The 10 Most Selfish Players in World Football

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2013

The 10 Most Selfish Players in World Football

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    We are constantly reminded that there is no "I" in "team." Of course, a more selfish football player might argue that there are five "I"s in the term "individual brilliance."

    Despite the beautiful game being a team effort, there are always players who will be looking out for their own interests ahead of the greater good of the club they are representing—whether through their style of play or their self-seeking behaviour elsewhere. 

    Here's B/R's top 10 selfish players. The first five are guilty of being introverted on the pitch, while the second five are a little inward-looking away from it... 

Arjen Robben

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    When considering selfish behaviour on the pitch, one man stands head and shoulders above his egotistical brethren: Arjen Robben.

    Watch any Bayern Munich game and you will see the Dutch winger constantly cut on to his left foot and take an audacious shot at goal from range, rather than passing to a teammate in a better position. 

    Last year, Robben even argued that his self-centred style of play was a positive attribute. In an interview with German magazine Kicker, translated via ESPNFC, the winger said, "Selfishness is a quality."

    It certainly is a quality, but usually a bad one.

Daniel Sturridge

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    Daniel Sturridge managed 11 goals in 12 league appearances for Chelsea and Liverpool last season, and fans at Anfield will be hoping he is equally prolific in 2013/14. The other players at Anfield, meanwhile, will probably hope he passes the ball a little more often.

    The 23-year-old has a frustrating habit of going it alone when he has other options, only to be dispossessed or fire a hopeful shot into the stands. Some consider him to be the most selfish player in the Premier League right now. 


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    Nani hasn't kicked a ball for Manchester Utd since April, and could be the subject of a transfer bid from Juventus before the end of this week. 

    In his six years at Old Trafford, the Portuguese winger often plays as if he believes he is the most important man on the pitch, taking wasteful shots when teammates are screaming for the ball and acting petulantly when he is fouled. 

    As B/R's Pauly Kwestel notes, one only need look at his goal celebration to see his self-absorbed frame of mind: before hugging other teammates, he will perform his trademark backflip and point to the name on the back of his shirt, letting everyone know who is responsible for the glory. 

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Cristiano Ronaldo has never lacked self-confidence, but the Portuguese superstar often let his desire to take the glory get the better of him during his time at Manchester Utd and the early days at Real Madrid.

    The tricky winger has become much better at picking out teammates as he has matured at the Bernabeu, but his tendency to have more faith in his own sublime skill than those around him can still be seen on occasion. 

Luis Suarez

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    As the second highest goalscorer in the Premier League last season, nobody can doubt Luis Suarez's ability to find space, beat defenders and create goalscoring opportunities from nothing. His tendency to hog the ball and showboat, however, has seen him accused of being rather selfish.

    Suarez's self-centred ways are arguably much more evident away from the field. One only needs to look at the embarrassing summer transfer saga the Uruguayan created in his quest for Champions League football. A man who uses the press to try and engineer a move to Bayern Munich and to speak of Liverpool's broken promises can only come across as thoroughly self-absorbed—particularly when he constantly criticises the press for victimising him. 

Carlos Tevez

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    Carlos Tevez only cares about one thing, and that is Carlos Tevez.

    The Argentinean had no qualms about controversially switching from the red side of Manchester to the blue side in 2009, perhaps because the Citizens put an extra £50,000 in his bank account every week.

    Carlitos truly showed his self-absorbed ways in 2011 when he refused to come on as a substitute in the second half of a Champions League match with Bayern Munich. He then decided to go on strike in the middle of the season, leaving the country for Argentina to improve his golf handicap.

    Once he returned, he even had the audacity to appeal against the club suspending his wages and a loyalty bonus while he was gone. Loyalty bonuses aren't typically for players who abandon their team for several months on a personal whim!  


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    In the summer of 2008, poor little Robinho couldn't stand the thought of another season at Real Madrid under Bernd Schuster, so he went to president Ramon Calderon's office in tears, threatening to quit the game entirely when the club turned down an offer from Chelsea.  

    The Brazilian then gleefully picked up the toys he had thrown from his pram when Manchester City came in at the eleventh hour of deadline day with a £33.5 million rescue bid.

    He was so delighted to be a member of the Manchester City family that in his first press conference he told awaiting journalists that he was delighted to have joined...Chelsea.

    Hey, as long as they're paying the bills who cares what team it is, right Robinho?

Nicolas Anelka

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    Nicolas Anelka had played for more teams than most people have eaten hot dinners in their lives, so one would think he would know exactly how to be a team player.

    Not so. The Frenchman tends to move from club to club because of his tactless disputes with managers and selfish acts. 

    He left Madrid after earning a 45-day suspension for skipping training sessions, his second spell at PSG ended in divorce after irreconcilable differences with coach Luis Fernandez, and his famous spat with French national team manager Raymond Domenech turned Les Bleus into a worldwide laughing stock at the 2010 World Cup, while effectively ending his international career.   

Joey Barton

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    Twitter personality and occasional footballer Joey Barton has a forthright opinion on most topics, but rarely contemplates his own selfish behaviour.

    Barton's complete inability to control his own temper always has a knock-on effect for his teammates and the employers who put faith in him. In addition to the numerous occasions he has put himself out of contention due to bans for violent conduct, Barton has also endured protracted periods away from the field due to a prison sentence and an arrest for stubbing a cigar out in a teammate's eye

    On the thrilling last day of the 2011-12 season, the red card he received for starting a brawl at Eastlands could easily have cost Queens Park Rangers their league place had results not gone their way elsewhere. Joey probably wasn't thinking that as he inconsiderately fought his way to a 12-match ban

Samuel Eto'o

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    Samuel Eto'o doesn't appear to play for the badge on his shirt, the fans or his teammates. He plays for the money.

    In the summer of 2009, the Cameroonian had won four league titles and two Champions Leagues with Barcelona and Internazionale, which piqued the interest of Manchester City. Not only did Eto'o refuse wages that would have made him the world's best-paid player, but he reportedly demanded an unprecedented £13 million signing-on fee

    Eto'o ended up at Anzhi Makhachkala, where his €20 million net salary makes him the world's best-paid player. They say there is no loyalty in football these days, but Eto'o's mercenary approach is a cut above the rest.