Ex-Arsenal star Lukas Podolski sent off in charity match

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Former Arsenal winger Lukas Podolski was sent off in a charity match while playing for current team Gornik Zabrze after insulting the referee in a bizarre and hot-tempered turn of events. The 37-year-old was taking part in the Schauinsland Reisen Cup, his own indoor tournament which pitted six clubs against each other in the name of charity, but was unable to keep his cool when he conceded a penalty for bringing down an opponent.

Podolski’s competitive edge was clearly on show during the feisty semi-final affair involving Gornik and Rot-Weiss Essen, which saw three spot-kicks awarded over the course of the match. The ex-Arsenal man was responsible for giving away a crucial penalty with the scores level at 2-2 but was in no mood to accept the referee’s decision and was eventually shown a red card as a result of his protests.

The performance of the officials angered Podolski, who ‘harassed and insulted’ the referee alongside his manager Markus Krampe, according to Bild. He was quickly given his marching orders but did not stop there as he went on to throw water onto the pitch, seemingly in the direction of the man with the whistle, as he made his way over the barriers.

Podolski’s red card ultimately proved costly for Gornik, who went on to lose the match and were forced to settle for a third-placed finish at the tournament. Tempers eventually calmed down, though, leading Podolski and his manager to apologise for their behaviour in the heat of the moment.

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The former Germany international was also responsible for another furious incident during an earlier match against Hamburg, with his foul on Valon Zumberi sparking a melee in which squad members from both sides lashed out at each other. However, he quickly apologised and later made his way into the Hamburg dressing room to give each of their players a friendly hug.

Although Podolski’s behaviour somewhat overshadowed his participation in the tournament, which consisted of 20-minute matches and took place on Sunday, it did not stop the event from raising a significant amount of money for charity. Almost £1.7million was generated by the competition and will soon be distributed to those who need it most, with Podolski sharing his appreciation by thanking his team-mates as well as the staff and fans who showed their support.

Podolski signed for Gornik in the summer of 2021 from Antalyaspor, where he had spent 18 months after ending a three-year stint with Japanese side Vissel Kobe. The move to Gornik was an emotional one for the ex-Arsenal forward, who grew up supporting the Polish outfit and had previously insisted that he would play for them before the end of his career.

“I follow all the Gornik matches on TV or live on the internet,” said Podolski a year before joining the club. “I am very happy that a new stadium is being built in Zabrze. My dream is to play at those facilities.”

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