'When you're that good, you're allowed to be arrogant.'
'You're just jealous of his good looks/money/success.'
'He's not self-centered, he's just misunderstood.'
These are just a few of the defenses fans make for players on their team who have earned a reputation as being a bit egotistical, self-centered, arrogant, and/or selfish.
Such arguments are most often used because we do not want to admit that someone who plays on our favorite team could actually have such an unlikeable personality. Yet, as soon as that player changes teams, we are more than willing to admit their many faults.
Want proof? Check out how some Arsenal fans defended Robin van Persie to the death just six months ago, but are now willing to erase him from the club's records.
See how defenses for Carlos Tevez jump from fan base to fan base for as long as he plays well at that club.
We may not like it, but many of the top footballers in the world have big egos, often too big to manage and, many times, so great that it gets them into trouble.
What follows is not just a list of egotistical people, it's a categorization of 25 self-centered players.
These 25 stars are divided into groups based on why fans—usually of rival teams—think these players have big egos.
You will notice immediately that many of the best players, coaches and teams are represented here and that is no coincidence.
After all, as the cliche defense goes—and will almost certainly be repeated on this column—many of us would be this self-centered if we had the talents on display by these guys.