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5 Most Controversial Goal Celebrations in Football



Every football player who has scored a goal understands the need to feel celebratory. After all, the road towards scoring that coveted goal is not always easy and smooth. It requires hard work, patience, diligence.

The football fans, however, have seen some of the most talked-about goal celebrations. These celebrations border being disrespectful on the one hand and racist on the other hand. 

Here’s the five football goal celebrations that caused quite an uproar

1) Sam Clucas’ hand-and-eye gesture as a reference to a porn site’s logo

These gestures are a staple in the football world, but Clucas’ certainly made the mark. In February 2018, after scoring a goal, he celebrated by putting a “spying-like” gesture with his right hand on his right eye. 

It seemed innocuous at first until the fans and the media pointed out that it resembles the logo of a viral pornographic site. Clucas was clueless as to what he did. 

The Football Association (FA) looked into the matter. Swansea, his team, claimed that the player is not fully aware of the site. Clucas later apologised.

2) Emmanuel Adebayor run the entire pitch length to taunt Arsenal fans

Adebayor used to play for Arsenal before moving to Manchester City through a £25 million transfer fee. 

When he scored the goal, he ran across the field to face the fans hurling verbal abuse at him. In front of them, he slid on his knees and spread his arms. Mayhem followed.

The FA fined Adebayor to the tune of £25,000 and slapped him with a three-match ban for causing what could have been one of the worst public disorder. The commission also acknowledged that the fans were taunting him albeit in a hostile manner.

3) Nicolas Anelka’s seemingly anti-Semitic improvised gesture

Anelka is no stranger to controversy, but his 2013 goal celebration was the most contentious to date. He demonstrated a ‘Quenelle,’ which according to him was devised by his French comedian friend, Dieudonne M’bala M’bala. 

The latter claimed that it was indeed anti-establishment. The moot gesture was perceived as anti-Semitism and even dubbed as the inverted Nazi salute. Anelka denied that he was anti-Semitic.

The FA issued an £80,000 fine along with a five-match ban. It also cost the club a sponsorship, Zoopla, one of the co-owners of which is a Jewish businessman.

4) Paul Gascoigne playing the flute in front of the Celtics fans

Gascoigne chose a flute celebration that angered the Celtics fans at a match at Old Firm Derby in 1998.

Little did the Gazza know that the flute symbolises the Orange Order Marchers of Loyalism, a group of people who protested against the spread of Catholicism in Scotland. It evoked violence with religion as the basis.

The Scottish Football Association fined Gascoigne £20,000 and reprimanded by his club. He also received death threats from the IRA. 

5) Giorgos Katidis doing the real Nazi salute

Katidis made the controversial goal celebration in 2013 after scoring a late winner for his team AEK Athens. Afterwards, he ripped his shirt and did the Nazi salute. Doing it on the very day of Holocaust remembrance was extraordinarily careless.

This became Katidis devastating three seconds in the field as millions of people across Europe were outraged by his actions. He insisted that he did not know the meaning behind the gesture, but nobody believed him.

He earned what he probably deserved for doing it–a lifetime ban from representing his country. 

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