Biting an opponent is one of the biggest sins a professional athlete can make while playing on the court or on the field. Big time athletes are no strangers to these strange occurrences that can take place either because of frustration or just a reaction to a given play. No other athletes have ever been singled out more for biting than Luis Suárez and Mike Tyson. Suárez bit opponents on three separate occasions, while Tyson famously took a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear in a world heavyweight boxing match.
Now both might have new company as French midfielder Paul Pogba claimed after yesterday’s Euro 2020 match between France and Germany that Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger bit him near the end of the first half. Pogba immediately reacted and told the referee of the strange incident. Nonetheless after the 1-0 French victory, Pogba told the media: “I'm not crying for cards, yellow, red cards because of such actions. He nibbled, I think, a little bit on me. But we have known each other for a long time.”
While Pogba may not seek sanctions UEFA may, and the incident immediately brought back memories of past biting incidents that continue to be discussed even today. Here is a look back at past soccer biting incidents!
Luis Suárez bites three opponents
Luis Suárez at one point in his career was a “serial biter”, In 2010 the Uruguayan goal machine was suspended seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal on the shoulder. At Liverpool in 2013 he got ten games for biting Chelsea's Branislov Ivanovic on the arm, the icing on the cake was in the 2014 World Cup when Suárez dug into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder, even stranger was what happened afterward, Suárez was thrown out of the World Cup, not even being allowed to stay in the country, and received a four month ban from all soccer activity.
Jermain Defoe bites Javiar Mascherano
In a Premier League match between Spurs and West Ham, Defoe took a bite out of the Argentine after a challenge from behind. Defoe quickly turned around and, on the field, leaped and bit Mascherano on the left shoulder.
Vinnie Jones bites journalist
In 1995, hardman Vinnie Jones bit journalist Ted Oliver on the nose in a hotel in Dublin, Ireland. A heavily intoxicated Jones did it for giggles, and while Oliver stood bleeding Jones responded: “I always do that to people!”
Oliver Kahn bites Heiko Herrlich on the neck
In 1999 during a Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund match, the tough goalkeeper went into a state of frenzy as Kahn bit Heiko Herrlich on the neck only to later try a flying kick on striker Stephane Chapuisat. At least he admitted that there was an "internal force inside me signaling: I can't go on like this."
In a Spanish La Liga game between Sevilla and Valladolid in 2001, Jose Antonio Reyes of Sevilla was bitten by his own teammate in a scoring celebration. Francisco Gallardo bit Reyes in the groin, Reyes was more concerned about the locker room banter than the actual act: "I felt a bit of a pinch, but I didn't realize what Gallardo had done until I saw the video… The worst thing about it is the teasing I'm going to get from my teammates."