Messi and eight great footballers who cried

Carlo Garganese

Phil Foden admitted this week that he burst into tears after being ruled out injured of the Euro 2020 final.

This came just days after Lionel Messi heartbreakingly broke down during his Barcelona farewell press conference.

His exit was announced by Barcelona on Thursday and confirmed on Friday by club president Joan Laporta.

And on Sunday, Messi held his farewell press conference at Camp Nou during which he cried and wiped away the tears on several occasions.

So what other footballers have famously cried over the years?

Pele (1958)

Maybe the first famous example of a top footballer crying on camera was the great Pele during the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

At the age of just 17, Pele took the tournament by storm and scored two brilliant goals in the 5-2 final win over the hosts.

Pele was then lifted onto the shoulders of his teammates and paraded around the pitch at full-time. It was all too much for the young king to take.

Paul Gascoigne (1990)

England midfielder Paul Gascoigne burst into tears during the World Cup 1990 semi-final against West Germany in Turin.

With England’s match locked at 1-1 in extra time, ‘Gazza’ lunged into a late tackle on Thomas Berthold and was promptly booked.

This yellow card meant that he would be suspended for the World Cup final if England made it. Gazza was heartbroken, although his team didn’t make it anyway as West Germany won penalties.

Diego Maradona (1990)

Argentina legend Diego Maradona had an eventful 1990 World Cup, to say the least.

His blatant handball against the Soviet Union prevented Argentina from being eliminated in the group stages, he produced a moment of brilliance to assist Claudio Caniggia into knocking out Brazil, while he infamously played the villain in breaking Italian hearts in his beloved city of Naples in the semis.

But the most abiding memory was Maradona crying his eyes out during the awards ceremony after Argentina were controversially defeated 1-0 in the final in Rome by West Germany.

Samuel Kuffour (1999)

Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League final victory was the most dramatic ending to an elite football match the sport has perhaps ever seen.

Bayern Munich had dominated the game in Barcelona and led 1-0 going into injury time. But, Man Utd then scored twice in added-on time off corners through Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to steal the trophy.

It was all too much for Ghana defender Samuel Kuffour to take as he beat his hand onto the ground in anger and cried in disbelief.

Pavel Nedved (2003)

Pavel Nedved was the star of one of Juventus’ greatest European nights in 2003 as he scored the decisive goal to eliminate the Galacticos of Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.

Nedved thundered home a stunning volley to take the game away from the holders and set up a final meeting with AC Milan.

However, just minutes later Nedved was booked for a foul on Steve McManaman – a yellow which meant he would miss the Old Trafford showpiece. He wiped away the tears as he was substituted.

The Czech was sorely missed in the final as Juventus lost on penalties.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2004)

A teenage Cristiano Ronaldo burst onto the scene in the 2003-04 season for Manchester United and then took that form into the European Championship.

Ronaldo was the best young player in the tournament and his exploits helped take his country into the final on home soil.

Portugal were expected to beat minnows Greece in the final but fell to a shock 1-0 defeat. Ronaldo was left crestfallen, but he gained his revenge to take the trophy 12 years later.

David Luiz (2014)

The most traumatic game in Brazil national team history – after the 1950 World Cup final loss to Uruguay – came in 2014.

It was the World Cup semi-final and Brazil were hosting Germany, but completely collapsed and were thrashed 7-1.

David Luiz was particularly at fault as he produced a nightmare performance, prompting him to break down after the game.