While the beautiful game has given us plenty of joy and excitement, it also has its share of reviled figures who are hated for their behaviour, be it on the pitch, or off it.
10.) Marco Materazzi
Marco Materazzi will unfortunately be remembered by many as the player who ensured that there would be no glittering end to Zinedine Zidane’s career. His untimely comment regarding Zidane’s sister resulted in the French playmaker getting his marching orders (after headbutting Materazzi in response) in the 2006 World Cup final. In the eyes of many, it also cost France the trophy.
9.) Jens Lehmann
The former Arsenal and Stuttgart goalkeeper has done plenty of eccentric things in his life to earn his place in this list.
Mad Jens has stamped players, relieved himself behind an advertising board, thrown water over the referee, and has been involved in a war of words with several of his colleagues. A cocky attitude- he once said that Manuel Almunia was “not in his class”, didn’t help things either.
8.) Diego Maradona
The Argentine legend was a genius in his own right and also guided his team to two successive World Cup finals.
The English hate him for the “Hand of God”, while his own selection policies as Argentina manager (not including Cambiasso and Zanetti in his squad for example) have earned him his fair share of detractors. Not to forget the whole ephedrine incident that saw him miss USA’94.
7.) Jose Mourinho
The most successful people also make plenty of enemies. And where the self proclaimed “Special One” is involved, the list is a little longer than normal.
Mourinho has never been afraid of speaking his mind, even if the remarks involved calling Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger a “Viewer” and branding Andy Johnson as “untrustworthy”.
6.) Robbie Savage
In his heydays, Savage was one of the most hated figures in the Premier League. The blond haired midfielder loved to get under the skin of opposition players and fans and has collected more yellow cards than any other player since the inception of the Premier League.
5.) Didier Drogba
The Ivory Coast skipper has been regularly accused of falling all too easily to the ground in Premier League games. Former manager Jose Mourinho has also officially labelled him a “diver”
Drogba has never been afraid of getting into confrontations with opposition players and was sent off in the 2007-08 Champions League final for slapping Nemanja Vidic.
After witnessing Chelsea’s defeat to Barcelona in the semifinals of the 08-09 Champions League, Drogba vented out his anger by shouting “It is a f****** disgrace” on camera, criticising the decisions of match referee Tom Ovrebo.
4.) Joey Barton
Barton has been involved in plenty of controversial incidents off the pitch that have severely affected his career on it. Trouble always seems to follow the Huyton born midfielder, who has been convicted twice for violent conduct and has admitted to being an alcoholic. He once stuck a cigar in the eye of upcoming footballer Jamie Tandy, resulting in permanent scarring for the latter. According to reports, he once tried to seduce a former model by boasting about his “attack” on former Man City team mate Ousmane Dabo.
Bad Boy Barton has been labeled a thug, yob and also a coward by various team mates and the press.
3.) Ashley Cole
Ashley earned the moniker “Cashley” when he mentioned in his autobiography that he nearly crashed his car on hearing that Arsenal were only prepared to offer him a £55,000 a week contract.
He also cheated on his beautiful wife, Geordie singer Cheryl Tweedy with a string of women that eventually lead to the two separating a few months ago. She forgave him in the beginning, but Ashley failed to learn from his past mistakes, and paid the ultimate price.
2.) John Terry
Cole’s Chelsea team mate John Terry makes it to number 2 on this list, and only because of one name- Vanessa Perroncel.
Father of two Terry had a four month affair with French model Perroncel, the girlfriend of his Chelsea mate Wayne Bridge shortly after she split from the latter. Bridge, a natural second choice to Ashley Cole in the England set up, refused to be considered for selection for the World Cup after the news broke.
While JT kept his spot in the national squad, he did end up losing the captain’s armband to Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand.
1.) Cristiano Ronaldo
The world’s most expensive player also tops our list of most hated footballers.
He was seen winking at the Portuguese bench at the 2006 World Cup following the dismissal of England’s Wayne Rooney. His fancy step over attempts, his theatrical dives, whining to the referees and excessive focus on his looks have led to the Portuguese captain having plenty of critics in the world of soccer.