1- Daniel Passarella, not playing in the 1986 World Cup
There has been much speculation over the years why Daniel Passarella did not play for Argentina in the 1986 World Cup. The official reason was that he was suffering from intestinal problems (infernal diarrhea) that resulted in him losing 14 kilos.
Some have speculated that Bilardo had sidelined him because he was along with Ubaldo Fillol a holdover from Luis Cesar Menotti’s era.
A few years ago Fillol went as far as to suggest that Bilardo had given Passarella a laxative that made his condition even worse.
Passarella himself has does not believe that he was sabotaged but did say that he had not received proper medical care.
Passarella believes that he had eaten or drank something contaminated.
Photo From: Mondial, old series, issue 26, January 1979
Photo From: World Soccer, October 1990
Photo From: Mondial, old series, issue 23, October 1978
2- Ian Rush, saying playing in Italy was like playing in a Foreign country
Welshman Ian Rush’s spell at Juventus (1987/88) is routinely referenced as a case of a foreign player flop in Italy.
He has often mockingly been quoted as saying that playing in Italy was like playing in a foreign country.
The player has always denied making this quote and has laid the blame of this quote on then-Liverpool Manager Kenny Dalglish who signed him back for the club in 1988. According to Rush, when a journalist asked him why he had returned, Dalglish jumped in and responded that “he said it was like playing in a foreign country.”
Photo From: The Game, Issue 3, June 1995
Photo From: Goal, Issue 20, May 1997
3- Roberto Rivellino’s 1978 World Cup-Injury or exclusion
Much has been speculated on Roberto Rivellino’s absence from the Brazilian lineup during the 1978 World Cup. After the first match in the World Cup vs. Sweden, he was reportedly dropped due to injury. However, some believe that the Brazilian Technical hierarchy chose to sideline him and the injury was just a cover. He did return for Brazil in the latter stages of the Tournament.
Photo From: World Cup 78, by Phil Soar
4- Pele’s 1974 World Cup exclusion
There has been some mystery over the years on why Pele refused to participate in the 1974 World Cup. He had retired from the National Team but could have potentially still participated. Some suggested that he had fallen out with Joao Havelange over his image rights. A number of years later Pele cleared up the mystery by saying that Brazil’s Military Junta wanted him to participate but he refused after learning about their tortures.
Photo From: Onze, Issue 11, November 1976
5- Basile Boli-doubts about real age
When Ivory Coast-born French defender Basile Boli broke through as a teenager at Auxerre in the early 80s, most observers marveled at his maturity and drive for such a young player.
However a few years later another Ivory Coast player cast doubt on Boli’s real age. Joseph Gadji-Celli who joined lower division French side Sete in 1986 claimed that he had played against Boli in Ivory Coast at youth level and was the same age as him. Celi was born in 1961 while Boli’s official birth year given was 1967. As a result many started doubting his real age from then on.
Photo From: Onze, Issue 130, October 1986
Photo From: Onze, Hors serie 29, 1986