Nine of the worst leg-breaking tackles in football obviously features Keane trying to stop Erling Haaland

John Nicholson
Roy Keane slams "spoilt brat" Erling Haaland
Roy Keane and the Haalands do not get on

In more than one way, Roy Keane was too late in trying to prevent Erling Haaland from existing. But that wasn’t the worst injury Sir Alex Ferguson ever saw.


Keane on Haaland
In which Roy saw the deathly black hole that was the future of striking and tried to kill it off at the source. Too late. Vicious stuff and his account of it, where he goes over the ball into his shin, only enhanced Keane’s reputation as a bit of a nutter which has fuelled a very successful career on telly once retired. It aggravated another injury which eventually ended Haaland’s career but he had already spawned the football Terminator.

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Shawcross on Ramsey
Broke Ramsey as a good player. Shawcross was a bit of a brute, though a pale imitation of past lunatics, and appeared to try and kick the Welshman’s foot clean off and almost succeeded. Ramsey was out for nine months and Shawcross was declared to be ‘not that sort of lad’ even though he obviously was.


Riise on Smith
Not a bad tackle but it ended the striker’s promising career as an attacker nonetheless. He was never the same again and still can’t walk properly. Riise’s powerful free-kick was blocked by the lippy lad, and it knocked his ankle right out of its socket and broke his leg so badly he had to have 10 pins in it. Sir Alex Ferguson said it was one of the worst injuries he’d ever seen… and he was from Govan.


Moreno on Shaw
A tackle so bad that Shaw almost lost his leg. It was a double break and the X-ray showed the bone completely separated in two. It was a game against PSV Eindhoven for Manchester United and Moreno just jumped into Shaw when he was travelling at speed into the box. It was that speed which did for leg. He also suffered two blood clots on the leg and you don’t want that. Frankly without medical attention he might have died or had a stroke and trust me, that is to be avoided.


Harris on Best
Not actually a tackle that hurt Georgie but one of the most infamous attempts to do so. The footage looks like a hazy memory of a misty night in the 1970s, with Besty running in on goal when Ron flies in from the side and attempts to remove his legs at the hip. Harris, whose reputation was well-earned, as was his nickname ‘Chopper’, was actually a very good defender who also happened to be occasionally psychotic and would be in jail if he played today. Bestie, because he was a genius, just hurdles Harris’ legs and scores. Naturally.


Schumacher on Battiston
You’ve all seen it. A World Cup semi-final in 1982: France v West Germany. An advancing Battiston managed to reach the ball first and flicked it up and to the side of the approaching Schumacher, the goalkeeper. Schumacher leapt into the air as the ball sailed past him, ultimately wide of the goal. Schumacher, still in the air, collided with Battiston. The resulting contact left Battiston unconscious, later slipping into a coma. Battiston also lost two teeth and had three cracked ribs. He received oxygen on the pitch. Michel Platini later said that he thought Battiston had died, because “he had no pulse and looked pale”. The German was voted the most unpopular man in France, in front of Hitler. Schumacher on the other hand was voted Player of the Year in 1984. Ref’s decision? Play on.

The legs were pretty much the only thing of Battiston which avoided being clattered but it felt worthy of inclusion on such a gruesome list.


Struijk on Elliott
Not a blood and thunder leg-breaker of yore but devastating all the same. In a match against Leeds, Elliot is tackled from behind and gets his feet stuck under him. Result? A dislocation and leg fracture and five months out, just like that. It didn’t look so bad, but it was and halted the youngster’s career.


Morton on Pereira
This is one of those side-on tackles that looks especially appalling in slow motion. Morton tries to dispossess the Leicester man, goes in two-footed, misses the ball and goes into the ankle of Pereira. The replay shows the lower leg bowing like it’s going snap but it is just a fractured fibula, eight weeks in bed and a diet of strong painkillers.


Son on Gomes
This is one of those oh my God that looks appalling tackles that is so bad it makes players turn away and hold their head in their hands. In fairness Son is horrified by what his innocuous tackle from behind has done as Gomes’ teammates gather round the stricken player. He had a dislocated ankle. One of the foot-at-the-wrong-angle injuries which appalled fans in the crowd. The physio tried to put it back in but couldn’t and he spent five months out.


Taylor on Coleman
In a very physical game between Wales and Ireland this is a classic leg-breaker, Taylor dives in, shin high, for a ball he never stood a chance of getting and shatters Coleman’s leg. It looks to be a violent, not to say stupid challenge in a blood and thunder game. Wales manager Chris Coleman said it was “a good old British game” bristling with testosterone. Nothing wrong with a broken leg; it’ll make a man of you.