Worst Debuts in Football History of All Time
You know that any player’s first match in any sport can go good or bad, depending on their performance. So let’s see the Top 10 Worst Debuts in Football History of All Time.
Every player makes mistakes and has poor performances, including the best. Form, fitness, tactics, and pressure can all affect individual performances in football. In addition, it is crucial to show respect and empathy to players who have made mistakes or had difficult debuts, as they are human beings who have challenges in their careers.
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Worst Debuts in Football History
Career: 1988 – 1997
Ali Dia is often regarded as having one of the worst debuts in football history. After convincing Southampton manager Graeme Souness that Dia was the cousin of renowned footballer George Weah, Dia got signed by them.
Dia’s debut for Southampton ended in disaster, as he was substituted just 20 minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Career: 1987 – 2009
Massimo Taibi, an Italian goalkeeper, made his debut for Manchester United in 1999. His debut turned into a nightmare when he let a seemingly easy shot from Matt Le Tissier slip through his legs, causing Southampton to score. As a result of Taibi’s mistake, the media dubbed him “The Blind Venetian,” and his career at Manchester United ended abruptly.
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Career: 1986 – 194
Position: Centre Back
Colombian defender Andres Escobar had a tragic debut at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. During a match against the United States. Escobar accidentally scored an own goal, which ultimately contributed to Colombia’s elimination from the tournament. Escobar was later shot and killed in Colombia, and his death was believed to be connected to his own goal. It was one of the most tragic events in football history.
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Career: 1992 – 2013
Goals Scored: 97
We know that David Beckham is widely recognized as one of the greatest football players of his generation, but his debut for England’s national team in 1996 didn’t go as planned. He received a red card for a reckless foul against Argentina in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, which led to England’s elimination from the tournament and widespread criticism and backlash from fans and media.
Country: Ivory Coast
Career: 2001 – 2016
Position: Right Back
Goals Scored: 15
Ivorian footballer Emmanuel Eboué had a difficult debut for Arsenal in the English Premier League in 2005. Eboué made a series of mistakes after coming on as a substitute, including conceding a penalty and a costly own goal, which led Arsenal to lose. Eboué later had a successful career with Arsenal and other clubs despite this challenging start.
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Career: 1988 – 2016
Position: Centre Back
Goals Scored: 9
English defender Jonathan Woodgate’s debut for Real Madrid in 2005 is often considered one of the worst debuts in the club’s history. In his debut match against Athletic Bilbao, Woodgate scored an own goal and received a red card after struggling with injuries and fitness issues.
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Paolo Di Canio
Career: 1985 – 2008
Goals Scored: 126
Paolo Di Canio, an Italian forward, had a difficult debut for Sheffield Wednesday in the English Premier League in 1997. As a high-profile player, Di Canio was sent off for pushing the referee during a game against Arsenal, resulting in a lengthy ban and a tarnished start to his English career.
Career: 2003 – 2008
Goals Scored: 146
German striker Stefan Kießling’s debut for the German national team in 2007 didn’t go as planned. During a friendly match against Denmark, Kießling missed an open goal from just a few yards away, leading to widespread criticism from fans and media as it was considered a major blunder.
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Career: 2009 – Present
Position: Winger, Striker
Malaysian footballer Faiz Subri had a challenging debut for the national team in 2016. Subri miskicked a free-kick attempt during a friendly match against Saudi Arabia, resulting in a seemingly harmless looping shot that unexpectedly went in. While Subri’s goal won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of the year, his debut was initially marred by its unfortunate nature.
Career: 1999 – 2019
English goalkeeper Robert Green had a difficult debut for the England national team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Green fumbled a seemingly routine shot from Clint Dempsey in a match against the United States, allowing the ball to slip past him and into the goal. As a result of Green’s mistake, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
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Career: 2005 – 2021
Position: Winger, Left-Back
Goals Scored: 21
Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrão had a tough debut for Real Madrid in 2011. After joining the Spanish club from Benfica, Coentrão made a defensive error that resulted in a goal for Barcelona in a high-stakes El Clásico match. Coentrão’s debut was further spoiled by being sent off with a red card later in the same match, leaving Real Madrid with 10 players and ultimately losing the game.
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