Like in a movie, there is a villain for a hero in football too. Fans from all across the globe have their heroes and villains. While there are players who score important goals and are remembered as the saviors, there are players who are most hated for their rough style of play, or are referred to as traitors. Here we take a look at the 10 players who are often referred to as the most villainous players of football.
10) Luis Figo
Once a Barcelona icon, the Portuguese forward was heavily criticized by the Camp Nou fans for his controversial high profile move to arch rivals Real Madrid. The amount of hatred for him in the Catalan fans was so much that Figo had to be escorted by private security on his return to the Camp Nou. But the crowd continued their display of hatred for Figo by throwing trash, golf balls and even a severed pig’s head.
According to his team-mate Michel Salgado: “By the second or third corner I turned to Luis Figo and said: ‘Forget it, mate. You’re on your own’. I used to offer Luis the chance to take the short corner, drawing up close to him near the touchline, but not this time. Missiles were raining down from the stands: coins, a knife, a glass whisky bottle. Johnnie Walker, I think. Or J&B. Best to keep away. Short corners? No thanks!”
9) Cristiano Ronaldo
Be it scoring long range blinders, or wonderful headers, taking jaw-dropping free kicks or just creating an astonishing pass, Ronaldo has been one of the best in doing such things. The Real Madrid superstar is the best player in the world, alongside Lionel Messi, and has broken all possible records while playing for the most successful club in the world. But still, the Portuguese captain is often imaged as one of the most villainous players by the media, and sometimes for nothing. Ronaldo is sometimes labeled as a selfish and a dictating player on the pitch, and is often criticized for his diving and angry gestures towards his team-mates. But that doesn’t change the fact that the former Manchester United man is one of the best players ever to grace the football pitch.
8) Cesc Fabregas
The silent reason behind Chelsea’s title winning 2014-15 season, Cesc Fabregas is one of those players who never gets the credit for what he does. Be it in his former club Barcelona, his current club Chelsea or Spain, Fabregas is one of the most creative yet non-recognized players in the team. But Cesc has already been criticized by the Arsenal fans for leaving them for a more successful club, Barcelona. And lately the Spanish midfielder has been in the news for all the wrong reasons again. When the former Arsenal captain joined their London rivals Chelsea, he must have known that the Gunners won’t be pleased about this at all. And so was the case. The Arsenal fans have already shown their hostile behavior for their former star, and are not expected to change that as long as Fabregas stays in the Premier League.
7) Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli is one of the deadliest finishers in world football at the moment. There has been never any doubt about the Italian striker’s technique or quality. But his attitude towards the game has always been questioned by the media as well as the fans. His behavior has cost him a lot, as he has travelled from one club to another without much success. He has been criticized for his association with mafia mobsters and certain other off-field antics which had great impact on hi on-field performances. Balotelli is a tough player to manage, but is currently playing well at AC Milan. But if he continues to be the bad boy of football, the world will lose one of the brightest young football talents.
6) Joey Barton
One of the roughest players in English football, Joey Barton is more famous for his hard tackles rather than his outstanding play. Not just the on-field behavior, Barton has been known to be violent off the field too. Already convicted twice of assault charges, Barton has been labeled as the ‘dirtiest player in football’. The FA has charged him of violent behavior three times in his career. He has often been criticized of making dangerous tackles without any logic or reason. He was banned for nine games after being sent–off for elbowing Carlos Tevez, and then kicking Sergio Aguero after he was shown a red card.
The Real Madrid defender is known for his harsh tackles and his off-the-ball tussling with the opposition players. Pepe is undoubtedly one of the finest centre-backs in world football, and has got a lot of experience too. But the ill-tempered Portuguese has been a part of many incidents which have resulted inearly baths. Not only the rough sliding tackles, Pepe is known to attack players when the referee is not looking in his direction. He once stomped on the hand of Lionel Messi after the Argentina man was fouled. Many times his actions have been the reason for his team’s demise, as in the case of Portugal’s early exit in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Portugal were thrashed 4-0 by Germany in the group stages, when Pepe was sent off for head butting Thomas Muller. As a result, they were eliminated on inferior goal difference to USA.
4) El-Hadji Diouf
El-Hadji Diouf is more famous for his off-the-field controversies than his football. The 34-year-old Senegal forward has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in his career so far. Considered as one of the worst ever Liverpool buys, Diouf has been criticized by both Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in their respective autobiographies. Diouf was fined and suspended for spitting at Celtic fans during Liverpool’s Uefa Cup quarter final match. He has been penalized for racially abusing a ball-boy and when QPR’s Jamie Mackie broke his leg, the Senegal forward taunted him as he was lying on the pitch in agony. There is no doubt that Diouf is one of the most villainous players in world football.
3) John Terry
There is absolutely no doubt that John Terry has been the pivot of success for Chelsea in the past 15 years. The Blues captain is still one of the best in the business in defense at the age of 34. But his long career has been marred by some dark spots over the years. Terry was temporarily banned after he harassed some American tourists after 9/11. He was allegedly found guilty of racially abusing his England teammate Anton Ferdinand, after which Ferdinand retired from the national team and Terry was banned for four domestic matches. Terry was also involved in a four-month affair with the ex-girlfriend of a Chelsea and England team-mate, Wayne Bridge. He was stripped of his captaincy for a year, only to be reinstated.
2) Luis Suarez
Suarez is renowned as one of the deadliest strikers in world football. Not many are better than him in scoring or creating goals, as the Uruguay forward is a complete striker. His impact on Barcelona’s performances in their treble winning campaign was immense. But Suarez is also one of the most controversial strikers ever. He has bitten three different players in his career – Bakkal while playing for Ajax, Ivanovic while playing at Liverpool, and Chiellini in the 2014 FIFA World Cup while playing for Uruguay. Suarez was also banned for eight matches when he was found guilty of racially abusing then Manchester United full back Patrice Evra. The case worsened when Suarez refused to shake Evra’s hands before the kick-off after the Uruguay striker had served the ban.
1) Diego Costa
Diego Costa’s superb performances with Atletico Madrid helped him in his move to Chelsea, as he helped the Spanish side to the La Liga title in 2013-14. Costa has been successful at Chelsea in his first season, as he won the league title as well as the Capital One Cup. But the Spanish international is one of the most controversial strikers currently. Costa is always ready to pick up a fight with anyone on the pitch for the slightest of matters. Be it stomping on the opponent player’s ankles or diving, Costa has been a very aggressive player from the starting of this career. But his recent fight with Arsenal defender Gabriel has made him the one of the most hated players in world football. He also ditched his home nation Brazil in favor of playing for his adopted home Spain, which earned him some slack in the World Cup, being held in Brazil.