‘Hand of Crouch’: Stoke striker joins Maradona, Henry, Suarez and Messi on handball wall of shame

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Rarely has beanpole English striker Peter Crouch been compared to mercurial Argentina legend – and new manager of Fujairah – Diego Maradona. But when the lanky Stoke City forward used his hand to guide home a consolation effort in a 4-1 defeat to Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday, he elevated himself into collective memory of those who scored by unfair means.

He is not alone, of course. Swipe left/right on your browser to see who else Crouch shares an unwanted affiliation with. Compiled by Steve Luckings.

1). Peter Crouch – Stoke City v Arsenal, 2017

“Hand of Crouch” does not quite have the same ring as “Hand of God”, but at least the former’s effort did not end up costing the opposition points or elimination from a World Cup. When Crouch was introduced as a second-half substitute in Stoke City’s Premier League match against Arsenal at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday, the intention from home manager Mark Hughes was clear: get balls into the box for the tall striker to use his considerable height advantage to attack. When Marko Arnautovic supplied from the left for Crouch to reduce the arrears to 2-1, it looked a legitimate goal in real time. Television replays, however, showed he had palmed the ball in rather than used his head. The sooner replays are introduced to assist referees the better.

2). Diego Maradona – Argentina v England, 1986 World Cup quarter-final

Undoubtedly the most famous handball goal of them all. Even 31 years after the event, it still puzzles how the Tunisian referee thought that Diego Maradona, who stands just 5 feet, 5 inches tall, could have outjumped England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, eight inches taller, without the use of a trampoline or illegal use of an arm. While the goal nearly sparked an international incident, given the two country’s hostilities to each other over the Falklands War just a few years previous, it overshadowed what was to follow. Maradona, who will take charge of Division One club Fujairah for next season, slalomed through the majority of England’s defence and midfield to score what was voted the Goal of the Century. England were eliminated 2-1 at the quarter-final stage and Maradona cemented his legacy and stained it in just 90 minutes.

3). Thierry Henry – France v Republic of Ireland, World Cup qualifying play-off, 2009

The only one on this list that does not involve the culprit himself scoring. Thierry Henry’s now infamous handball to set up William Gallas’s winner in the second leg of their play-off to reach the 2010 World Cup left the men in green screaming in fury at the Swedish referee Martin Hansson. France’s captain handled the ball not once but twice with his left hand before squaring the ball across the face of goal for Gallas to head home. So blatant was Henry’s misdemeanour it took most of the French supporters a few seconds before they realised that Hansson had blown his whistle to signal a goal and not a free kick to Ireland. Missing one blatant handball in a crowded penalty area can be forgiven, but twice was ridiculous. It cost Ireland a place at the finals in South Africa.

4). Luis Suarez – Liverpool v Mansfield Town, FA Cup third round, 2013

Just minutes after coming on as a substitute against Mansfield Town Luis Suarez sunk the plucky non-leaguers’ hearts with a goal that should not have stood. The Uruguayan, whose time at the club was mired in controversy, burst his way into the box and scored to make it 2-0 to Liverpool in the 59th minute, with his hand, one so clear it defies belief how referee Andre Marriner and his officials managed to miss it. Mansfield were also aggrieved that three penalty claims against Liverpool players for handball were not given, but Suarez’s goal by unfair means smacked of favouritism towards a Premier League giant over the little guy.

5). Lionel Messi – Barcelona v Espanyol, Primera Liga, 2007

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has emulated more than Maradona’s sublime skill. In a 2007 Primera Liga match, Messi’s Barcelona were trailing 1-0 to city rivals, Espanyol. The desperate Messi flung himself at a Gianluca Zambrotta cross and punched the ball into the goal. Somehow, the goal stood as none of the officials appeared to see the transgression. Of the 500 plus goals Messi has scored in his Barcelona career, this is one that should have been expunged.