20 Most Obnoxiously Overconfident Footballers in the World

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2012

20 Most Obnoxiously Overconfident Footballers in the World

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    The life of a football is a glamorous one, with plenty of cash, fame and public admiration being just some of the benefits to fall at the feet of one who makes it big.

    The further the sport progresses, it seems clubs now invest in younger and younger talent. With this kind of scouting and plaudits being heaped on some starlets from a very young age, it’s only natural that some develop a touch of cockiness.

    However, there are those that handle the endless praise all too wrongly, and instead embrace it beyond their means, seeing themselves in a brighter light than may be the truth.

    Whether it’s because of their actions on the field or off of it, the following 20 players have all shown evidence of massive overconfidence at one time or, in some cases, plenty of others.

20. Jose Manuel Pinto

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    Rarely getting a game at the Camp Nou, Jose Manuel Pinto has to come up with other ways to entertain himself in order to pass the minutes on Barcelona’s bench.

    Barça’s second-choice stopper has made a name for himself as a controversial player, getting in numerous fights from off the bench and causing just as many arguments when playing.

    Pinto might just go down as the most decorated player to have done so little for the team earning the trophies, winning four La Liga titles, two Champions League medals, three Spanish Super Cups and a couple of Copa del Rey crowns for good measure.

    Having made less than 50 appearances for La Blaugrana in a six-season spell, it’s a miracle that the goalkeeper’s upbeat confidence has stayed intact for so long, but Pinto seems unaffected by his seemingly minor role at Barcelona.

19. Franck Ribery

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    A man whom The Guardian dub as going from “France’s golden boy to arrogant brat," it’s become clear in recent years that Franck Ribery’s ego tends to get in the way of his supreme talents on occasion.

    The Bayern Munich winger allegedly played a leading role in the infamous French revolution against Raymond Domenech during the 2010 Wold Cup, and hasn’t made it back into the hearts of Les Bleus supporters since.

    No matter how great an injustice a player may feel they have been fallen subject to, to commit such an offence in the midst of the greatest, and most important tournament in all of football is quite the bad move.

    What’s more, Ribery felt his status was big enough that he was safe to get caught up in another messy affair, this time being the “Zahia case," so named for the prostitute the Frenchman and national teammate, Karim Benzema, supposedly were involved with.

    For a player as skilful as Ribery is, his career has been marred by these sort of instances and is a classic example of how the high life can simply go the heads of those living it.

18. Antonio Cassano

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    Having burst onto the global scene as one of Serie A’s hottest prospects playing for Bari, Antonio Cassano has gone on to journey far and wide across his native Italy.

    Cassano has played for the likes of hometown club, Bari, AC Milan, Sampdoria, Real Madrid and currently finds himself at Internazionale.

    The 30-year-old has never found himself too far away from a bit of controversy, frequently falling out with the management with the likes of Roma and Real, a factor which some would argue stopped Cassano from fulfilling his true potential.

    Immensely talented when playing consistent football, Cassano’s tantrums have become a common staple throughout his 13-year tenure as a professional footballer.

    Even ESPN.com goes as far to label the forward as “arrogant” on his profile page, giving the impression that perhaps nobody vales Cassano as much as the player himself.

17. Marko Arnautovic

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    At just 23 years of age, Marko Arnautovic has wasted no time in becoming known in the German top flight for all the wrong reasons.

    Having arrived at Werder Bremen from FC Twente in 2010, there were high hopes for the Austrian international to become a real budding star.

    Unfortunately for Der Werderaner, Arnautovic has been in the headlines more for his controversial off the field antics and less for any scoring exploits on the field of play.

    During a one-year loan at Inter, Arnautovic was criticized somewhat by Jose Mourinho, who stated that “[Arnautovic] is a fantastic person but has the attitude of a child” (via Goal.com).

    Arnautovic has also landed in hot water for being lazy in training, and was warned by Werder just a month into his tenure there, that if his attitude didn’t improve, he’d be sold (via Sky Sports).

    Arnautovic drew early praises in his Eredivisie days, but doesn’t appear to be doing much in order to improve upon them and has stagnated as a result of this bad work mentality. 

16. Ravel Morrison

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    A debatable case as to whether the player was actually right or wrong to leave Old Trafford, but Ravel Morrison comes off looking slightly arrogant any way you look at his Manchester United departure.

    At the time of the youngster’s sale, Morrison was in the final six months of his contract and the Daily Mail reported that the Red Devils had offered him £12,000-a-week—a respectable wage for one so young—to stay at the club.

    Morrison baulked at the offer in sensational fashion, telling United that he wanted more than double that in the form of a £30,000-a-week deal.

    Whichever side of the fence one falls on, Manchester United clearly felt that the academy starlet overestimated his own talent and swiftly sold him to West Ham instead of attempting to resolve the contract talks.

    Currently on loan at West Ham, only time will tell as to whether Morrison will achieve the kind of things that Manchester United would have hoped for him at one point, but leaving such a prestigious club at the age of 18 all because of money is hugely disappointing to see.

15. Didier Drogba

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    Although Chelsea supporters will surely look beyond any discrepancies thanks to the striker’s contributions for them as a player, Didier Drogba’s overzealous tendencies towards the cocky made him a majorly disliked figure among others.

    The Ivorian international’s biggest controversies are now behind him, having moved to Shanghai Shenhua at the end of last season, but that doesn’t scrub his reputation clean.

    In his days as a Chelsea sensation, Drogba sometimes gave the impression that he owned the pitch, even going as far as to swear on live television after feeling hard done by in his side’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

    Drogba has always exuded heaps of confidence in his playing style, sometimes a common and quite necessary trait amongst strikers. That being said, there is a line to be drawn on the matter and the spoilt brat way in which Drogba sometimes went about things just wasn’t becoming of a star player, even one as talented as he.

14. Pepe

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    Football is a contact sport, regardless of how much it’s physicality has diminished in recent decades, but some players still choose to embrace the old ways in a big sense. Enter, Pepe.

    The Real Madrid stalwart is a breath of fresh air in terms of his truly robust style of play at times, but can take that aspect of the game into the realms of insanity.

    The video attached will show just how gung-ho Pepe has the potential to be at times, bringing his status amongst tacklers into the highly volatile.

    Although the Portuguese international is a major talent, to think you’re so much better than the opposition as to literally assault them just isn’t on. Football is just a game, after all.

13. William Gallas

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    To not play with a massive amount of enthusiasm for a club you wish you weren’t at is one thing, but to actually threaten scoring own goals if you’re to play another minute of football for that side is plainly ridiculous.

    However, William Gallas would appear to deal in the ridiculous and, as the BBC reported, his desire to leave Chelsea in 2006 was so strong that it actually brought him to making such a threat.

    As John Donne once said, “No man is an island, entire of itself” and Gallas’ ordeal at Stamford Bridge is a prime case of the mercenary posture some players have developed in recent years.

12. Nicolas Anelka

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    Along with former Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka now finds himself easing into retirement at Shanghai Shenhua, although his goal tally would show that perhaps he isn’t quite worth the wages he rakes in.

    Having played for nine top-level clubs in his 16-year professional career, Anelka has accumulated one of the highest all-time transfer fee values in history, but has never really settled in at any one.

    With the longest amount of time at any one side being four years, Anelka has proven himself to be an insatiable talent, never attaining satisfaction or, as a result, loyalty to a certain degree.

    At the time of his Arsenal departure, Anelka’s two brothers—who acted as his advisers—came under fire for being too greedy in the matter (via BBC), and Anelka’s appearance has since been portrayed as one of a fickle asset overly convinced by his own abilities.

11. Emmanuel Adebayor

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    Usually, when a player leaves a club for greener pastures, they realise all the good that side did for them in his development and, if the occasion were to ever arise, wouldn’t celebrate if they score against them in future.

    That isn’t quite Emmanuel Adebayor’s style.

    If one is unaware of just how obnoxious Adebayor has the potential to be, they need only look to the video attached to see the Togolese international sprinting down the other end of the pitch just to show his former Arsenal fans how happy he is to score against them.

    Despite showing glimpses of great talent at some stages of his career with clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester City, the 28-year-old is far from a superstar striker, but doesn’t appear to have received that memo.

10. Mido

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    Mido’s two separate stints in the Premier League were by no means of the quality of a world-class talent, but that hasn’t stopped the former Tottenham forward seeming to think just that.

    In 2006, the Daily Express (h/t ESPN) reported the Egyptian international as saying:

    “In Egypt they are amateurs. The manager is an amateur, the team are amateurs, the association are amateurs,”

    “They think they know everything. People can call me an arrogant Premiership player. The fact is that I am a Premiership player and they are amateurs.”

    Not only did Mido heap these criticisms upon his nation’s football association, but he did so while not really being the biggest of scoring talents himself.

    One wouldn’t go as far as to say the pot was calling the kettle black, but an over estimation of his own prowess as a forward? You’d have to argue Mido is a culprit, indeed.

9. Adel Taarabt

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    Not one to take rejection well, Adel Taarabt found himself in the papers last season when he left Craven Cottage halfway through a game after he was substituted off.

    The Daily Mail posted photos of fans taking their picture with Moroccan maestro as he sat on a bus stop outside the ground in an apparent strop.

    Taarabt has the potential to be a massively sought after forward, but his attitude would appear to get in the way of his likability.

    The attacker’s footwork can be amongst the best in the Premier League at times, but those sometimes unnecessary touches of skill usually meant for the training ground just add to Taarabt’s obnoxious nature.

    QPR’s talisman didn’t find much of the limelight during his Tottenham career and appears to be acting out at Loftus Road in a bid to make up for lost time.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Constantly attached to the label of “most talented footballer in the world,” it’s somewhat understandable for Cristiano Ronaldo to develop a bit of a big head.

    The former Sporting Lisbon prodigy has been in the public eye since the age of 17, and his ego has evolved in direct correlation with his ability as a player.

    During the 2006 World Cup, Ronaldo gave that infamous wink in the direction of Wayne Rooney just after his then-Manchester United teammate had been sent off for a stamp on the Portuguese opposition.

    It’s these kinds of unique moments, combined with the mountains of vigorous celebrations as well as bold and cocky statements in the build-up to high profile matches that make Ronaldo an overconfident star, no matter how limitless his skills may seem.

7. Joey Barton

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    An avid Twitter user and source of entertainment to the thralls that follow him, Joey Barton gives the impression of a player speaking beyond his means at times.

    As a Premier league footballer, it’s clear that the controversial midfielder at least has some degree of talent, but it’s debatable as to whether or not he boasts quite the skills needed to go about things the way he tends to.

    The former Manchester City miscreant is never one to shy away from a tackle and has gotten in trouble on many an occasion for practically assaulting the opposition, a particularly bad example of which can be seen in the video above.

    Now on loan at Marseille from QPR, Barton still manages to voice his views in a no-holds-barred fashion through social networking, but it’s a curious question as to whether the masses watching are laughing with the Englishman or at his expense.

6. Ashley Cole

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    Like our last candidate, Barton, a large portion of Ashley Cole’s cockiness is put across on his Twitter account, although that’s not to say he doesn’t back that controversy up with plenty in real life, also.

    In all fairness to the player, Cole is one of the most talented left-backs in the Premier League and Europe.

    The 31-year-old has staved off serious injuries for a massive majority of his career and could continue to maintain that standard of playing for some years yet.

    However, Chelsea’s full-back is a professional footballer frequently in the view of the public and is the role model for millions of young boys across the globe. It’s just too bad that he doesn’t act like it.

    Cole has had a very public on-and-off relationship with Cheryl Tweedy, had run-ins with the police when out on the town (via Metro) and even gone as far to shoot a Chelsea trainee with an air rifle (via Guardian).

    Some players have the skills to back up their larger personalities, but when that cockiness veers into the strange and just plain stupid, it needs to be put to a stop.

5. Leon Knight

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    Lean Knight made just a handful of appearances for Chelsea before rapidly descending the English football league system.

    However, that mighty fall from grace doesn’t appear to have left a mark on the forward’s ego, as can be seen in the video attached.

    The Daily Mail recently reported on a matter involving Knight abusing Jamie O’Hara’s wife, Danielle Lloyd, on Twitter, which with the Thames Valley Police eventually getting involved.

    If bragging rights come as a result of the stature of the club you represent, then by rights, Knight should have very little. Fortunately for the striker, he doesn’t live by such math.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    A player that Goal.com reported as referring to himself as the best player in the world in 2011, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is renowned for having a larger than life perspective of his own skill.

    The Swedish international may very well be amongst the most talented players in the world, but you’d like to think that a man possessing that sort of ability doesn’t need to talk about it.

    However, talk about it, Zlatan does and the 31-year-old PSG forward doesn’t let the fact that he hasn’t won a Ballon d’Or title get in the way of his imagination.

    A story arose earlier in 2012 claiming that Ibrahimovic had actually turned down a move to Arsenal earlier in his career (via Daily Mail), all because Arsene Wenger wanted to see the player on trial first.

    Considering it was regarding a club of Arsenal’s magnitude and Ibrahimovic was only in his teens at the time, it would appear confidence sprouted early in this one.

3. El Hadji Diouf

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    Almost definitely one of the most disliked footballers in all of English football, El Hadji Diouf has never been too far away from the headlines throughout his career.

    The Senegalese winger has been fined and suspended on several occasions for spitting offences, whether it’s at the crowd or a member of the opposite team, and has even gotten into trouble for allegedly threatening his former fellow teammate, Anton Ferdinand (via Telegraph).

    Diouf’s exploits both on and off of the pitch have drawn widespread criticism in his days in English football, blotting out what skill he actually possesses.

    Diouf recently had the guile to lambast former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard as "selfish" (via Sky Sports), adding that he had everyone at his feet. 

    Nobody can condone some of the atrocities committed in the career of El-Hadji Diouf, but the Leeds forward by no means has the right to be as confident in his ways as he appears to be.

2. Mario Balotelli

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    Building a quad bike track in your back garden? He’s been there. Walking into a women’s prison simply because you’re curious? He’s done that. The man in question here is of course Mario Balotelli, an enigma to the millions watching.

    The Italian forward is only 22 years old but is wasting no time in establishing himself as one of the craziest personalities in all of world football, and those types of antics need a boatload of confidence.

    Balotelli clearly has the quality to write his name into the history books, but is let down by the endless stories of what he gets up to off the pitch, in conjunction with what he commits on it.

    A prime example of this overconfidence on the pitch would be his preseason back-heel attempt against La Galaxy; a completely needless over complication and typical act of a man such as Balotelli.

    Just missing out on top spot, the Manchester City marvel is a Marmite player in that you either love him or hate him, but there’s simply no question as to the fact that his confidence is misplaced on a frequent basis.

1. Nicklas Bendtner

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    Whether it’s as a result of some misplaced praise he received as a youth or perhaps even a genuine mental deficiency he’s received as a result of a blow to the head, Nicklas Bendtner would appear to live in an alternate reality to the rest of us.

    In 2010, the Danish international referred to himself as one of the best strikers in the world (via Daily Mail) despite the fact that he has failed to string together any decent bit of playing time with Arsenal.

    One of Bendtner’s brighter moments came at Euro 2012 when he netted a brace against Portugal, proceeding to celebrate by exposing a pair of Paddy Power underpants and igniting a UEFA probe (via Daily Mail).

    In terms of actual football talent not coming into correlation with the amount the player tends to brag, there’s none more misaligned than Nicklas Bendtner, who ends up being his own worst enemy.