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The exact moment Joe Hart’s career started to unravel before his eyes

Before this the England goalkeeper was regarded as one of the best shot stoppers in Europe

How the mighty fall.

Joe Hart, Premier League winner and former England number one, has kept just 11 clean sheets in 66 games since Pep Guardiola gave him the boot at Man City.

It seems watching a crest-fallen Hart, slumped helplessly between his posts after conceding a fourth, maybe fifth goal in one game is now becoming a weekly occurrence.


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Not again Joe

PA:Press Association
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Not again Joe

It’s a far cry from the dizzy heights Hart reached in the past when he was genuinely regarded as one of the best shot stoppers around.

And we think we’ve pinpointed where it all started going wrong.

Before Euro 2012 Hart was Mr Reliable between the sticks at Man City, collecting two Premier League Golden Glove awards in succession and clinching a first Premier League title.

But after that tournament Poland and Ukraine the shakiness kicked in.

His first taste of the bench in 2013

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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His first taste of the bench in 2013

Hart’s form in the 2012/13 season dipped and then fully nose-dived in 2013/14, so much so that he was even replaced by Costel Pantilimon for a month of the season.

Pep Guardiola would later publicly shame his flaws before being shipped off on loan to Torino and most recently West Ham.

Pretty used to this view by now

Reuters
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Pretty used to this view by now

But why did it start going so pear shaped?

Well, it’s all Andrea Pirlo’s fault.

Hart thrives on confidence, so when Pirlo elected to unceremoniously humiliate him in front of millions of people around the world you can only imagine the damage caused.

You remember the moment.

The scene is the Euro 2012 quarter final.

A renaissance painting

Getty Images - Getty
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A renaissance painting

England and Italy have laboured for 120 sluggish minutes, forcing yet another dreaded penalty shootout at a major tournament.

The Three Lions gain the early advantage when Riccardo Montolivo misses and Wayne Rooney tucks his away.

Up steps Pirlo – all bearded and brilliant – knowing another miss would put England on the brink of glory.

Hi, I’m here to steal your confidence

EPA
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Hi, I’m here to steal your confidence

Any mere mortal with a sense for the magnitude of the occasion will have just put their foot through it as hard as possible.

Unfortunately for England Pirlo doesn’t fall into that category.

The Italian icon stepped up, saw Hart’s jubilant smiles as he jumped up and down animatedly on his line and decided enough was enough.

Hart went one way and Pirlo barely broke sweat as he executed the most delicious Panenka chip.

Down you go Joe

AP:Associated Press
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Down you go Joe

Oh b******

AP:Associated Press
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Oh b******

It left Hart in a sprawling mess of limbs on the floor and he didn’t get close to Italy’s remaining two penalties as England, rather inevitably, crashed out.

Even this fan bearing all behind the goal couldn’t distract the Italy players.

A sad English penis

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A sad English penis

On the biggest stage of all in the biggest game of his career to date, Hart was reduced to a hopeless spectator by his Italian nemesis.

He’s never really recovered.


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