PES 4 - 2004
Curse victim (1)... Pierluigi Collina (centre)
Almost had the rules changed on the retirement age for referees in Italy until he was seen advertising automobiles for Opel (rival team AC Milan’s sponsor) thus raising a conflict of interests. 2004.
Curse victim (2)... Francesco Totti (right)
Spat at Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen in Italy’s 0-0 draw with Denmark and was subsequently banned until the semi. Sadly, Italy got knocked out in the first round and Totti finished with the unwanted record of having accrued more red cards (1) than goals (0).
PES6 - 2006
Curse victim... Adriano (left)
The Inter Milan striker and all-round party boy compromised his true potential during the 2006/07 campaign by choosing the devil’s water over training hard. Due to the ill after effects of a late night drinking session, he was benched by manager Roberto Mancini and promptly dropped by Brazil coach Dunga. He’s never regained his explosive form.
PES 2008 - 2007
Curse victim... Michael Owen (centre)
An injury blighted season saw the Newcastle United and England striker's minutes limited thanks to a cruciate knee ligament operation in 2006. He returned in May 2007 only to be knocked unconcious by a collision with team-mate Matty Pattison during a game against Watford. Later on in 2007 he was back under the knife, this time with a double hernia op. Ouch.
PES 2009 - 2008
Curse victim... Lionel Messi
A recurrence of an old muscle tear injury laid the flying Argentinian out for six weeks.
NHL 2005 - 2004
Curse victim... Markus Naslund, Vancouver Canucks
Although the bad luck isn’t necessarily all on his shoulders, Naslund was at the centre of a bizarre war in the NHL. During a game against the Colorado Avalanche, opposing forward Steve Moore cleaned Naslund out with a forearm smash. The injury needed 13 stitches to repair and Naslund missed three games, but the referee did nothing.
Naslund’s team mate, Todd Bertuzzi, decided vigilante justice was in order. Later in 2004, in another match-up between the two teams, Bertuzzi exacted revenge by punching Moore in the back of the head and practically riding him down into the ice. A pile on ensued and Moore's neck was broken in three places. Bertuzzi was banned indefinitely by the NHL.
NHL 08 - 2007
Curse victim... Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes
In 2007, shortly after it was announced that he’d be the cover star for NHL 08, Eric Staal was arrested during his bachelor party. He was slapped on the wrists for disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process and ordered to pay a measley fine of $587. This is a mild one, so we're still waiting for the other skate to drop.
NBA Live 08 - 2007
Curse victim... Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
In 2008, Arenas required knee surgery for a niggling problem which saw him miss a majority of the season. The NBA hotshot became increasingly disillusioned at starting each game on the bench instead of on the court and even stormed out of the dressing room when a doctor suggested he wasn’t fit enough for the game that day.
MLB 06 The Show - 2005
Curse victim... David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
Although Ortiz broke a record in 2006 for most homeruns in a season for the Red Sox, he became unwell during day-night doubleheaders (when two games are played in one day, one in the afternoon and one in the evening). It turned out he had an irregular heartbeat brought on by the stress of these games.
Top Spin - 2003
Curse victim... Anna Kournikova
The sexy-siren of tennis retired at the end of 2003 at the tender age of 22. Prematurely bringing the curtain down on her career was attributed to a niggling back problem, but professional opinion suggests that her numerous modeling ventures meant she wasn’t training properly. We say the sport's loss is our gain.
Feb 17, 2009