15 of the Dirtiest Players in World Football

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIMay 3, 2012

15 of the Dirtiest Players in World Football

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    The"beautiful game" has a dirty side.

    For every artist like a Diego Maradona there's a dirty player like Vinnie Jones.

    Dirty football players on this list are either divers or just your plain old dirty tacklers. The players on this list all fall into the dirty tacklers category and some have etched their names into the game despite their unfortunate tendencies.

    Here are 15 of the dirtiest players in world football.

Nigel De Jong

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    Nigel De Jong's tough-tackling ways are well known.

    He injured both Stuart Holden and Hatem Ben Arfa with his tackles and his kung-fu assault on Xabi Alonso during the 2010 World Cup Final cannot be forgotten.

Andoni Goikoetxea

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    Andoni Goikoetxea is known as "the Butcher from Bilbao" thanks to his rough play throughout his career. His most infamous moment was a tackle that severely injured Diego Maradona.

Vinnie Jones

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    Vinnie Jones was no stranger to dirty play during his playing career. One of the first self-professed "hard men" of the game, Jones made a name for himself with some tough and reckless tackling while playing for clubs like Wimbledon and Sheffield United.

Roy Keane

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    Roy Keane's tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland, if you can call it that, and his numerous bust-ups thanks to dirty play get him on this list.

Claudio Gentile

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    Claudio Gentile wasn't so gentle during his playing days.

    His man-marking against Diego Maradona in the 1982 World Cup left a sour taste in the mouth of the Argentinians and especially the little wizard himself.

Billly Bremner

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    BIlly Bremner is one of Leeds' greatest players and he was well known for his tactics on the pitch. Bremner was part of a Leeds teams team in the 1970's that was known for their dirty play and he was one of the main offenders.


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    Pepe's reputation in the world game is common knowledge at this point. His extremely passionate play can lead to him going overboard when challenging opponents.

    Sometimes, as Lionel Messi and Javier Casquero have learned, he can do his dirty work after a play is done.

Marco Materazzi

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    Marco Materazzi definitely had to be on this list. While his first nickname is "the Matrix", he's also known as "the Butcher."

Michel Salgado

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    Michel Salgado's tough-tackling style of play has seen him chalk up some very dirty plays during his career.

Michael Brown

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    While some of the other players on this list are notably good players, Michael Brown isn't known for much more than his dirty play.

Karl Henry

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    Karl Henry certainly has enough history to be on a list like this. He's stomped on players and even launched some in the air with his horrible tackling.

Kevin Muscat

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    How Kevin Muscat is still in football is a mystery. YouTube is littered with "highlights" of some pretty ridiculous and dirty tackles from the Englishman. Here's an example.

Lee Bowyer

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    Lee Bowyer is one of the most carded players in the Premier League. He has a long history of misdemeanors and his tackling and rough style of play are the reasons why.

Paolo Montero

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    Paolo Montero had two very opposite parts to his game. He was skilled and intelligent on the ball from the defense but when it came to stopping opponents he was quite ruthless.

    He holds the record for the most red cards received in the Serie A.

Mark Van Bommel

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    Saying that Mark van Bommel is an aggressive player is a bit of an understatement. He is no stranger to dirty play.