• First XIs

The banned United

Robin Hackett
May 17, 2012
Bayern Munich thrashed Atletico Madrid in the replay © PA Photos

The Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea will see an incredible seven players missing due to suspension. Here, we take a look at other stars who have been banned for European football's biggest match.

Jovan Miladinovic (Real Madrid 2-1 PARTIZAN BELGRADE, 1966)
Tempers boiled over in the semi-finals of 1966. Manchester United, who had thrashed Benfica 8-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, suffered a huge disappointment as they performed wretchedly in a 2-0 defeat in the next game at Partizan Belgrade.

For the return leg, United were struggling to reduce their deficit, and in the 63rd minute, with tensions reaching fever pitch, both teams were reduced to ten men: Jovan Miladinovic and Paddy Crerand were dismissed for fighting. "It was a free-kick for us but he was holding the ball and wouldn't put it down," Crerard explained. "I knocked it out of his hand and he grabbed me by the throat." After that, they were - in the words of The Guardian - "flying like cats at one another".

United won the game one 1-0 but Partizan, minus their inside left, had booked their place in the final. There they met Real Madrid, who had overhauled their squad following the Di Stefano era, and though Partizan took the lead through Velibor Vasovic in the 55th minute they were unable to hold on as Amancio Amaro and Fernando Serena turned it around.

Ruben Ayala, Ruben 'Panadero' Diaz and Quique (Bayern Munich 4-0 ATLETICO MADRID, 1974)
Under manager Juan Carlos Lorenzo - who had been in charge of Argentina's notorious 1966 World Cup side - Atletico produced a display in the semi-final first leg against Celtic so incendiary that the Scottish club's chairman, Desmond White, begged the fans not to travel to Spain for the return. The Bhoys even took the step of instructing travel agents not to take bookings from Glasgow, fearful of what might happen with passions riding so high.

UEFA had been called to throw Atletico out after a match at Celtic Park in which they committed 50 fouls, many waist-high, and saw three players sent off and a further five booked; instead, UEFA issued a then-record £14,000 fine and warned Atleti that any further trouble in the return leg would result in the "ultimate sanction".

"I tried to calm down the tension by showing some yellow cards early on but the players just couldn't stop playing hard," referee Dogan Babacan said. "I sent off Ruben Ayala for his second yellow. The next player I sent off was Panadero Diaz but the third was very interesting. His name was Quique and he came on after 76 minutes - and 15 seconds later saw my third red card. This time it was a straight red.

"There can be no question marks over my performance. The French newspaper France Soir wrote that I was the best referee in Europe that night and the English media reported that Turkey should be proud to have a referee like me, but of course the Spanish were a bit mad at me."

The match ended in a 0-0 draw. UEFA ruled afterwards match that the three players sent off would have their bans extended to cover the remainder of the competition that season, while three others were banned for the second leg due to bookings. There were concerns that Atleti would not even be able to field a team against Celtic on home soil, but the second-string side they did put out won 2-0 and reached the final.

There, Atletico recorded a 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich after extra time, forcing a replay for the first time in the competition's history, but to no avail - they ended up getting thrashed 4-0.

Leeds were without Gordon McQueen for the final © Getty Images

Gordon McQueen (Bayern Munich 2-0 Leeds United, 1975)
Leeds had developed a reputation for what is euphemistically referred to as "agricultural football" under Don Revie, and they did little to shake off that image when Jimmy Armfield took charge for the 1974-75 season.

They were a good team, though, and beat Barcelona 2-1 in the semi-final first leg at home before securing a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou. Leeds were 1-0 up after seven minutes of the second leg courtesy of Peter Lorimer, but Barca gave themselves real hope in the 69th minute when Manuel Clares levelled. Their chances were boosted afterwards when McQueen lost his temper. As Clares put it after the match: "We went for the ball together and he punched me in the face." McQueen explained that Clares had been holding him down repeatedly as they jumped for the ball but added: "There is no excuse for what I did. I regret it but acted in the heat of the moment."

Leeds booked their place in the final with Bayern Munich for what proved an extraordinarily bitter match in Paris. Bjorn Andersson and Uli Hoeness of Bayern both suffered serious injuries as a result of tackles, while Leeds saw two penalty appeals rejected and had a goal controversially disallowed. Bayern then scored twice in the final 20 minutes, prompting the Leeds fans to riot. UEFA handed Leeds a four-year European ban, which was reduced to two years on appeal.

Klaus Augenthaler (Porto 2-1 Bayern Munich, 1987)
Bayern captain Augenthaler, a one-club man, endured a miserable relationship with the European Cup. In 1982, he was part of the side beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa, and in 1991 his last-minute own goal sent Red Star Belgrade through to the final.

In 1987, the defender missed the final through suspension, and was deserving of some sympathy. Augenthaler had scored the opener as Bayern won the first leg of the semi-final 4-1 against Real Madrid; in the second leg, a 1-0 defeat at the Bernabeu, Augenthaler was sent off after half an hour for giving Hugo Sanchez a light cuff around the head. The Mexican, it hardly needs saying, made the most of the attack and Bayern's captain was dismissed. "Yes, I made contact with Sanchez, but it was simply a reflex action after he kicked me here," Augenthaler explained, pointing to his privates. "I couldn't believe I'd been sent off."

In the final, Bayern conceded two late goals to succumb to a 2-1 defeat to Porto in Vienna.

Roberto Donadoni (AC Milan 1-0 Benfica, 1990)
Donadoni was ruled out of the 1990 final following a moment of madness in the quarter-finals. Milan had drawn 0-0 with Belgian side Mechelen in Belgium, and Donadoni was one of the few Milan players to play to potential in the return leg. However, in extra-time, with the score at 0-0 and Mechelen down to ten men, Donadoni lost his cool and threw a right hook at Geert Deferm. He was instantly dismissed

Milan later appealed the three-match ban, claiming a single match was punishment enough, but UEFA disagreed, and Donadoni missed the semi-final against Bayern Munich as well as the victory over Benfica in the final.

Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta (AC Milan 4-0 Barcelona, 1994)
AC Milan were a goal to the good in their one-legged semi-final against Monaco at San Siro but, in the space of two first-half minutes, they had lost their two central defenders. First Franco Baresi was booked in the 38th minute for tripping Youri Djorkaeff and then Alessandro Costacurta, already booked for a foul on Jurgen Klinsmann, was sent off for a high tackle on the German. Replays showed Costacurta had not actually touched the striker, but he writhed in pain, the referee bought it, and Milan were in trouble.

They ended up beating Monaco 3-0, but Fabio Capello was downbeat: "This rule must be changed. Players like Costacurta and Baresi deserve to play in the final." He was forced, as he later put it, "to invent a new defence for the match" against Johan Cruyff's Barcelona, with Paolo Maldini moving from the left to the centre. It proved a raging success: the underdogs beat the "Dream Team" 4-0, as described in an earlier Rewind article.

For Costacurta, there was to be more disappointment two months later. After picking up a booking in the World Cup semi-final victory over Bulgaria, he was suspended for the final as Italy lost on penalties to Brazil.

Michael Reiziger and Massimo Carrera (Ajax 1-1 Juventus - Juve won 4-2 on penalties, 1996)
Michael Reiziger, then regarded as one of the finest defenders in world football, missed the chance to pay the perfect farewell to Ajax before joining AC Milan after picking up bookings in both legs of the 3-1 semi-final victory against Panathinaikos. Juventus were also without a defender due to suspension: Massimo Carrera, who had picked up a yellow card in the semi-final second leg defeat to Nantes, was also ineligible.

Inevitably, the focus ahead of the game was on the Ajax man - particularly as they were also without Marc Overmars due to injury - and the defensive reshuffle enforced by Reiziger's absence left the Dutch giants uncharacteristically uncertain at the back. They lost the game, albeit on a penalty shootout, and the feeling was that the absentees had been decisive. "You can put some other players in, but the quality is always less because otherwise they would be in the first XI," Ajax captain Danny Blind said afterwards.

Roy Keane and Paul Scholes missed Manchester United's Champions League win © PA Photos

Roy Keane and Paul Scholes (MANCHESTER UNITED 2-1 Bayern Munich, 1999)
Following a 1-1 home draw in the first leg of their semi-final with Juventus, Manchester United went into the return game in Turin with five players a booking away from suspension: Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Denis Irwin, Phil Neville and Ronny Johnsen. Having fallen two goals inside the opening 11 minutes, it had hardly seemed important, but Keane sparked a revival with a goal on 24 minutes as United claimed an eventual 3-2 win.

However, Keane - who put in a career-defining performance that night - was booked on 32 minutes as he over-stretched while trying to dispossess Zinedine Zidane. "I'm hurting inside, but I'm not going to ponder on this," Keane said. "I knew as soon as I was booked that I was out of the final but I just hope we go on and won it because Manchester United are bigger than any one person." Scholes, who had started the game on the bench, also ruled himself out of the final when he fouled Didier Deschamps and then protested the free-kick, leaving the referee little option. "It's a tragedy we have lost two players of such quality after a game that wasn't dirty," Alex Ferguson said. "There was no need to have any bookings."

United were to face Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou in the final and, courtesy of injury-time goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, won the game 2-1 in one of the most famous comebacks of all-time. Keane, who would likely have missed the final in any case due to injury, was not entirely complimentary about his team-mates' triumph in his absence, later writing in his autobiography: "My belief was we had been lucky against a Bayern Munich team that bottled it."

Pavel Nedved (JUVENTUS 0-0 AC Milan - Milan won 3-2 on penalties, 2003)
Pavel Nedved had drawn the plaudits after Juventus beat Real Madrid's Galacticos 4-3 in the 2003 semi-finals. Following a 2-1 defeat at the Bernabeu, Nedved had been inspirational in Turin, and he scored the decisive goal, making it 3-0 in the 73rd minute before Zinedine Zidane's late consolation.

Unfortunate, the Czech Republic star followed his goal with a wild, and needless, foul on Steve McManaman that saw him booked and ruled out of the final. "I am so disappointed," he said afterwards. "I won't play in the final and I am so sad I could die. I made a mistake."

Juve boss Marcello Lippi said that, should they beat AC Milan in the final, the success would be dedicated to Nedved and added he was "very, very saddened" by his suspension, but he remained confident: "If we were a team based on one player then, yes, the loss of Nedved would have been a major negative factor, but in any match you always have to have a solution to any problem that will arise."

Nedved was to be sorely missed in a final that failed to ignite and, after 120 minutes without a goal, Juve were defeated on penalties.

Darren Fletcher, Eric Abidal and Dani Alves (BARCELONA 2-0 MANCHESTER UNITED, 2009)

Both Manchester United and Barcelona asked UEFA to consider rescinding the suspensions issued for the 2009 Champions League final. Darren Fletcher had been sent off for a foul on Cesc Fabregas during the semi-final victory over Arsenal despite replays confirming he played the ball first. Eric Abidal, meanwhile, was sent off for a perceived foul on Nicolas Anelka in the semi-final second leg against Chelsea - he later admitted he "sacrificed" himself by bringing down his compatriot - and Dani Alves had received a booking in the same game. Pep Guardiola said Barca had spoken to UEFA "out of respect" for the players.

UEFA responded to the requests by insisting "there were no grounds" to appeal and the trio all missed the final in Rome. It had been expected that United would take advantage of a Barcelona defence featuring Yaya Toure out of position, but Barcelona claimed a comfortable 2-0 victory and began a new era of dominance.

Franck Ribery and Thiago Motta (BAYERN MUNICH 0-2 INTER MILAN, 2010)
Both finalists were robbed of important players for the 2010 final, and both felt some indignation over the matter.

Franck Ribery was shown a straight red card during Bayern's 1-0 semi-final first-leg victory over Lyon for his tackle on Lisandro Lopez's ankle. The offence carried an automatic one-match ban, and Bayern made clear that they felt it more than sufficient punishment: director of sport Christian Nerlinger said he was "very shocked" by the dismissal, manager Louis van Gaal described it as "harsh" and chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called it "unfortunate". UEFA, though, issued a three-match ban for Ribery's "assault", and upheld its decision when Bayern appealed.

Thiago Motta, meanwhile, had been sent off 28 minutes into Inter's semi-final second leg at the Camp Nou for throwing a hand towards Sergio Busquets' neck. The Barcelona midfielder went down clutching his face, and Motta was incensed. "I have seen the television pictures of how he looks up to see what action the referee is going to take and then continues rolling over," he said. "It is not the first time he has done it and UEFA should really do something about it." UEFA's only action was to suspend Motta for two matches, ruling him out of a final that Inter won 2-0 courtesy of a Diego Milito brace.

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