Friday night sees Xabi Alonso renew hostilities with Nigel de Jong, the Dutch terrier who planted his studs in the Real Madrid midfielder's chest with a lunge befitting a martial arts ring, some 7,000 kilometres away from the scene of the crime four years ago. The kung-fu kick left Spain open-mouthed and Xabi gasping for breath, but referee Howard Webb didn't even deem it worthy of a yellow card.
Alonso, who came away from the match with a star on his chest to go with his battle wounds, is now able to look back and laugh, as seen in a recent photo shoot for adidas. However, it was a different story right after the game, when the anchorman described the challenge as "one of the worst tackles I have ever suffered".
"I was startled when I saw the replays and super slow-motion takes on TV. I realised it was much more violent than it had appeared out on the pitch. I was in so much pain that I thought something was broken. It took me a few days to recover; it didn't leave any scars, but the impact was very head-on and direct", the midfielder subsequently noted.
Footage of the challenge was beamed all over the world and Coca-Cola even recreated the incident in an advert for Euro 2012, only for UEFA to ask for it to be withdrawn in the spirit of fair play. In the end the ad never aired, but everyone who witnessed the original events will be hoping there are no X-rated challenges this time round.