A small handful of players have committed the ultimate act of betrayal by intentionally putting the ball into their own net.
Steve McMahon (England)
England played a friendly match against a local Sardinian XI, which included a teenage Gianfranco Zola, in preparation for Italia '90. The game served a dual purpose: it gave Bobby Robson's team a chance to receive some match practice before the tournament, and it helped forge relationships with the locals on the island where England would be located for the group stage.
The FA warned away fans that acts of hooliganism may harm the Three Lions' hopes at a period when English fans were feared across Europe and tensions were high. Therefore, McMahon of Liverpool was told to take the ball at kickoff, advance it the wrong way up the field, and score an own goal.
Chelsea defender Gallas forced through a contentious move to Arsenal on transfer deadline day in 2006. The Blues hadn’t intended to sell, and took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement to suggest their hand was pushed by the player himself. He then threatened to score an own goal, get himself sent off, or make purposeful mistakes if he was forced to play or if he was chastised and monetarily penalised for his infringement of the rules.
Gallas has acknowledged his desire to depart, but he has denied making any overt threats against the Blues. It's a shame it never came to that, at least from the perspective of neutrals.
Ernst Happel (Austria)
Happel was a misery to play for, despite being the first man to win the European Cup as a manager with two separate clubs and collecting a number of domestic titles in his native Austria. The Guardian reports that when the Rapid Vienna team was winning, the center defender would take aim at his own goal on purpose, telling his close buddy and goalkeeper Walter Zeman, "Lucky for you I didn't strike you in the head or else you'd be dead."
Happel did it again at the international level when Austria was winning 15-0 in a tune-up game before the 1954 World Cup and he fired a 25-yard drive that went straight into the back of the net. The defender wanted, he claimed after the game, “to show the opponents how to score”. Charming.
too: Austria were leading 15-0 in a warm-up game before the 1954 World Cup when Happel fired a 25-yard drive into his own net. After the game, the defender said, "I just wanted to teach the other team how to score." Charming.
Effendi rolled the ball into his own net as time expired in a low-intensity game played on a terrible pitch with the score tied at 2-2.
The Indonesian defender Effendi went to great pains to avoid Vietnam, much like American draft-evaders. In a 1998 Tiger Cup group stage match, the victor would advance to meet hosts Vietnam, while the loser would play lowly Singapore.
Effendi rolled the ball into his own net as the Thailand players vainly sought to stop him with the game at a low energy level on a horrible pitch tied at 2-2. He was permanently barred from playing for Indonesia, and the team ultimately lost against Singapore. Justice. https://youtu.be/zokUPp_nj_c
Andrea Masiello (Bari)
To put it bluntly, Masiello has no shot at the Academy Award. In 2011, the defender was on the field for Bari, a team who had already been demoted from Serie A, against Lecce, a team that needed a win in the season's penultimate game to ensure their own survival. Masiello, with his team already down a goal in front of 19,000 supporters, awkwardly poked a cross into his own net from close range before collapsing on the goalline in fake grief.
He was given a 22-month suspended sentence after admitting that he had been offered more than €50,000 to manipulate the game. Masiello was among nine players arrested in a massive operation that resulted in a seven-point deduction for Bari the following season and the subsequent relegation of Lecce to Italy's third division. Unsurprisingly, Masiello's acting career hasn't taken off and he still doesn't have a club.
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