Top XI: Footballers With Scars

By Chris Wright

For, in time, the body just becomes a museum – a house of pain…

11. Jo, Man City

There aren’t too many ‘Top XI’ lists that Jo is likely to find himself on of late but, seeing as though he has had a 4cm scar above his left eye ever since using his face to cushion his fall after tripping over a doorstep as a youngster, the Man City wastrel slips in at No. 11 – y’know, just to throw him a bit of a bone…

10. Alan Hansen

The only thing that stopped Hansen getting the Bond job that he was clearly destined for was the fact that Pierce Brosnan didn’t run through a plate glass window aged 15, leaving him needing 2 hours’ worth of surgery and 27 stitches in his forehead…

9. Park Ji-Sung, Man Utd

The photoshoppers of South Korea are kept in steady employment thanks to Park’s unfortunately tenacious adult acne…

8. Holger Badstuber, Bayern Munich

Sealed with a kiss. The German defender has a little heart-shaped pock on his left cheek…

7. John Hartson

Big John was left with a large scar after undergoing surgery to remove cancerous tissue from inside his cranium after being told that his testicular cancer had spread to his brain and lungs in 2009. Mercifully, the operation was a success and Hartson has since been cleared to return to his punditry – a tale documented in Celtic Dragon 2: The John Hartson Story, which is available on DVD from (very) specialist stockists…

6. Joleon Lescott, Man City

It’s been flagged a up few thousand times that Lescott’s forehead scar – a result of being hit and dragged down the road by a car outside school, aged 5 – lends him a certain ‘Klingon’ air, and who are we to argue?

5. Jose Manuel Catala, Villarreal

If anyone knows what’s going on here, please share. I simply cannot find any information on Catala’s facial burn scar/ humongous birthmark anywhere…

4. Antonio Cassano, Milan

The one-time enfant terrible of Italian football has always looked distinctly middle-aged up close, thanks chiefly to his prominent acne scars.

Legend has it that, while at Real Madrid, Cassano had a skin graft to cover his scars and was told to avoid direct sunlight for at least 4 days. Two hours after the operation he was photographed sunbathing. The bloody mentalist…

3. Carlos Tevez, Man City

Poor old Tevez had a rough start to life, partly due to being brought up in the crime-and-drug-riddled neighbourhood of Fuerte Apache and partly due to the fact that, aged just 10 months, little Carlitos suffered third degree burns to his face, neck and chest after tipping a pan of boiling water all over himself.

After being picked up by Boca Juniors, Tevez was offered expensive cosmetic surgery to help cover his scars, but he refused as a matter of self-acceptance, later saying:

“It was a defining experience and it marked me for life. I won’t have plastic surgery. You either take me as I am or you don’t. The same goes for the teeth. I won’t change the way I am.”

You tell ’em boyo…

2. Franck Ribery, Bayern Munich

Everybody’s favourite underage prostitute-botherer was landed with his ‘distinctive’ look after being involved in a nasty car accident in the suburbs of Paris as a two-year old. The crash threw young Franck through the windscreen of his parent’s car and left him needing over 100 stitches in his facial wounds, hence the two long scars running down the right-hand side of his mug…

1. Iain Hume, Preston North End

Hume sports a huge, horseshoe-shaped scar on his head after having his skull dented inwards by the elbow of Sheffield United’s resident old-fashioned reducer/bouncer/moronic thug Chris Morgan while playing for Barnsley in November 2008. The Scottish-born Canuck continued to be discharged and re-admitted from hospital for months after the assault before finally making a miraculous first-team comeback at the tail end of June 2009  – a full nine months later…

Bonus inclusions…

Charlie Davies, DC United

Davies was invloved in a serious car accident that killed a fellow passenger in October 2009. The American striker himself suffered a lacerated bladder, a fractured right tibia and femur, a fractured elbow, several facial injuries and bleeding on the brain.

(Thanks to Mark Yesilevskiy for the spot)

Cristian Chivu, Inter Milan

Chivu suffered a compressed fracture to his skull following a sickening collision of heads with Chievo striker Sergio Pellissier in January 2010. The Romanian has played in a protective Cech-style helmet ever since.

(Thanks to Moondunce for the spot)

Any more we’ve missed? Give us a nudge below.

In fact, anyone want to share any footballing-related scar stories?

Personally, I’ve got a large, hairless pink smear running down the centre of my right shin where some other feckless blighter slashed me open with the studs of his Reebok Sidewinders several years ago and a left knee that doesn’t work properly after being bashed backwards (by a flailing midfield enforcer who called himself ‘Piggy’) that killed my dreams of making it several years ago – not that I’m bitter…much.

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  1. James says:

    How the hell Chris Morgan was EVER allowed to play football again is a mystery. Biggest dick in football, that challenge should have brought a jail sentence.

  2. moondunce says:

    identical to no.1: Christian Chivu

  3. The Belgian says:

    2 scars, one for each knee, after surgery for torn ligaments and menisci. This happened in 2 different incidents, after which I decided to quit football, seeing I was never going to be a pro anyway. I love the game though, and everytime I see a football I still can’t help but kick it.

  4. Charlie Davies for sure

  5. Chris says:

    @Moondunce & Mark Yesilevskiy: Two great shouts, wish I’d have included both now…in fact, a bit of jiggery-pokery is in order here.

  6. anon says:

    ” The crash threw young Franck threw the windscreen” ??????????

  7. Steve says:

    @anon: what about that sentence confuses you?

  8. Chris says:

    @Steve: ‘Anon’ was quite right – there were a couple of Friday mind-melts that needed sorting.

  9. Boixos by the Bay says:

    Holy shit, didn’t know that about young Carlitos. And his response to Boca’s offer of plastic surgery? Well, new-found respect for the fool I always thought was just a poor (rather wealthy) ugly monkey.

  10. steve says:

    haha ok i just noticed what was wrong with that sentence, apologies to anon.

  11. blitzen says:

    Jose Manuel Catala: Looks like an ordinary port wine birthmark to me. They aren’t that uncommon.

  12. Terry Sheddingham says:

    Oh, and this one as well: “The American himself striker suffered…”

  13. ELDV says:

    I’ve got a small scar on my lip from when i was 9. I scored a goal during a wet playground football session, and ran off to celebrate wild. My arms waving wildly above my head, I lost balance and slipped on a manhold cover – the landing ripped open a quarter of my top lip. There was blood everywhere. Had a butterfly stitch and returned to a hero’s welcome that afternoon.

    Can I be on the list?

  14. yahhhsteve says:

    How ’bout Clichy?

  15. Davy says:

    Number 5. He will have been born with it, it is known as a port wine stain birthmark

  16. Raulito says:

    Ive got a scar on my rigth shoulder. I had to have surgery after being tackled by a humongous monkey. Broke my shoulder in pieces….

  17. Gilly says:

    I have four scars on my left leg from breaking both bones of my lower left leg playing football. One of thems four inches long.

  18. mali says:

    catala’s disease is Sturge Weber…just reseach over it…i’m so sure about it because my brother has the sendyrome

  19. Rats says:

    It is not necessarily sturg webber syndrome, I think it is a standard port wine stain type birthmark. He is probably having lazed treatment for it, they are very good now.

  20. Piggy says:


  21. Liam says:

    An updated version of this article would almost certainly have to have Andre Gray in it.

    Let’s not forget the one on Peter Shilton’s chin either.

  22. murphy says:

    Scar or hairstyle??
    At the bottom of hairline on Delé neck Tottenham hotspur player there’s a scar or weird hairstyle mark!! Any body know what this is ???

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