There aren’t many genuine hatchetmen left in football. Nigel de Jong is one of the last of a dying breed of that type of footballer; although that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Netherlands international, who turns 32 in November, is still partial to the odd bone-crunching challenge - as was evident during LA Galaxy’s 2-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps on Monday night.
De Jong was shown a straight red card for an awful tackle on Blas Perez and then had the audacity to look shocked with referee Robert Sibiga’s (correct) decision.
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Fortunately for De Jong, his red card didn’t prove costly for LA Galaxy.
Goals from Robbie Keane and Jeff Larentowicz earned the Galaxy a big three points at the Stubhub Center in California.
Video: Nigel de Jong's latest horror tackle
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Bruce Arena: De Jong deserved to see red
Speaking after the match, LA Galaxy boss Bruce Arena told the club’s official website: “It wasn’t a good tackle. I think you can pick your color card. I don’t like when the referee shows a yellow card then comes back and gives a red. This is two weeks in a row. The one last week with Ashley, someone should put their hand up and say, ‘I’m sorry, that’s a big mistake, and it shouldn’t happen.’
“I think tonight it’s valid to give a red card, but it’s awkward when you show a yellow then come back with a red. I think Nigel has to show better judgment. I think he got elbowed on the play and got a little angry. But I don’t think the tackle is a good tackle by any means.”
De Jong unlikely to change his ways
Indeed, it was a poor challenge and deserved a red card. Perez was lucky to avoid serious injury and must have feared the worst when De Jong connected with his standing leg.
This isn’t the first time De Jong has been guilty of a bad challenge - his kung-fu kick on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final instantly springs to mind - although given his age, it’s safe to assume the Dutchman is unlikely to change his ways at this late stage in his career.
Did Nigel de Jong deserve his red card? Have your say by leaving a comment below.