Luis Suarez booked for spying on VAR… and other incredible red and yellow cards


While he’s no stranger to the referee’s notebook, Luis Suarez picked up what must surely be the strangest yellow card of his career during Atletico Madrid’s trip to Moscow on Tuesday evening.

With Atleti already 1-0 up, hosts Lokomotiv Moscow almost forged themselves a chance to equalise in the 20th minute when the ball struck Hector Herrera’s arm in the penalty area.

The decision went to a VAR review as referee Viktor Kassai trotted over to the touchline monitors to watch a replay of the incident.

However, Kassai was joined by Suarez, who decided to sneak a glimpse for himself.

Unfortunately, the Uruguay striker crept a little too close for Kassai’s liking, with the ref first doling out a quick yellow to Suarez for entering the VAR review area before also awarding the spot kick to Lokomotiv, which was duly converted by Anton Miranchuk and the game finished 1-1.

In keeping with that spirit, here’s a look at some of the strangest red and yellow cards.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney regularly fell foul of the authorities for his furious pent-up outbursts early in his career.

Aged 19 and getting a bit of a reputation for his temper, the Manchester United rebel picked up the oddest of his myriad red cards during a goalless draw against Villarreal in the Champions League in 2005.

Already frustrated and at the point of boiling over, Rooney was booked for a petulant foul in the 64th minute only to be dismissed seconds later for sarcastically applauding Kim Milton Nielsen’s initial decision inches from the referee’s face.

Josip Simunic

In what is perhaps the most infamous refereeing gaffe of all time, Simunic broke new ground at the 2006 World Cup when he accidentally became the first player to receive three yellow cards in the same game before being sent off.

The error was made by referee Graham Poll during the latter stages of Croatia’s ill-tempered game against Australia.

The flustered English referee first cautioned Croatian defender Simunic in the 64th minute, then again in the 90th minute, and then again in the 94th minute before finally remembering to retrieve his red card from his back pocket.

Unsurprisingly, FIFA were forced to step in and clear up the ensuing mess (which Poll later blamed on being confused by Australia-born Simunic and his Aussie accent) before removing the former from the officiating pool for the remainder of the tournament.

Kei Kamara

After scoring against Montreal Impact on the final day of the 2016 MLS regular season, New England Revolution striker Kamara decided to celebrate with a little dance in front of the fans.

Alas, the referee didn’t take too kindly to the provocative choreography on display and duly ensured Kamara became the first (and presumably last) professional footballer to be cautioned for twerking!

Gazza booked for booking ref

It’s fair to say Paul Gascoigne was a larger-than-life character during his playing days, but he got more than he bargained for when he tried to lighten the mood when Rangers met Hibs in 1995.

Referee Dougie Smith managed to drop his yellow card, so Gazza picked it up off the turf and “booked” the official before handing it back.

Mr Smith didn’t see the funny side, and duly returned the favour and cautioned Gazza. And it was Christmas, too!


While many players fully deserve the cards they so vociferously argue against, a thought should be spared for poor Danilo who picked up a yellow after being fouled… by the referee.

Playing for Porto in a cup game in 2017, Danilo was accidentally body-checked by the referee, Luis Godinho, who walked backwards straight into the unwitting defender only to promptly show the midfielder a yellow card.

Worse still, it came just three minutes after Danilo had received his first booking of the night, meaning that the defensive midfielder was sent off into the bargain.

After the match, the baffled player posted a clip of the incident on Instagram that he claimed he’d rewatched over a hundred times.

“I honestly cannot understand the criteria this gentleman used to make such a decision,” he grumbled… and with good reason!

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

It probably shouldn’t happen in the Premier League, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fell foul of a case of ridiculous mistaken identity during a prime clash between Arsenal and Chelsea in 2014.

The incident came about when Oxlade-Chamberlain dived to stop a Eden Hazard shot (that was actually heading wide) with his hand, only for referee Andre Marriner to send Kieran Gibbs off for the crime.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was even seen telling Marriner “it was me” in the ensuing muddle, though the ref stuck to his hideously wayward guns and ejected Gibbs instead, as the Gunners went on to lose 6-0 at Stamford Bridge.

In fairness, Marriner did later apologise for his error, saying he was “disappointed” in himself for failing to identify the correct player at the time.

Ashley Vickers

Dorchester Town player-manager Vickers thought he was doing his bit to help the struggling match stewards when he rushed to tackle a streaker who was disrupting a non-league derby against local rivals Havant & Waterlooville in 2011.

With proceedings brought to a halt by the mankini-clad gallivanter, Vickers stepped in to restore order by wrestling the man to the ground — only to be promptly sent off by the referee for violent conduct.

Vickers admitted that the red card left him dumbfounded as he was only trying to help, but thankfully sense prevailed when the red card was subsequently rescinded by the Football Association.

Jan Gunnar Solli

Hammarby midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli resorted to a classic example of schoolboy trickery while trying to dribble past his marker during a Swedish league game against Degerfors in 2014.

Finding himself quickly closed down on the flank, Solli quickly stuffed the bouncing ball inside his shirt and waddled past his opponent in an attempt to flaunt the time-honoured “No Hands!” loophole favoured by playground chancers the world over.

Alas, the referee didn’t take too kindly to Solli’s particular brand of ingenuity, giving a foul for obstruction and booking the Hammarby man for being a bit of an idiot.

Samuel Inkoom

After seeing his number come up on the substitute’s board, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk defender Inkoom began on the long trudge back to the bench during a Ukraine top-flight game in 2011.

However, while he made his way over to the touchline, Inkoom made the fatal mistake of removing his shirt — leading the overly stuffy referee to apply the letter of the law and book the Ghana international.

Unfortunately this was Inkoom’s second yellow of the game meaning that he had to be sent-off rather than subbed off, rather scotching Dnipro’s tactical switch in the process.


Brazilian footballer Cleberson managed to pick up a yellow card for attempting to the kiss the referee during a friendly game in 2007.

Cabofriense defender Cleberson was pulled up for a foul on an Ubiraci Damasio opponent, only to try to soften up the match official by planting a tender peck on his cheek.

The ploy didn’t work, with the referee reportedly admonishing Cleberson by yelling “You aren’t allowed to kiss me!” — which is fair enough, really.


We venture back to Brazil for one of the daftest dismissals on record, as Mogi Mirim defender Paulao left the field in a state of sheer bewilderment during a Serie B game against Bragantino in 2015.

After his usual No. 4 jersey became saturated with mud and sweat during the first half, Paulao donned a fresh shirt at half-time.

Unfortunately, he made the (perfectly innocent) mistake of pulling on a No. 3 shirt and emerging for the second half, only to be booked as soon as the referee noticed that the centre-back was inadvertently wearing the same number as teammate Fabio Sanches.

As you might have guessed, this was indeed Paulao’s second caution of the game meaning that by law he had to be banished back to the dressing room for the final 40 minutes of the encounter.


While slightly apocryphal, it’s generally agreed that the fastest red card shown to any player ever came in October 2000 when non-league striker Lee Todd was given his marching orders after less than two seconds.

The forward was lining up for Cross Farm Park Celtic, and the referee got things under way by forcefully blowing his whistle right beside the player.

“F— me, that was loud,” said Todd, only for the ref to dismiss him on the spot for foul and abusive language.

Lana Del Rey reveals love for Liverpool

It’s not a name you immediately associate with Liverpool Football Club, but Lana Del Rey has lent her voice to the soundtrack of a new documentary about the club.

The U.S. pop star has recorded a special, haunting a cappella version of the Reds’ anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for the forthcoming series, details of which are still scarce.

Del Rey is no stranger to the Kop, having confessed to being a Liverpool fan in the past and even visiting in 2013 to watch a game against Tottenham.

“I was introduced to Liverpool FC by my manager, whose mood is dependent on the Liverpool results,” she told the club’s official website before the match.

“I’ve not had the chance to attend a game before but I’ve watched Liverpool on TV before. It’s great to actually come to Anfield.”

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