As the contemporary game has developed and revolutionised, there has been an increasing tendency towards foul play in an attempt to gain an upper hand.
However, the greatest moments in the game can be those of fair play, when players give up their advantage for the sake of the game. A recent example occurred in a PSG game, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic refused to take a free kick, returning possession to Nancy as they had not got control after a previous incident. Here are some of the five greatest moments of fair play in football:
5. Oliver Kahn | Bayern Munich v Valencia
This first occurrence is not necessarily fair play, but is a great display of sportsmanship from the German Keeper. Bayern Munich had just won the Champions league final with a decisive three saves in a penalty shootout, but instead of celebrating with his team mates he shrugs them off to comfort opposition keeper Santiago Canizares. The UEFA board also acknowledged this act as he won the UEFA fair play award. Watch it here; https://youtu.be/9HXlColJicY
4. Costin Lazar | Rapid Bucharest v Otelul Galati
These two Romanian teams are hardly well known, but that does not degrade the conduct of defensive midfielder Costin Lazar. As he entered the box, Galati defender Bourceanu,blocks Lazar in his attempt to win the ball. The referee awards a spot kick for this challenge, but Lazar argues, convinced that it was a fair tackle and eventually convinces the ref for a drop ball, which a teammate puts out of play. Watch it here; https://youtu.be/rTRURAWzU6g
3. Miroslave Klose | Lazio v Napoli
The Lazio – Napoli game was only a few minutes in and Lazio won a corner. As the ball comes swinging in the Lazio forward Miroslave Klose accidentally hits the ball with his hand and it ends up in the back of the net. Instead of following in the likes of legends Thierry Henry v Ireland and Lionel Messi against Espanyol, Klose shows great sportsmanship and corrects the referee. Watch it here; https://youtu.be/ye3RA0ULXUQ
2. Paulo Di Canio | West Ham v Everton
During the dying moments of the match against Everton the game was tied at one goal apiece, Di Canio finds himself in the 18-yard box with the ball flying at him and no keeper. However, instead of sealing the game, Di Canio caught the ball, insisting that Everton keeper Paul Gerrard be treated before play continued at Goodison Park. The impulsive Italian has never been far from controversy during his glory years, but this outstanding case of fair play extenuates his flair for the unconventional. Watch it here; https://youtu.be/EWdf5ZLbtYo
1. Amin Motevaselzadeh | Moghamvemat v Steel Azin
In a critical match in the dying moments of the league, desperate for a win to avoid relegation Motevaselzadeh finds himself in front of an empty net. However, much like Di Canio, instead of firing the ball home he purposefully hits the ball out, demanding the injured keeper be treated. Moghamvemat ended up losing the game 2-1 and were relegated on goal difference, but Motevaselzadeh was rewarded with the Act of Fair Play award the following year. Watch it here; https://youtu.be/IC3M9iml1Ug
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