Famous Five: From Messi to Maradona, the handballs that stood

Raul Ruidiaz literally handed Peru victory over Brazil at the Copa America that sent the Samba Boys packing and got us thinking of five examples of handball efforts that stood.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
13th June 2016

article:13th June 2016

Brazil were controversially eliminated from the Copa America after suffering a 1-0 Group B defeat to Peru in Foxborough.

Raul Ruidiaz scored the winning goal 15 minutes from time (above) but appeared to turn the ball into the net with his hand and Brazil protests were waved away by referee Andres Cunha after a two-minute discussion with his linesman.

Peru’s win saw them top the group to set up a quarter-final meeting with Colombia, while Brazil will go home after only finishing third in the group.

It got us thinking about other famous examples of handballs going unnoticed, so we decided to list five examples here.

Which stand out in your memory and did any of these happen for or against your own team?

Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.



What better way can we kick (or punch) this list off? Easily the most famous handball of all-time, Diego Maradona stole the headlines at the 1986 World Cup for both all the wrong and right reasons when his Argentina side saw off England in the quarters. With the score still 0-0, Maradona – a full eight inches shorter – challenged England ‘keeper Peter Shilton for the ball and miraculously managed to beat the Englishman and find the net. It was latter revealed he had some divine intervention, something Maradona’s second goal may have actually ended up proving more than this controversial first.


Many comparisons have been drawn between Maradona and Lionel Messi that go beyond national identity and are firmly rooted in the mesmerising skill the pair have on the pitch. Messi drew further comparisons when he replicated Maradona’s mazy run at that 1986 World Cup when playing for Barcelona and it seemed that match had an immense impact on the Argentine. Look no further than this effort against Espanyol that truly channeled the spirit of Maradona and also evaded the gaze of the referee or his assistants.


Are handballs not punished in Argentine football? You start to get that feeling when looking through this list as Sergio Aguero follows in the footsteps of Messi and Maradona. The now Manchester City forward was playing for Atletico at the time against Recreativo when the ball bounced his way across the box and found the striker with the goal gaping at his mercy. For some reason, young Aguero decides to go with his hands rather than his head when the latter was as simple as the former to convert. Oh well, he got the same outcome and the goal stood. Note here that Aguero has a son with Maradona’s daughter whose godfather is Messi. If he isn’t in goal then keep your eyes on him!


This one rivals Maradona’s for possibly the cruelest example of the list. The scene was the second-leg of the 2010 World Cup playoff, the Irish levelling the tie in France at 1-1 and sending it into extra-time. Ireland sensed a first World Cup appearance since 2002 but they were denied a flight to Brazil 2010 thanks to the left hand of Thierry Henry. The former Arsenal man firstly looked marginally offside when a free-kick was boomed into the Irish box, one he then retrieved from going out for a goal-kick with a deft touch off his left paw before squaring for William Gallas to nod home. Talks of a replay followed and Henry admitted his crime but nothing was doing and France sauntered off to South America. It’s alright though, they were rubbish.


Another one that will be deemed as harsh, this one comes from the 2001 Champions League, a time when Leeds were a heavy spending English force hell bent on domestic and continental glory under David O’Leary (yes, David O’Leary). They went to the Bernabeu with high hopes of a big scalp but were instead shown how the bigger boys play a different kind of game to that in Yorkshire. The Galacticos stole one here as Real’s legendary forward Raul added to his already bulging Champions League record with a raised hand in a muddled box. He ran away pleased as punch (get it?), while Leeds went on to slide down the table, sell their best players, face administration and are now run by an owner more keen on sacking managers than winning football matches.



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