Ten (10) Most heart-breaking pictures of famous footballers (Photos)

Footballers, like humans, suffer heartbreaks and more often than not these make for telling stories and can be best captured in pictures.

Football, the beautiful game, fills our lives with some incredible moments and unforgettable memories. But football, just like everything else in life, is cruel at times, brutal even to the best of footballers, none are spared from its wrath be it Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo, Lionel Messi or even Cristiano Ronaldo.Here we take a look at the heart-breaking pictures of the most famous footballers. So without further gilding the lily, we present to you 10 such pictures:
#10 James Rodriguez

World Cup is one tournament where more often than not, emotions are running high. The same happened with Colombian sensation James Rodriguez who couldn’t control his emotions after his team were knocked in the quarter-final of the 2014 World Cup following a 2-1 loss against hosts Brazil.
The hosts took an early lead through Thiago Silva in the 7th minute before David Luiz doubled the lead in the 69th minute, but James had ensured that the match was set up for an exciting finale having scored from the spot, only 10 minutes from time. Colombia bombed forward in search of that elusive equaliser, and despite trying everything that they could and then some, La Tricolor couldn’t find it, and with it, their hopes of knocking out the hosts and reaching the final were quashed.James was distraught after the final whistle for he had been one of the best players in the tournament and didn’t deserve to go out like that, and it took a lot of consoling from his teammates and David Luiz to comfort the Colombian hero. Talking about David Luiz...

#9 David Luiz

Only in the next game of the tournament – the semi-final – it was David Luiz who had to be comforted after what was one of Brazil’s darkest nights in their rich footballing history.Hoping to win the World Cup on home soil, Brazil had marched to the semi-final and were facing Germany at Estadio Mineirao in front of a capacity crowd of 58,141. However, what unfolded in the first 30 minutes of the game was something no Brazilian had ever thought of even in their worst nightmares.The Brazil team bereft of Neymar were exposed on the break and self-combusted as the Germans – led by Toni Kroos – hit 5 goals past them before the half-hour mark, crushing the dreams and the souls of the 11 playing, the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home. Die Mannschaft added 2 more goals in the second half before Oscar pulled one back as Brazil suffered one of their most humiliating losses of all time.David Luis was visibly dejected after the game and Thiago Silva – who had missed out on the game due to an injury had to console his teammate.
#8 Steven Gerrard

Life has never been fair, and there is no one who knows it better than Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard. Anfield’s favourite son had given his blood and sweat for the club, yet during his 17-year long first-team career with the Reds, the Premier League title always eluded Gerrard.However, things could have been very different for the Liverpool hero but for one cruel incident. On 20th April 2014, after having secured a narrow 3-2 win over Norwich City, Liverpool were at the top of the table and in pole position to win their first-ever Premier League title. After the game, the players formed a huddle and Gerrard addressing his teammates famously said: “This does not f****g slip now!”.But fate had a different plan for Gerrard and the Reds. In their very next game against Chelsea at Anfield, a backpass was played towards Gerrard – who slipped – and this allowed the Blues striker Demba Ba to latch on to the ball before going and scoring past Simon Mignolet to open the scoring. Liverpool suffered a 2-0 defeat against Jose Mourinho’s side that day and the loss all but ended any hopes of a first Premier League title for both Gerrard and Liverpool. While the Reds are still in search for that elusive first title, Gerrard has retired.
#7 Iker Casillas

San Iker was a loyal servant to Real Madrid – a club where he had spent 25 years of his life. Yet in May of 2015, as Los Blancos prepared for the arrival of Manchester United superstar David De Gea, they forced their captain and long-time number 1 out of the club.A press conference was organised – in extreme haste – where Casillas’ departure was announced. The legendary shot-stopper broke down during his farewell, and later his parents accused club president Florentino Perez of forcing Real Madrid’s favourite son out of the club. It was only ironic that De Gea’s proposed move to Santiago Bernabeu fell through due to a paperwork fiasco at the very last moment.
#6 Bayern Munich

It is often seen that teams and not just individuals are left devastated after they lose a penalty shootout, and it was no different for the Bayern Munich players on 19 May 2012. However, it was the occasion and the location that adds semblance to this heart-breaking loss.Jupp Heynckes’ side were looking to win their 5th UEFA Champions League while Chelsea were hoping to win their first. After 120 minutes of football, which saw the momentum swing from one side to the other, Allianz Arena – Bayern Munich’s home ground which was the venue for the final – prepared for a nervous penalty shootout.The Germans converted all of their first three penalties while Chelsea’s Juan Mata saw his tame shot saved by Manuel Neuer. However, Ivica Olic’s penalty was then saved by Petr Cech before the Czech international tipped Bastian Schweinsteiger’s penalty onto the post. It all came down to Didier Drogba’s spot-kick in the tense shootout, and the Ivory Coast international made no mistakes to win Chelsea their first UEFA Champions League, thereby breaking the hearts of Bayern Munich.The Bavarians had lost the penalty shootout in their own backyard in front of their very own fans, and the anguish of the loss was too much to bear for the Bayern Munich players who collapsed to the ground.
#5 Santiago Canizares

Bayern Munich successfully put to bed the ghosts of their dramatic 1999 UEFA Champions League final loss to Manchester United by beating Valencia in the final of the 2001 edition of the competition. The Bavarians beat Los Che courtesy of a 5-4 penalty shootout win after Mauricio Pellegrino’s spot kick was saved by Oliver Kahn to crush the hopes of the Spanish side.However, as soon as the game finished, Kahn went to console his opposite number who couldn’t believe what had just transpired. Canizares was unbelievable on the night and had even saved a penalty in regulation time to keep his side in the hunt for their first-ever Champions League triumph. He had even denied Patrik Andersson in the shootout, but his heroics were not enough as the Germans won.Not only was Kahn’s gesture one of the most touching ever seen on a football field, but it was also a show of true sportsman spirit, which even earned him a fair play award. 
#4 Andrea Pirlo

Pirlo is one of the most decorated, stylish and charismatic footballers of all-time apart from being arguably one of the greatest in his position. However, even the greats suffer heartbreaks, don’t they?Going into the 2015 UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona, Pirlo probably knew it was his last chance to add another feather in his cap, having already won the competition on two occasions.However, Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus were put to the sword by the Spanish outlet, who inspired by Messi-Suarez-Neymar recorded a 3-1 win over the Old Lady. Pirlo couldn’t hold back his tears after the loss, and it required some comforting by his teammates to ease the pain of the Italian.
#3 Zinedine Zidane

Considered by many as one of the greatest to have ever graced the beautiful game, Zinedine Zidane’s swansong was one he would like to forget and one which he mostly likely regrets to date.Going into the final of the 2006 World Cup, Zizou had already announced that it would be his last game for club and country and was awarded the Golden Ball – for being the best player of the tournament. The French midfielder put his side ahead against Italy with a spot-kick in the 7th minute before Marco Materazzi equalised 12 minutes later.The game headed to extra-time and it is then that the drama unfolded. In the 110th minute of the match with the game evenly poised, Zidane headbutted Materazzi in the chest and was shown a straight red card. It was later learnt that Zidane was provoked by the Italian defender, who had uttered provocatives about the Frenchman’s sister causing Zidane to lose his temper.
#2 Lionel Messi

While his biggest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, succeeded in helping his national team break their duck and win their first-ever major international honour, the same cannot be said about Lionel Messi.The fleet-footed Argentine has captured the imagination of one and all with his skills and his ability to unlock defences at will. However, Messi has had a far more successful club career than he has had one with his national team, due to many reasons which will be touched at a later point in time.Messi’s first heartbreak with the national team came in 2010 when Argentina were thumped out of the World Cup in the quarter-final by a rampant Germany. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that he understood the true meaning of despair.In the final, Messi’s Argentina came up against Germany and after having missed numerous chances to kill the game were undone by a Mario Gotze goal. The diminutive Argentine had guided his team to the brink but couldn’t get them over the line and the World Cup that he desired so badly escaped from his grasp. A World Cup win that would have cemented his position as the greatest of all time.He did win the Golden Ball for being the best player of the tournament, but he failed to win what he was hoping for. He was seen gazing at the World Cup from mere inches, and the photograph was even voted the best sports image of 2014.Having failed in 2014, Messi led Argentina at the 2015 Copa America looking to end La Albiceleste’s international drought of 12 years, however, once again he tasted defeat in the final, this time against neighbours Chile courtesy of a penalty shootout loss.

He didn’t give up. He prepared, he guided, and he led – almost admirably – and took Argentina to the brink once again in the Copa America Centenario in 2016 but was denied once again by Chile, again through a penalty shootout loss and this well and truly broke Messi. The fleet-footed Argentine who had started on the quest to conquer the world had failed on 3 successive finals in 3 consecutive years. He was in tears, tears that he couldn’t control with the emotions that overwhelmed him as he questioned himself – what more must I do to win a trophy with my national team?In the angst of his 3rd successive loss, he even announced his premature retirement from international football, a decision he has since then gone back on. But his wait, Argentina’s wait for that elusive World Cup continues a World Cup which will surely cement his legacy as the greatest to have ever laced a boot. For now, he waits...
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has cemented his place in the pantheons of the greats of the game, but the Portuguese had to suffer a lot to reach there. While success with his clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid were easy to come by, it was triumph with the national team that eluded him.Portugal were the hosts of the UEFA Euro 2004 and had managed to set up a final showdown against Greece – a fixture which had kickstarted the tournament earlier. However, despite being favourites, A Selecção suffered a shock 1-0 loss against the team playing in only their second-ever European Championship.The Portuguese had never won a major international trophy and despite coming within touching distance of winning the Euro at home were denied at the final hurdle. Cristiano Ronaldo, still only 19 years of age, was heartbroken and in tears after the referee blew the full-time whistle and had to be comforted by his teammates and other team officials.However, this was not the end of his failures with the national team. Cristiano soon established himself as one of the best footballers on the planet but failed to guide his team to triumphs in the 3 World Cups that followed along with the 2 European Championship.

In Euro 2016, after helping his team reach the final, Cristiano Ronaldo had another opportunity to vanquish the ghosts of the 2004 loss with a win over hosts France. But as fate would have it, the 4-time Ballon d’Or winner had to be substituted 25 minutes into the final.Portugal went on to win the final courtesy of a goal from Eder helping them win their maiden major international honour while allowing add a trophy with the national team to Cristiano’s resume. A happy ending one could say after a series of heartbreaks.
Source: All Football

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