Full-blooded challenges gone? Not when this man steps on the pitch…

A footballer playing in the 1980’s or 90’s would never expect an injury free game. Players would fly into challenges at a hundred miles an hour, not get booked and would usually see the game out. But that age of football has gone, and punishment for poor discipline on the pitch is fatal.

In the Spanish and Italian league, we see players roll around on the floor if another player so much as trips them up and others will insinuate that a bone has been broken if their opponent so much as pushes them.

 

This playacting wouldn’t have happened during the Vinnie Jones and Roy Keane eras where fouls and tough tackles came as second nature to athletes and although big challenges can be criticised, winning the ball in a heated battle is a very satisfying sight.

 

However, these type of tackles are one’s that players tend to avoid doing in today’s footballing world with the strictness of officials showing yellow cards for even the most lenient of fouls.

But there are still a few, a small section of players who still wear their hearts on their sleeves, with their team in their thoughts, and with the sound of the crowd behind them when they go in for a tackle. One man, who has shown his combative style of defending, is Swiss right-back Gaetano Berardi.

“How do you tackle a player who’s shielding the ball in front of you? Tackle him in the knee! And before you do that, punch him in the stomach!” – Nemanja Vidic in FourFourTwo.

 

Now it would be safe to assume that players who go crashing into others would pick up a lot of bookings – but this season that hasn’t been the case for Leeds United’s fan favourite.

Even though his first season with the Whites saw the 28-year-old pick up a shocking two red cards from his first three starts, Berardi’s discipline has drastically improved, receiving only two bookings this season.

The Leeds faithful have been known to be hard to please, but with Berardi still crippling players with his feisty feet, the Leeds fans have got what they’ve longed for; a committed, clever and passionate defender.

 

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