There are few things more embarrassing in football than being substituted on and off in the same match.
Whether you’ve been injured, put in a shocker or have simply been sacrificed for a tactical shift, making that long walk off the pitch just minutes after coming on never feels nice, and there are plenty of players who have had to go through that.
Let’s take a look at ten of those unlucky players.
Being subbed on and off in the same game is rough, but imagine seeing it happen to you twice.
The first time it happened to Chelsea‘s Callum Hudson-Odoi was against Watford in 2018. He entered the game in the 43rd minute as a replacement for the injured Pedro, but was forced off with his own injury towards the end of the game.
It’s bad, but it’s not as bad as what happened to him against Southampton three years later.
Hudson-Odoi came on at half-time but managed just 31 minutes before being hauled off, with manager Thomas Tuchel admitting that he didn’t like the winger’s attitude. Ouch.
Everton were 1-0 up in the 70th minute when Kean was brought on, but he didn’t even make it to the full-time whistle, instead returning to the bench in the 88th.
Kean looked stunned as he left the field, blanking manager Duncan Ferguson as he stormed to the bench. Six months later, and Kean was shipped off to PSG, where he has been proving what he can do when given more than 18 minutes in a match.
Aaron Lennon managed 21 caps for England, but he might wish he could erase one of them from his memory.
We’re taking a trip back to the 2006 World Cup quarter-final. Lennon started on the bench but came on early in the second half to replace the injured David Beckham, a few minutes before Wayne Rooney was sent off for his infamous kick-out at Cristiano Ronaldo.
The game went to penalties, but in the 119th minute, it was decided that Lennon was no good for a shoot-out, so he was brought off for Jamie Carragher, who went on to miss his penalty anyway as England crashed out.
After 16 minutes, Roberto Mancini’s side were 1-0 down and had lost Carlos Tevez to injury, so it was over to substitute Balotelli to save the day.
Spoiler alert: he did not save the day.
Liverpool powered home two more goals before the break, and towards the end of the game, Mancini decided to go for damage limitation as he hauled Balotelli off for Nigel de Jong.
Here’s a story that’s funny to everyone apart from Marco Medel and the rest of his Santiago Wanderers team-mates.
The Chilean midfielder was brought on shortly after half-time in a meeting with Universidad de Concepcion in February 2015. He jogged on to the pitch but managed to injure his knee in doing so, and he had to be taken back off after just ten seconds.
The game ended 0-0 and Wanderers went on to miss out on the league title by a solitary point. Had Medel’s introduction gone better, he might have had his hands on a trophy.
Chelsea’s 2015/16 season got off to an outstandingly poor start. Jose Mourinho publicly berated a physio for doing her job, and just a few weeks later, he was hanging Nemanja Matic out to dry.
His side were drawing 1-1 at half-time against Southampton in October 2015, at which point the boss hauled off Ramires for Matic.
With Matic in midfield, Chelsea went on to concede twice in 28 minutes, before the Serb was sent back to the bench as Mourinho looked for a goal that never came.
This ended up becoming a recurring trend for Mourinho…
Sacked by Chelsea soon after that Southampton loss, Mourinho’s next job took him to Manchester United, where he reunited with the man who he had booted out of Stamford Bridge, Juan Mata.
The boss’ first game in charge was the 2016 Community Shield. Mata started on the bench but entered the game in the 63rd minute as a replacement for Jesse Lingard.
The Spaniard managed just 30 minutes before being hauled off in stoppage time, with Mourinho insisting (via BBC Sport) that Mata was too small to defend all the long balls coming their way.
His genius tactical decision was to replace Mata with well-known long-ball defender Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who stood a whole three inches taller.
It’s the Mourinho hat-trick, and there’s no claiming Marouane Fellaini wasn’t tall enough for the gig.
United were outplayed 2-0 by Tottenham in January 2018, with both goals coming inside the opening 28 minutes. Paul Pogba had struggled massively, so he was brought off in the 63rd minute, with Fellaini’s entrance signalling United’s intent to send in 1,000 long balls.
Seven minutes later, that plan came to an end as Fellaini was brought back to the bench, with a knee injury supposedly to blame.
Just 11 Bundesliga games into his Bayern Munich career, Leroy Sane was the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons.
Sane joined the game in the 32nd minute as a replacement for the injured Kingsley Coman, but with his side still in search of a winning goal 36 minutes later, it was decided that the expensive German needed to be benched in favour of 17-year-old Jamal Musiala.
“When we make substitutions, we have to do it sensibly,” manager Hansi Flick said (via Goal). “If you see the second half, Thomas Muller is indispensable, Serge Gnabry improved in the second half, that’s why I substituted Leroy Sane.
“We had to react like that because there was no other option.”
Infamously remembered as the game that sent Emmanuel Eboue’s Arsenal career on an irreparable spiral, the Ivorian defender had a game to forget against Wigan in 2008.
Brought on for the injured Samir Nasri and asked to play as a left midfielder, right-back Eboue was undoubtedly dreadful, making mistake after mistake and tackling his own team at times.
He managed to make it all the way to the 90th minute, at which point Arsene Wenger threw him under the bus by bringing him off. Arsenal fans cheered the decision and booed Eboue as he walked off the field. It was actually a little tough to watch.