World Football's 10 Most Self-Centred Figures
Many players in world football are selfless, benevolent and genuinely passionate about helping their teammates achieve collective success.
There are plenty, however, who are only really looking out for No. 1, showing little regard for the effect their actions will have on others. They are the kind of players who might find this phrase applicable to their careers:
There's no "I" in team... but there are five in "individual brilliance."
Here, B/R considers the game's most self-absorbed characters, whether through selfishness on the pitch or mercenary tactics when trying to increase their salary...
He is a very valuable addition to any squad, but Carlos Tevez isn't exactly a team player.
The Argentinean may blame his complicated ownership situation, but he had no qualms about switching from Manchester Utd to Manchester City in 2009—perhaps because of the additional £50,000 he received each week in wages.
Once at City, Carlito showed his true self-absorbed colours when he refused to make a substitute appearance in a Champions League tie with Bayern Munich. In the fall out, he abandoned his duties and went on strike, choosing to sun himself on the golf course in Argentina for several months.
Once he was coaxed into returning, Tevez then had the audacity to appeal against his club for suspending his wages and loyalty bonus while he wasn't playing or training. Clearly, this selfish player needs a better understanding of what a loyalty bonus is for.
Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images
It's very easy to criticise Luis Suarez's self-regarding ways, simply because his actions make it very easy!
Aside from the inconvenient bans he has received for alleged racism, vile gestures and that biting incident, the Uruguayan striker's summer transfer saga speaks volumes of his mercenary ways.
After using the press to tell everyone how much he wanted a move to Bayern Munich, he then resorted to using the press once again to engineer a move to Arsenal, based on a "promise" of Champions League football. The press, of course, are constantly cited as his biggest source of grief (perhaps because they report all the abhorrent things he does).
Since Suarez works in an industry where talent outweighs any character flaws, ethical issues or greed, he is not likely to change his outlook.
When he first came over from Brazil to Real Madrid, Robinho was touted as the best thing since sliced bread. Sadly, his powers seem to have gradually dwindled in Europe.
The tricky forward's reputation for throwing his toys out of the pram started in Spain on the summer transfer deadline day of 2008. It's reported that the young Brazilian cried in Madrid president Ramon Calderon's office, threatening to retire when the club turned down an offer from Chelsea.
When the late call came from Manchester City, Robinho jumped at the chance of representing the nouveau riche Premier League side—despite the fact that he accidentally called them Chelsea in his first press conference. Heck, does it matter what their name is if they're paying huge wages?
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Wayne Rooney might be a controversial choice for this list, but consider the facts.
Would a selfless player spend his summers drinking and smoking so that his fitness is severely lacking at the start of every season? Would a player who cares about his team wear a "Once a blue, always a blue" t-shirt at Everton, then provocatively kiss his Manchester Utd crest upon returning to Goodison Park?
Would an altruistic player hand in a transfer request in 2010, and then receive criticism from Sir Alex Ferguson for employing mercenary tactics when he received a pay raise?
B/R rests its case.
Finally, we reach a player who is self-centred for his actions on the pitch, rather than off it.
When it comes to ball-hogging, few men in the game can top Arjen Robben. Watch any Bayern Munich game and you will see the Dutchman make a run, cut in on his left foot and blast an audacious "Hollywood" shot at goal. Meanwhile, one or two teammates will have been available for a pass.
Robben defended his playing style in an interview with Kicker magazine (via ESPNFC) when he claimed "Selfishness is a quality."
It is a quality shared by around nine other players on this list.
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The fact that Zlatan Ibrahimovic exclusively refers to himself in the third person during interviews reveals plenty about his introverted outlook.
His reckless disregard for the feelings of former colleagues was optimised in his oft-quoted autobiography, in which he tears former coach Pep Guardiola apart for not treating him like the most important person on the team.
In fact, the mighty Zlatan is so self-absorbed that he even sets himself up for goals!
Samuel Eto'o might just be the most self-absorbed footballer in the game right now.
The Cameroonian's greed was highlighted in the summer of 2009, when Manchester City made him an offer of £180,000 weekly wages, which would have made him the highest paid player in the world. Incredibly, the striker refused the deal, reportedly demanding an unprecedented £13 million signing in fee.
In 2011, Eto'o finally became the best paid player in the world when Anzhi Makhachkala offered an eye-watering €20 million net salary. (Players who ended up at Anzhi, it should be noted, weren't there for the challenge of the league or the vibrant city life.)
After the mercenary striker signed for Chelsea, former Anzhi teammate and technical director Roberto Carlos offered some telling advice to his new employers (via ESPNFC):
"I've known Eto'o since he was 16. He's a good person and I've always liked him, but he always thinks of himself, not the group, which can be really damaging."
Good luck trying to rouse Eto'o's spirit during a cold Tuesday night League Cup game in Lancashire, Mr Mourinho.
David Rogers/Getty Images
Why is Nicolas Anelka currently playing for his eleventh different club? It seems that a single employer can only tolerate his disagreeable personality and selfishness for so long.
While playing for Real Madrid, the French striker earned a 45-day suspension for missing training sessions. He left Paris Saint-Germain for a second time when coach Luis Fernandez couldn't tolerate his bad temper. And of course, his inability to keep his cool in front of French boss Raymond Domenech ended with a squad mutiny, an embarrassing exit from the 2010 World Cup and the end of his international career.
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Outspoken midfielder Joey Barton has an opinion on the flaws of virtually every club and player, but he rarely stops the smell the roses in his own back garden of selfishness and loathsome behaviour.
Barton's hair-trigger temper has gotten the better of him on numerous occasions, including the time he was sent to prison for beating a teenager, and the time he stubbed a cigar out in a teammate's eye.
The 31-year-old's disregard for anyone but himself was best displayed on the final day of the 2011-12 season, when he brawled his way to a red card and sending off during QPR's loss to Manchester City. If other results hadn't fallen in the Hoops' favour, Barton's thoughtless antics could have relegated his team.
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As an Arsenal outcast who must lose weight before having a slim chance of re-joining his team, one would expect Nicklas Bendtner to show some humility.
According to research carried out on the Dane, however, this isn't necessary the case. In 2011, The Mirror published the findings of Arsenal's sports psychologist Jacques Crevoisier, who discovered that Bendtner had the highest self-confidence levels ever recorded.
Gunners coach Pat Rice was said to be in stitches as the striker's self-perceived competence levels went off the chart. The tests found that he is completely unable to blame himself when he misses a chance in front of goal, as he is so wrapped up in a bubble of his own magnificence.