Goals are the main aim of football – which is exactly why they are called goals – and are rightfully celebrated as such.
The difficulty of putting the ball in the back of the net is exactly what sets football apart from most other sports, and the euphoric nature of scoring is unrivalled.
Roger Milla’s dancing hips at Italia 90, Peter Crouch’s robotics, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 180º boom jump have all made their way into the history of the game and are a big part of what makes the sport beautiful.
That being said, celebrations aren’t always received as joyous expressions, and some players use them to respond to criticism, promote political views, or even purely to bait an opposition.
From South Africa’s perspective, think of Thamsanqa Gabuza’s controversial celebration while still in Orlando Pirates’ books in 2018. Gabuza played in a cross, which was deflected in by a Black Leopards player at Peter Mokaba Stadium and he ran off, took off his jersey and tossed it to the crowd, before walking off resulting in him being given two yellow cards; first for taking off his jersey and secondly, for walking off the pitch without permission from the referee.
Gabuza later apologised and has since moved on to SuperSport United.
Sometimes goal celebrations are just controversial…
Here we’re taking a look at five celebrations that cost a player far more than just a yellow card.
It’s an unwritten rule that footballers don’t celebrate a goal against their former clubs, as a mark of respect. Then came Emmanuel Adebayor. The Togolese striker left Arsenal to join Man City in 2009 in the first wave of new stars signed by the club’s new owners.
The move prompted Arsenal fans to be extremely vocal about their former hero’s departure, calling it a betrayal motivated by money.
The script was written when Arsenal were handed a trip to the Etihad in the early weeks of the season, and of course Adebayor scored. Not only did he celebrate, he sprinted the full length of the pitch to knee slide in front of the travelling fans.
Missiles were thrown, including a plastic stool (somehow) and Adebayor was written up for reckless conduct.
Robbie Fowler ‘Eating Grass’
It’s worth mentioning, at this point, that Dieudonne has been convicted for hate speech and advocating terrorism, and fined multiple times for antisemitism.
Anelka was promptly fined £80,000 and banned for five matches for performing the Quenelle, regardless of its intention (again, intending to support a noted antisemite is still really, really bad). Zoopla, who are run by a Jewish businessman, pulled their sponsorship of the Baggies and Anelka’s contract was terminated by the club.
This effectively brought an unceremonious but fittingly controversial end to what should, on paper, have been a great career.
She promptly celebrated her header by running to the corner and making a tea sipping action, pinky sticking out and all.
Whilst Morgan didn’t face any punishment for the action – which was generally seen as a good natured ribbing of the English stereotype – some fans on Twitter wildly overreacted and called celebration a nod to the Boston Tea Party, going as far as wrong-headedly calling her racist.
Of course, Lua Lua scored a late equaliser against Arsenal at the end of April and backflipped straight onto his ankle, ruling him out for the season’s final three weeks.
He was Pompey’s top scorer at the time, and ‘Arry was less than impressed.
RELATED STORY: Adebayor denies making comments on Salah and Mane
Edited by Tiyani wa ka Mabasa