Bakayoko vs Watford, 2018
A professional midfielder couldn’t dream up a worse 30 minutes than Bakayoko’s against Watford, the game that pretty much brought an end to the Antonio Conte era at Chelsea.
Losing the ball, misplacing passes and eventually being sent off, it was a disasterclass of the highest order. Even Chelsea fans were chanting “you’re f**king s**t” at the Frenchman.
9. Massimo Taibi vs Chelsea, 1999
The match that brought an end to Manchester United’s 29-game unbeaten run and it was some way to halt it.
Chelsea beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s side 5-0 and Taibi – a ‘replacement’ for Peter Schmeichel – endured something of a nightmare. The ‘keeper’s first error came after just 27 seconds, allowing Gus Poyet to head into an empty net and things only got worse.
8. Oliver Baumann vs Hamburg, 2013
The Bundesliga define Baumann’s performance as ‘A Keeper’s Worst Nightmare’ on their official YouTube channel and that’s arguably downplaying his horror show.
The Freiburg ‘keeper was at fault for all three goals in a 3-0 defeat to Hamburg and the first two errors were carbon copies of each other, with the German inexplicably coming off his line and failing to clear.
7. Stan van den Buys vs Anderlecht, 1995
You may be asking, who? Well, allow us to explain. Van den Buys set a very unwanted record while playing for Germinal Ekeren.
The Belgian scored not one, not two, but THREE own goals in one game in a 3-2 defeat to Anderlecht. The third is a bit of a harsh one, but it was still credited to Van den Buys – poor guy.
You can watch all three own goals by clicking HERE.
6. Emmanuel Eboue vs Wigan, 2008
When your own fans boo you off the pitch, you know things have taken a sour turn. Eboue stumbled onto the pitch that day with no clue how to play football.
Every attempt at controlling the ball was hapless and he even ended up tackling his own teammates. In the end, the substitute was substituted, the ultimate humiliation.
5. Jonathan Walters vs Chelsea, 2013
It was hard to rank a Premier League performance worse than Eboue’s, but scoring two own goals and missing a penalty in the same game is just ludicrous.
Chelsea smashed Stoke 4-0 as well, just to rub salt in the wounds of the Irish striker.
4. David Luiz vs Germany, 2014
Brazil 1-7 Germany, the most shocking scoreline in football history and Luiz’s comical defending was the catalyst behind it all.
Luiz is prone to lapses in concentration, but against Joachim Low’s side he genuinely looked like a Sunday League player with a steaming hangover.
3. Jonathan Woodgate vs Athletic Bilbao, 2005
The worst debut in football history, by a mile as well. Woodgate’s move to Real Madrid raised a few eyebrows and those concerns were more than merited after his first appearance.
Madridistas had to wait over a year for the Englishman to make his debut due to injuries and all they received for their patience was a red card and an own goal. In truth, Woodgate’s career never recovered.
2. Martin Palermo vs Colombia, 1999
Three penalties missed – THREE – in one game, it almost beggars belief. But Palermo achieved that unwanted feat in a Copa America game versus Colombia.
Ironically, Colombia won the game 3-0, just to add to the narrative of one of the most stunningly bad performances ever. This makes Gonzalo Higuain’s misses in the 2014 World Cup final look like child’s play!
1. Loris Karius vs Real Madrid, 2018
Poor ol’ Loris, but this performance just had to be number one. Never in the history of football has a player turned in such a disastrous display in such a big game.
You almost couldn’t write it. Karius inexplicably threw the ball into Karim Benzema’s path, before dropping a tame Gareth Bale shot into the net and sealing another Champions League triumph for Real Madrid.
We may never seen a performance as humiliating or disastrous as Karius’ for decades.
As for Palermo, his record of three missed penalties will surely never be broken. Which team is going to give a player a fourth chance from the spot after missing the first three, eh?
- Ranking 20 of the most humiliating defeats in football history
- The 13 luckiest players to own a Premier League winners’ medal
- YouTuber names the most overpaid footballer for every age from 18-38