While 2021 might not have been the bin fire that 2020 will always be remembered as, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows either.
From lockdowns to tragic passings and difficulties altogether personal to each one of us, the nearing prospect of 2022 and the hope of a better 12 months is something that we can all get behind.
However, even through the toughest of moments that 2021 has afflicted us with, the ever-comforting distraction that is football has made those nadirs and crises feel at least 0.0001% less horrendous.
The joy of funny footballing moments
Whether that’s a dramatic goal, jaw-dropping skill or simply the team of your heart actually winning a game, football will forever be an escapism from the pangs of real life that we keep coming back to.
And sometimes, the beautiful game goes that one step further with a downright funny moment that not only takes you away from your everyday stresses, but even gives you a fit of laughter to boot.
So, as we drive home free away from 2021 with a middle finger in the wing mirror, join us in looking back at those side-splitting errors, gags and mishaps that left football fans slapping their knees.
Going all out with no less than 37 chuckle-worthy moments from the footballing world since January 1, we’ve got everything from Roy Keane antics to Steven Gerrard one-liners to get you smiling.
Leicester vs Liverpool Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
The 37 funniest football moments of 2021
There’s a little sprinkling of comedy gold for everyone, so walk your way through GIVEMESPORT’s picks for the funniest footballing moments of 2021 down below. You won’t regret it.
1. Brian Brobbey booting a penalty out of the stadium
There are bad penalties and then are bad penalties where the ball literally exits the stadium. Brobbery’s horrendous spot-kick against Almere City in May was very much the latter.
2. Lincoln City steward kicking a dildo into the net
Where do we even start with this? Perhaps the worrying thing is that the sight of a grown man punting a sex toy into the back of the net feels fundamentally English. Make of that what you will.
3. Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher arguing in the car park
Things can get pretty lively between Neville and Carragher on Monday Night Football and that was especially the case in July when they continued their debate after the show and into the car park.
Having gone toe-to-toe about whether or not Trent Alexander-Arnold should be named in England’s Euro 2020 squad, the Sky Sports pundits slugging it out on Instagram live was simply blockbuster.
4. Didier Lamkel Ze denied entry to training in Anderlecht shirt
Imagine wanting a transfer so badly that you rock up to training one day wearing the jersey of your club’s biggest rivals. Yes, well, that’s exactly the stunt that Lamkel Ze pulled back in January.
Not only did security prevent Lamkel Ze from gaining access to the training ground, but he never got the Panathinaikos move that he was angling for in the first place. The pictures will never get old.
5. Paul Scholes mocked for toe-chewing video
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll be well aware of the, erm, eye-opening video of Scholes biting the toenail of his daughter that emerged in October.
And Chesterfield’s Liam Mandeville clearly had the viral footage on his mind when he celebrated scoring in the shock FA Cup win over Salford City by pretending to suck his teammate’s toe.
6. Haaland gets a middle finger from a Wolfsburg fan
However, it doesn’t quite make us laugh as much as Haaland’s pointing celebration to the Wolfsburg crowd ending with him getting a comedy-style middle finger in response. You couldn’t write it.
8. Leonardo Bonucci’s selfie featuring Harry Maguire
Bonucci posing for a photograph after the Euro 2020 final with a glum-looking Maguire caught in the background is officially the peak of 2021 s***housery regardless of whether it was deliberate or not.
9. Steward mistakes Bonucci for a fan at Euro 2020
But that wasn’t the only hilarious moment that centred around Bonucci this summer because the moment that the Italy juggernaut was mistaken for a pitch-invading supporter always cracks us up.
The look on Bonucci’s face as the steward goes through the journey of wanting to reprimand him to realising that they were in fact dealing with one of the players had many a supporter in stitches.
10. Micah Richards teases Carragher with Premier League medal
Quiz question: how many Premier League titles has Jamie Carragher won in his career? A big fat zero, and the moment that Richards reminded him of that fact live on TV was simply box office.
11. Arsenal concede the most ridiculous goal at Burnley
Sometimes there’s nothing better than having a chuckle at Arsenal‘s expense and their slap-stick-comedy concession of a goal at Turf Moor courtesy of Granit Xhaka’s awful pass is something else.
12. Eric Bailly break-dancing vs Young Boys
Bailly is one of those utterly loveable footballers like Joel Matip to produce enough beautifully inexplicable moments that they earn their own coveted ‘Out of context’ Twitter account.
And while we could have mined their feed for approximately 135 clips of Bailly for our funniest moments list, we’re inclined to think that his recent mid-game break-dancing takes the cake.
13. Man Utd protestor falls off Old Trafford net
The fan in question must have known that he was destined to go viral online when his parkour impression at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ was thwarted by another protestor finding the back of the net.
14. Xherdan Shaqiri being too short to swing from the bar
‘Big Shaq’ might be built like an absolute unit, but he’s not exactly blessed in the height department and that couldn’t have been clearer than in his failed attempt to swing from the crossbar for Lyon…
15. Andriy Yarmolenko mocking Ronaldo vs Coca-Cola
Who remembers when the whole world was obsessed with Cristiano Ronaldo moving a bottle of Coke? Ok, sure, we did write 1,000 articles about it, but don’t pretend as though you weren’t hooked.
And the whole saga officially peaked when Yarmolenko decided to take the p*** out of the situation with an amazing press conference asking Coke and Heineken to sponsor him. You love to see it.
16. Timo Werner takes a horrendous corner
Boy do we love the energetic football and personable presence of Werner, but there’s no denying that he’s dropped a few clangers in 2021 and getting tackled by the corner flag was certainly one of them.
17. Arsenal fans celebrate Man City goal in 5-0 defeat
As a long-suffering Gooner myself, trust me when I say that our fanbase is entertainingly capricious and that was painfully apparent when we lost our first three Premier League games of the season.
And the amusingly-extreme notion of an upcoming apocalypse was no better illustrated than when the travelling Arsenal fans fake-celebrated City’s fourth goal in a 5-0 defeat. How times change.
18. Andros Townsend trolls Ronaldo with ‘SIU’ celebration
Every man and their dog has jumped up in their air and shouted ‘SIU’ since Ronaldo returned to United, but Townsend pulling it off after scoring in front of the man himself was elite s***housery.
19. Ronnie Brunswijk plays himself for football world record
Suriname vice president Brunswijk made history as the oldest male to ever play in an international club competition in September when he took to the pitch for the team he owns at 60 years old.
In remarkable images that spread like wildfire across social media, Brunswijk played in attack alongside his son in a 6-0 defeat where he sported the No. 61 jersey in tribute to his year of birth.
20. Ajax ball boy throws ball at Riccardo Calafiori
Calafiori’s attempts to time-waste for AS Roma in the Europa League didn’t go down well with one particular ball boy who didn’t take lightly to his initial release of a ball being denied in contrived style.
As such, Calafiori had the pleasure of having another ball thrown his way… with considerably more force… and with considerably good accuracy… and even got a yellow card for his troubles. Brilliant.
21. Steven Gerrard mocks Owen about Anfield returns
Gerrard returning to Anfield for the first time as a manager in December was certainly moving, so it was only natural that Michael Owen would ask him about how it felt to come back after the game.
However, Owen’s admittance that he never liked returning to Merseyside himself perfectly teed up his former teammate for the ideal reply, firing back: “If I played for Man U I’d hate coming back too!”
22. Pitch invader’s slide tackle in Solihull vs Altrincham
We’ve seen plenty of pitch-invading shenanigans in our time, but watching a supporter absolutely nail a slide tackle on Adam Rooney was enough to provoke a chuckle behind our wagging finger.
23. Chelsea’s Sam Kerr wipes out pitch invader
However, on the topic of pitch invaders, we can’t escape the fact that dashing on to the field of play is ultimately both against the rules and worrying for the safety of the players at their place of work.
As such, you’ll forgive us for smirking just a little bit when Kerr decided to wipe out a pitch invader during Chelsea and Juventus’ Champions League clash earlier this month. Bish, bash, bosh.
24. Roy Keane burns Redknapp with “A League of Their Own” joke
Honestly, we don’t know how it’s taken us this long to reach something related to Keane because we could easily have made an entire 2021 breakdown of the United’s funniest punditry moments.
But ending the career of Jamie Redknapp by joking that Leicester players were dropped because they gathered in a hotel watching “A League of Their Own” was one of his finest ever one-liners.
25. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s reaction to Keane vs Carragher
However, when the magic man himself wasn’t cracking jokes, you could bet that he was swinging for the fences in a heated argument that had half of Britain motoring through bags of popcorn.
And we all lived vicariously through Hasselbaink when the side-splitting surreality of Keane and Carragher exchanging blows about Ronaldo in the Sky Sports studio unfolded in volcanic fashion.
26. Aleksandar Mitrović’s crazy goal in Fulham v Huddersfield
But let’s get back to the pitch for a pallet cleanser now because there’s something reassuringly British about a truly Sunday League goal like Mitrović’s messy masterpiece in the Championship.
27. Jason Cundy falls for brilliant Steven Gerrard prank
Trust me when I say that seeing Cundy squirm through what he thought was a car-crash interview with ‘Stevie G’ when it was actually a Gerrard impersonator is the best video that you’ll watch today.
28. Luka Modric trolling Gerard Pique after El Clasico
With the Spanish defender livid with the referee’s performance, Modric was on hand to rub salt in his wounds by cheekily quipping: “You’re waiting for the ref to complain huh?” Go on, Luka, son.
29. Andy Robertson getting barged out the way vs Atletico
Nothing to see here other than the hilarious moment that Robertson’s staring contest with Antoine Griezmann ended with him being bulldozed by an Atletico player out of absolutely nowhere.
30. Referee makes goal-bound block in Mexico
Referees accidentally getting involved in games is always cause for a chuckle, but just imagine the carnage when a match official essentially denies a goal by making a last-ditch block. Yeh, seriously.
That’s exactly what happened during Cruz Azul vs Toluca in February with referee Óscar Macías making the type of dramatic block that Virgil van Dijk would have been proud of.
31. Kai Havertz’s elite time-wasting vs Real Madrid
Truth be told, we didn’t know that Havertz had the oldest trick in the time-wasting book up his sleeve, but seeing him s***house in front of the king of s***housery, Sergio Ramos, was pure class.
32. Naby Keita’s reaction to scoring vs Crystal Palace
And the celebration of the year goes to…
33. Jamie Vardy taking the mickey with Wolves celebration
There’s something poetic, artistic and downright beautiful about Vardy making the Premier League feel like the seventh-tier of English football when he whips out a celebration just to wind people up.
And Vardy pulled one straight of the corner-flag-destroying and eagle-impersonating playbook when he marked a goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers by howling like a wolf. We’re easily pleased.
34. Granada vs Man Utd streaker behind closed doors
Do you want to know the one thing that’s funnier than streaker Olmo Garcia – “The Naked Man of Granada,” no less – running on to the pitch completely nude in the Europa League?
The fact that he hid under a canvas for 14 hours to evade security in order to pull off the stunt. If that’s not dedication to streaking then I don’t know what is.
35. Sean Dyche being hard as nails in the snow at Burnley
But dare we suggest that taking to the pitch somewhat clothed is amusing too because social media exploded when Dyche took to the Turf Moor pitch in driving snow without so much as a coat.
The Burnley boss may have belittled the relevance of this apparently trivial event, but I’ll happily die on the hill that his smug grin amongst the winter onslaught was an iconic moment in modern history.
36. Mike Dean going for a spin during Chelsea vs Man City
English football would be a much more boring place without the refereeing enigma that is Dean and we won’t apologise for finding his random spin at Wembley funnier than we probably should.
37. Jamie Carragher’s attempt at an American accent
Pretty simple, this, and what’s not to like? Carragher is simply blockbuster on CBS Sports at the best of times, but seeing him swing for the fences with an awful American accent was even better.
38. Chelsea prank Timo Werner with fake tyre advert
Confession: this is your humble writer’s favourite funny moment of 2021 because seeing Werner getting talked into doing the stupidest things for a mock Yokohama advert is simply unrivalled.
You can just tell that Mason Mount and Jorginho had the time of their lives as they pulled the strings to ensure that Werner cranked out bizarre car noises, crashed a go-kart and everything in between.
Bring on 2022’s funny moments
Did we get you? Come on, we must have got you smiling at least a few times!
Whether Owen getting teased is your tipple of choice or Dean turning into a meme is the key to your heart, we like to think there were plenty of funny moments to get you cracking up.
And football being football, you can guarantee that 2022 will follow suit regardless of whether it’s cut from the same cloth as 2020 and 2021 or finally sees everyone’s fortunes changing for the better.
Besides, for all the seriousness we put into statistics, tactics and analysis around the sport that we love, it just wouldn’t be the same without those stupid moments that we joke about with our mates.
Sometimes the beautiful game really is a bumbling one, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Have a wonderful New Year everyone and let’s hope that 2022 puts everything back on track.