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Ryan Giggs and his imaginary card waving hatred

When players are guilty of making poor challenges, it is usual that opposition players react by surrounding the referee. For example, when Vincent Kompany made a rash challenge on Nani during our FA Cup clash against City last season, Wayne Rooney ran straight to referee Chris Foy.

“Funny how people think I got Kompany sent off,” Rooney said afterwards. “I’m not the referee. I didn’t give the red card. But it was a clear red card – a two-footed tackle.”

Years earlier, when Rooney was judged to have stamped on Ricardo Carvalho at the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo was one of five Portuguese players to surround the referee. Rooney was sent off and this country claimed that Ronaldo was at fault.

“As I protested my innocence, Ronnie started waving an imaginary card around, getting in the ref’s face,” Rooney has said of the incident since. “The official pulled out the red and I was off. An early bath. Tournament over. When I walked to the tunnel, I knew I couldn’t really blame -Ronaldo for what had happened because he was trying to win the game for his country. Besides, in the first half I’d tried to get him booked for diving, so I was as bad as him really.”

Essentially, when players get sent off, whether they deserve it or not, the fans and players get pissed off and they look for someone to blame. But let’s not kid ourselves in to thinking that every time someone makes a bad challenge that players on the opposition don’t question the referee over whether they are going to book them or send them off.

Hosting such a diverse league, with players from all over the world, means that not everyone playing in the Premier League can speak English very well. So when language forms a barrier, players mimic an “imaginary card” gesture to referee. This is no different than what the English speaking players do in every single game and it probably holds less sway over the ref than someone saying “come on ref, that was reckless with two feet off the ground” or “the ball was long gone then ref, surely that’s a red?” Still, for whatever reason, people in this country go bonkers over an IMAGINARY CARD.

Ryan Giggs is one of these people. Yesterday, when David Luiz held his ankle whilst chuckling away following a challenge from Rafael, Oscar marched straight over to Howard Webb and held up an IMAGINARY CARD. Well, this sent Giggsy absolutely wild. Now, you may think that Giggs was just caught up in the heat of the moment. Despite winning a 13th title, nine more than Chelsea FC have done in their entire history, Giggs is a winner and competitive, so was pissed off that Oscar was trying to influence the ref moments after we conceded a late goal. However, it appears as though this imaginary card business is something that really grates on our veteran winger.

During the 2007 Champions League semi-final, Kaka was caught waving the imaginary card, leading Giggs to angrily confront him.

Last season, during United’s league game against Wigan, Franco Di Santo raced over to referee Phil Dowd to wave an imaginary card after Jonny Evans was guilty of a poor challenge. Dowd responded by booking both Evans and Di Santo, but that didn’t stop Giggs have a pop at Wigan’s captain, Gary Cadwell, over the incident.

Yesterday, following Oscar’s imaginary card, Giggs had to be pulled away from him, but was still chastising the Brazilian’s team mates over his actions. “Don’t wave imaginary cards,” Giggs said after the game. “We don’t do that here.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Hans says:

    Giggsy is absolutely right. It is a pathetic behaviour trying to get someone sent off.

    If only the referees started booking players who waved imaginary cards, they’d stop waving them!

  2. mm says:

    fuckin hypocrite

  3. ak47 says:

    it’s supposed to be a yellow card offence, dont get why ref’s have stopped dishing out cards for it

  4. NBI Red Onion says:

    Yes waving is worse, subconsciously we imitate acts we see, for example, eating dinner you tend to mimic other people, it just distracts the ref and adds more pressure on him, a gesture speaks more loudly than words. Fact.

    Saying that I think most refs are more clued up but I am sure there is some influence and maybe the more in your face players are the more the ref is distracted and pressured, they are human, being hounded is not fun.

    Giggs is right. We don’t f-in do that. Someone has to teach them.

  5. NBI Red Onion says:

    Also, I don’t a agree, all foreign players in the EPL can say the words card ref, red card, yellow card,foul whatever, it’s not a language issue. Their culture is just more expressive.

  6. bluegilly says:

    Utd players are the worse in the league for trying to influence the ref.

  7. FletchTHEMAN says:

    I hat card waving as much as diving. It’s just trying to influence the ref. That said, you do wonder if it isn’t part of the reason that England and a host of similarly minded countries won’t ever progress to a World Cup or European Final. The same countries progress every year, spain france, Italy, argentina, brazil….

    Like it or not Divers and simulators seem to get results. It is part of the reason that I refuse to watch Real and Barca play. Just turns my stomach.

    Stay on your feet! You frekin clowns!

  8. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Off topic:

    Former trainee Paul Pobga has been suspended for the remainder of the season for spitting on Palermos Aronica

    Gutted for the lad…… NOT! :lol:

  9. Costas says:

    Oscar will learn. He’s still young. I still have a bigger issue with how that twat rolled around smiling and then rolled around smiling a bit more.

    Speaking of twats, any word as to why Chelsea didn’t form a guard of honor?

  10. eltricolor2014 says:

    Rafael got entrapped by the clever Luiz but Webb led it carry on all game long by allowing physical play. Now of course, the PL is physical but fore-arming someone across the chest to bump someone off the ball is foul. That’s pretty much what made Rafael lose it. But Luiz is a scoundrel like Luis Suarez and two-footed buttock fouling Sergio Aguero.

  11. Bobby Charlton's Combover says:

    Giggs has form for this too but in the photos at least he’s doingit to other players and not the ref!

  12. DJScouseinDaHouse says:

    Haha. the serial shagger is not fit to lace OZcard’s boots and he is being all moral here

  13. bah_humbug says:

    DJScouse – got any Phil Collins mate?

  14. Wakey says:


    The guard of honour is only applicable in the game after the title is officially wrapped up.

    @Bobby Charltons Combover
    The pictures aren’t of Giggs telling the players they should be booked/sent off. They are after the player has waved the imaginary card at the ref and Giggs telling the player that what they did isn’t really acceptable

  15. stephen says:

    No you rag,s all gather round the ref screaming like a load of school girl’s.
    While baconface is on the toutchline waveing his fist and bursting a bloodvestle.

  16. Bobby Charlton's Combover says:

    @wakey – my fuck up. I never saw the captions under the pics. I am a tit.

    To Stephen and Dj Scouse. Fuck off.

  17. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ DJScouseinDaHouse – yeah Giggs know a cunt when he sees one, hence his calling out your freaks.

  18. Costas says:

    Bacon face? Really? Not much creativity at the Wastelands I see.


    Is that so? Thanks.

  19. GENTLEKEZ says:

    Does it mean dat d FA will not punish luiz for elbowing Raf. And I also think that Raf should appeal

  20. Kings says:

    Stephen – go away you uneducated cunt

  21. Kings says:

    DJScouseinDaHouse – Fuck off you self pitying cunt.

  22. Red Devil Canuck says:

    Lol. Giggs is awesome.

  23. King Eric says:

    Bah humbug. Phil Collins. Quality.

    Djscousecunt. THE funniest thing I’ve heard on here. Giggs not fit to lace Oscar’s boots. Show him your medals Ryan. Ignorant bastard.

  24. King Eric says:

    Stephen. And winning titles pal.

  25. Dec says:

    So he’s done it 3 times in his career, little bit of an overreaction saying he’s got some sort of vendetta against people who wave imaginary cards

  26. Harphyz Figoman from Lagos, Nigeria says:

    Most of those ABUs on this page are merely attention seekers. It’s just pathetic how they believe they can waddle in here and cause a mockery of a commotion. If u don’t get recognised on ur clubs’ pages, u won’t get here.

    @Bah_humbug; nice comment on the cheap scapes…

  27. Jorge Curioso says:

    Waiving imaginary cards is apparently a worse offense than committing adultery.

  28. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Jorge – Adultry is at least real, so consequences acceptable, imaginary cards are completely fake, so consequences not acceptable. What you think oscar isn’t shagging your wife?

  29. NBI Red Onion says:

    isn’t JT your ledgend?

  30. calebkzh says:

    Don’t know if you guys noticed Luiz throwing his arm across Rafael to get him off his back TWICE before the foul. He was doing that arm-across-challenger thing the whole game.

    Whenever he runs with the ball and gets challenged, his first reaction is not to try and move the ball with his feet; he’ll throw his arm across the challenging party, or throw his body in the way. Pisstake.

  31. King Eric says:

    Luiz is a total cunt and only last week the press were running articles about his over the top tackles and two footers he constantly gets away with.

  32. BerbaGod says:

    Don’t like people waving imaginary cards but it’s just as much a part and parcel of the game nowadays like diving and feigning injury, definitely more of a continental thing but just have to get on and deal with it.

  33. LuizLover says:

    Luiz was smiling at the abuses from Man Utd fans around the corner area. Apparently he was also called “sideshow bob” whom he clearly resembles and that made him smile. And this happened BEFORE the ref dished out the red card. So he clearly wasn’t aware of the refs decision while smiling.

    No need to get so riled up guys. Luiz’s behavior is sometimes like that of a 10 year old, but that doesn’t mean he is a bad human being. He has his negative side just like everyone else but from what I gather he has a heart of gold. Just ask the disabled children he helps out at every opportunity he gets in his schedule.

  34. kel says:

    I dont really feel much about waving imaginary cards. What i cant stand most is the players being push act as if they are dying and rolls on the floor. That action makes me spill most. Worst than waving imaginary card.

  35. Daniel88 says:

    Watched a game in the CL recently when a player waved the imaginary card and the referee booked him and didn’t book the player who fouled him … which … he really should have.


  36. everydayislikesunday says:

    Hating imaginary card waving? It’s an old school footballer’s thing, old school pro, identify with yourefellow professionals and not with the authority out on the pitch. Same reason people don’t trust coppers. Should be able to sort it out ourselves kind of thing.

  37. itachi uchiha says:


    your players get opposition players sent off by dirty cry baby tricks

    our players win trophies


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