Whether he is in the colours of Barcelona or playing for the Argentina team, there is no denying that Javier Mascherano is a feisty customer on the pitch. Usually, though, his tough tackling is confined to those on the opposing team.
On Tuesday evening, however, the central midfielder made an exception and earned himself one of the most bizarre red cards in recent years.
Nearing the final whistle of a punishing 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw away to Ecuador, the former Argentina captain went down and required medical treatment. As per usual, a motorised stretcher appeared on the scene and began to escort Masche away from the action. Nothing too strange so far.
Suddenly, though, and in full view of the television cameras, the prostrate star's trip to the sidelines was disturbed by a jet of water aimed at him by one of the accompanying medics. Showing the same commitment to the challenge as he does on the pitch, Mascherano's response was to fling his left boot out at the offender.
Enjoy the Barcelona man's moment of madness in GIF form via 101 Great Goals.
The game suddenly turned into anarchy, and referee Enrique Caceres decided it was best for the player not to reenter the action, sending him off while still on the stretcher. Curiously, Mascherano was well enough to stand once more, choosing to walk into the dressing rooms rather than continue his journey with the irate medic.
Stretcher dramas notwithstanding, Argentina stay top of the South American World Cup standings, having survived a fierce onslaught to earn a point against the hosts.
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