A look at goalkeepers' most eccentric moments
16th November 2023

Corinthians’ goalkeeper’s moment of genius – by LETTING a free-kick into his goal – is the latest eccentric moment from a shot-stopper… From scorpion kicks to penalty antics, here’s the best of the rest

  • Cassio Ramos went viral after he didn’t try to save a second half free-kick
  • Here, Mail Sport takes a look at some of goalkeeper’ most eccentric moments
  • City had their pants pulled down by a development team – It’s All Kicking Off 

Following Cassio Ramos’ moment of genius for Corinthians last week, debates have been rife regarding some of football’s most eccentric goalkeeper moments. 

The Corinthians goalkeeper produced a remarkable display of quick-thinking during his side’s draw with Atletico Mineiro in Brazil’s Serie A.

Mineiro were awarded a free-kick midway inside the Corinthians half and the ball was clipped in towards goal. Cassio looked set to gather the ball, but at the last second jumped out of the way to let it go straight into his goal. 

It was a genius moment from the Brazilian, who recognised that it was an indirect free-kick. Indirect free-kick rules forbid one player from shooting directly at goal. 

And so, in the wake of Cassio’s brilliant bit of improvisation, Mail Sport takes a look at some of the most iconic and eccentric goalkeeping incidents.  

Corinthians’ Cassio produced a remarkable display of quick-thinking during his side’s draw

The Brazilian shotstopper deliberately let a free-kick go straight into his goal during the game

Rene Higuita’s scorpion kick

Rene Higuita’s scorpion kick for Colombia against England during a friendly back in 1995 is arguably the most eccentric thing a goalkeeper has ever done. 

It’s a moment that has left an indelible mark on football folklore, with many claiming it’s the first time a scorpion kick was performed in a competitive football match.

During the clash at Wembley 28-years ago, Higuita did the unthinkable and, when dealing with a cross from Jamie Redknapp, leapt into the air, positioned his legs over his head and kicked the ball away with his heels.

Fans, players and coaches were left dumbfounded by the incident, which was – without a doubt – the highlight of Higuita’s career. 

The other most notable aspect of his career came when he missed out on a place in the 1994 World Cup squad after he was sent to jail for acting as an intermediary in a kidnapping case. 

Rene Higuita performs his famous ‘scorpion kick’ in Colombia’s friendly with England at Wembley in 1995

Higuita performed the audacious save when a Jamie Redknapp cross floated towards his goal at Wembley


Harald Schumacher takes out Patrick Battiston

It’s been just over 40 years since this incident took place but you’ll still do well to find a more reckless moment of goalkeeping in football history. 

During a World Cup clash between France and West Germany, Patrick Battiston was left in a heap on the ground after colliding with the onrushing Harald Schumacher. 

After a delicate through-ball by Michel Platini, Battiston raced onto the pass inside the box, long before the German keeper, but knocked his effort wide of the target.

The FC Koln keeper had ample time to apply the brakes however, instead, leapt into the air, twisted his body and slammed into the Frenchman’s face at high speed.

In a hideous twist of fate, Schumacher completely got away with it purely because the assault was so late that anyone following the ball missed it.

There was no foul, penalty or even a yellow card given. Instead, Dutch referee Charles Corver signalled a goal kick.

Forty years have passed since France’s Patrick Battison (L) was cleaned out by West Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher at the 1982 World Cup

The on-field assault remains one of the most sickening fouls in the history of the World Cup 

Grobbelaar’s wobbly legs

Before there was Jerzy Dudek, there was Bruce Grobbelaar. 

The former Liverpool goalkeeper made history after birthing the ‘spaghetti legs’ routine during Liverpool’s 1984 European Cup final against Roma. 

The South African shotstopper performed the now-iconic antics and contributed to Graziani and Bruno Conti missing their crucial spot-kicks on the night. 

In 2018, Grobbelaar reflected on the incident to Mail Sport, saying: ‘He [manager Joe Fagan] put his arm around me and quietly had a word. 

‘He told me, “Look son, you’ve had a great game. I and the coaches and the chairman and the directors, the captain and the team and the 10,000 Liverpool fans are not going to blame you now if you don’t stop the ball from 12 yards…” 

‘It was as I walked away, feeling much better, that he called after me, “…but make sure you try to put them off”.

‘The two players I chose to do what I had to do against were tested Italian internationals, not ordinary players,’ he says. ‘Bruno Conti picked the ball up and started dancing down the line (of Roma players) and that got to me.

‘He was all bouncy. I just stood on the line and did the legs. He stopped dancing. He put the ball down on the penalty spot. And I did the legs again. He put it straight over the top. That’s when I thought, “Hmm, this might work”.’

Bruce Grobbelaar performed the ‘spaghetti legs’ against Roma in the 1995 European Cup final

Rogério Ceni’s incredible goalscoring

There aren’t many goalkeepers who also make for fine goalscorers, however most goalkeepers weren’t like Rogerio Ceni. 

The Brazilian shotstopper is known as a Sao Paulo legend and not just because his 1237 outings for the club see him top the all-time appearance record.

During his illustrious playing career, Ceni also made a name for himself by becoming one of their most reliable goalscorers during his 23-year stint at the club. 

The goalkeeper ended up becoming a reliable penalty kick and free-kick taker for Sao Paulo and managed to score an incredible 131 goals in his career.  

It’s a tally that takes Ceni up to tenth in the Brazilian club’s all-time top goalscorer list. An incredible feat for someone who’s duties tend to be at the other end of the pitch. 

Sao Paulo legend Rogerio Ceni scored over 100 career goals despite being a goalkeeper


Paulo Gazzaniga’s kung-fu kick

Finally, we have an entry for the modern-day football fans. 

In December 2019, during Chelsea’s league trip to Tottenham, the hosts’ goalkeeper performed an action that was later described as ‘assault’ by Sky Sports’ Gary Neville. 

With Chelsea leading 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Willian, Spurs’ Paulo Gazzaniga raced forwards and ended up clattering into Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso.

Bizarrely, referee Anthony Taylor initially punished Alonso for the incident, with Tottenham being given a free-kick, but VAR was then consulted.

However, eventually the decision was overturned, with Chelsea being given a penalty and Gazzaniga receiving a yellow card.

Willian stepped up to take the penalty and ended up getting the better of Gazzaniga to make it 2-0.

Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga clattered into Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso

Anthony Taylor gave a free-kick against Alonso but the decision was overturned by VAR

Joe Hart kicks advertising hoardings 

Back in 2014, Joe Hart let his frustration get the better of him when he kicked an advertising hoarding during England’s 2-1 defeat to Italy.

In the video below, the England goalkeeper can be seen running behind his goal late in the second half to collect the ball after Andrea Pirlo’s stunning free-kick crashed off the bar and out for a goal-kick.

Manchester City stopper Hart screams for the ball as he bids to restart play as quickly as possible, but ends up booting an electronic board in anger.

The 27-year-old had hoped to start a decisive late move for the Three Lions as they chased an equaliser at the Arena da Amazonia after going behind to a Mario Balotelli header.

Hart can be heard shouting ‘Hey, hey, hey. Give me the f****** ball’, presumably to a ball boy behind the goal, before lashing out.

Roy Hodgson’s No 1 came away from the incident unscathed, but he could have injured his right foot given the force of the kick.


Emiliano Martinez’s penalty mind-games

If you cast your mind back to December last year, you’ll remember how Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez had riled up multiple nation fanbases for his World Cup antics. 

Against the Netherlands, the Argentina shotstopper repeatedly performed dance moves after preventing the opposition from scoring during a penalty shoot-out. 

And he did the same thing when his side took on France in the tournament’s grand finale, where he jumped and punched the air three times before telling the Argentina supporters to make more noise after denying Kingsley Coman from the spot. 

Not to mention that Alan Pardew-esque dance after Aurelien Tchouameni’s miss.

Prior to the Real Madrid midfielder’s spot-kick, Martinez was also seen throwing the ball in an attempt to goad his French counterpart. 

The Aston Villa goalkeeper danced away after watching Tchouameni’s penalty fly wide

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