Four worst debuts in football after Joao Felix’s Chelsea horror show
Graham Potter on Chelsea's defeat to Fulham
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Joao Felix’s Chelsea career got off to a nightmare start on Thursday evening as he became the first player to be sent off on their Premier League debut for almost a decade after lunging into a reckless tackle against Fulham. To rub salt into the Blues’ wounds, the Cottagers went on to win the game and pile more pressure onto manager Graham Potter. With the Portuguese sure to be kicking himself now the dust has settled, Express Sport takes you through four other dreadful football debuts…
The Norwegian arrived at Manchester City last summer under the weight of great expectations, having scored at a remarkable rate with Borussia Dortmund. Since, he has gone on to terrorise English defences and he looks well on course to shatter the record for most goals in a single Premier League season.
However, it wasn’t an instant love affair between City fans and Haaland. The rangy frontman made his debut against Liverpool in the Community Shield and he was marked out of the game by Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, while he also missed a host of high-quality chances, including a virtually open goal in the dying embers of the match.
Encouragingly for Felix, even the very best have moments of madness and Messi is no exception. Before the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was the towering football figure he is today, he had a disaster of a debut for the Argentina national team in 2005.
Handed his international bow as a teenager, the former Barcelona youth prospect emerged from the bench just after the hour mark but was sent off just two minutes later for a tackle on Hungary star Vilmos Vanczak. The electric forward was supposedly then found tearful in the dressing room.
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The Ivorian signed for Arsenal in 2011 and quickly became a cult hero with his distinctive look and exciting style of play. He suffered a rocky start at the Emirates, however, as just like Felix, he was sent off on his debut.
Amid a back-and-forth with Joey Barton, who played for Newcastle United at the time, Gervinho went down under a challenge before being forcefully picked up by the ex-England international. The former Gunner responded by striking Barton in the face, which promptly saw him given an early bath.
Known as possibly the worst debut of all time, Woodgate not only suffered the embarrassment of having a poor game for his new club, but also did so under the bright lights of the Bernabeu. Eyebrows were raised in the early 2000s when Real Madrid forked out to sign Woodgate from Newcastle United, while injuries meant he got off to a slow start.
In fact, the centre-back had to wait a full year for his Los Blancos debut, and when it finally came against Athletic Bilbao, he scored an own goal and was sent off. Things didn’t get much better for Woodgate in the Spanish capital as he made just nine league appearances in two seasons.
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