With Mario Balotelli departing the British shores this January largely due to criticisms from the media regarding his off field issues, footballers who have been always in the limelight came to the fore. Their psychological state is frequently questioned along with the money that the sport brings, often messing with their attitudes and making them arrogant about themselves. More often than not, they end up putting themselves in trouble with public brawls, on-pitch behavior being the most common reasons for their downfall. As surprising may it sound, it soon signifies the end of their careers as no club or country wants their citizens to idolize such personalities.
Whackk! here takes a look at some notorious players who have had this arrogance since ever which has often put them in trouble with officials and organisations alike.
Joey Barton, the former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder, who had once been labeled as, ’The dirtiest player in the Premier League’ is probably the first player who comes to mind when anyone talks about the most notorious players in the world. From being banned from playing professional matches, to being jailed for assaults on and off the pitch, the Englishman has done it all.
Most memorably though, the world now remembers him as the player who got sent off in the last league game of the season in the 2011-2012 season when he was plying his trade for the Queens Park Rangers, resulting in Manchester City scoring a 3-2 victory to win the Premier League title.
That particular incident prompted the London club’s hierarchy to send Barton out on loan and putting his future, yet another time, uncertain.
Maverick striker Mario Balotelli, who now plays for Italian giants AC Milan, is no less than any other notorious player in the world of football. Having been sent off a number of times for his old team Manchester City, costing them crucial matches, Balotelli is often criticized for not keeping his temper in check. Off-field incidents haven’t helped either with the Italian setting his own house on fire by bursting crackers a night before one of City’s games.
His clams of “having too much money” to the police often made him described by the media as arrogant. Although a genius when on form, Balotelli has to keep these distractions aside if he really wants to become one of the world’s best players
Pepe has been one of Europe’s most notorious players in recent seasons. After a big money move from F.C Porto to Real Madrid, Pepe has already faced the ups and downs of life in the Spanish league. Be it training ground fights or lengthy suspensions (10 matches against Getafe in 2008-09), Pepe has seen it all. The young Portuguese defender has been infamous for his defending skills and found him at the receiving end of several well deserved suspensions.
Known for his rowdy, unfair ways of terrorizing opposition attacks, Pepe has been one of the most destructive forces in Europe. Some sections of opposition fans have also gone on to potray Pepe as a brand ambassador for professional wrestling.
A player gifted with good vision, passing, ball control, finishing and aerial abilities, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has always been criticized for not showing up for the big occasions. The Swede has played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe like Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and presently Paris St-Germain. His poor personal equation with coaches, spats with referees, training ground bust-ups and controversial quotes in the media have earned Ibrahimovic a place on this list.
He has often been accused of chasing big money deals and his lack of loyalty towards any club has been a constant source of criticism. He also belongs to a list of footballers who have trademarked their names. Zlatan lets his goals do the talking for him and his volley against England for the Swedish national team can never be forgotten. However, a Champions’ League Trophy continues to evade this controversial player who never backs down from a good fight.
Another highly gifted player to embrace European football is Uruguayan Luis Suarez. His pace, technical skills, shooting ability and aerial skills made him a force to reckon with in the Dutch Eridivisie with Ajax. However, it has been mischief on the pitch which has made him famous. Suarez first came to prominence when he intentionally cleared a header with his hands in the World Cup Quarter Finals against Ghana. He was labeled the ‘Cannibal of Ajax’ for biting the shoulder of Otman Bakal in a Dutch league match against PSV Eindhoven.
Following his big money move to Liverpool, controversy seems to have followed him to England as well. He was banned for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a match. He has also been accused of simulation (diving) on many occasions where he has been awarded a card for his efforts. Be it his ‘unintentional’ handball winning goals or his stamps on opposition players, Luis Suarez is inarguably controversies favourite Footballer. Highly unpredictable but a match winner nonetheless, Luis Suarez contribution to football is as controversial as his actions on the pitch.