When Dida’s WWE Act Vs Celtic Saw Him Fake An Injury And Get Stretchered Off
When Dida's horrendous error saw Milan concede a last-minute winner to Celtic, the keeper probably figured his night had hit rock bottom - but it somehow got instantly worse.
A celebrating home fan running on to the pitch then brushing the Brazilian's face was out of order, but at this point Dida has two options: A) Grim-faced acceptance or B) Chase the fan and boot him into the air (we're not encouraging that - but come on).
Somehow Dida chose the even worse secret option C) Halfheartedly run after the intruder, change your mind after a few steps, drop to the deck as if snipered, then have the paramedics stretcher you off as you clutch an ice pack to your clearly undamaged face.
Oh Dida, what were you thinking? Even the WWE requires more contact than that for a wrestler to collapse in supposed agony.
The bizarre end to the 2007 Champions League group game meant the strapping, 6ft 5in goalie had become a figure of instant ridicule.
Not that UEFA saw the funny side. While Celtic were fined £25,000 for the pitch invasion, Dida was handed a two-match ban for failing to conduct himself "according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship."
Milan's lawyer, Leandro Cantamessa, called the ban "illogical" - but that could easily apply to Dida's actions on the night. Even if he'd dropped instantly on feeling contact, nobody watching would believe him genuinely hurt - but his aborted attempt to turn and chase, before thinking better of it, made it utterly farcical.
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In defence of Dida, he was probably feeling the pressure even before Scott McDonald's 90th-minute winner.
Twice a Champions League victor, plus a World Cup winner in 2002, Dida's form was nose-diving faster than his trip to the Parkhead pitch. The once great keeper had become known for alarming mistakes - and this one, gifting Celtic a win against the champions of Europe, was clearly too much.
Frankly, if you gave us the option of a stretcher out the building after we'd made a horrific gaffe at work, we'd likely take it too.
UEFA eventually showed some sympathy and reduced his ban to just one Champions League game, which Milan won 4-1 against Shakhtar Donetsk. But when Dida inexplicably dived the wrong way to concede Esteban Cambiasso's winner for Inter in Serie A in December, he was finally dropped.
Still, that 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park ensured the Milan derby was only Dida's second-most embarrassing flop to the turf of the 2007/08 season.
All imagery: PA Images
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