The 10 Biggest Egos in La Liga
Egos have been ever-present in La Liga for a number of years. Sunny Spain remains a haunt for those footballers who not only play football well, but also know how well they play it.
Indeed, the Spanish love their football, and most of their footballers love themselves.
Even some managers seem to think they are God’s gift to Earth (we miss you, Jose Mourinho).
Let’s take a look at the 10 biggest egos working in La Liga today.
A Note on the Selections
Firstly, it must be acknowledged that something as trivial and subjective as an ego is very difficult to measure.
The actions of players and managers throughout their career have been accounted for, and we will not deny that appearance also plays a part.
Nothing screams egotistical more than a horrendous haircut.
This list, however, can only have 10.
Lionel Messi misses out because while he clearly does not lack self-confidence, the shy Argentine is incredibly humble and hardworking considering his talents.
There are plenty of youngsters such as Sociedad’s Antoine Griezmann who could do with the wake-up call that talent does not take you everywhere in football. However, there are those worse than the Frenchman.
Finally, while many consider Xavi's unerring obsession with “the way football should be played” quite irritating, he is merely one of many Catalans entranced by Cruyffian football philosophy. Barca's puppet-master is not egotistical, he has made a career based on the simple premise of making all those around him look better than himself.
10. Gerard Pique
Zlatan Ibrahimovic famously described Barcelona players as “schoolboys” who never put a foot wrong. However, he got on well enough with Pique, so well, even, that he had to emphatically reject rumours regarding his sexuality.
The 26-year-old defender has always been one of the more vibrant characters in the Barca dressing room and is comfortable with his pin-up boy status in Spain.
Pique is far from “arrogant,” but you have some ego if you can attract the attention of Shakira.
9. Sergio Garcia
Espanyol’s Sergio Garcia is not a bad player. He is also not a very good player.
So he did not impress many when he returned from Euro 2008, which he only went to thanks to Bojan Krkic’s personal withdrawal, and started agitating for a transfer from his recently relegated Zaragoza. At least not his then-manager, Marcelino, who kicked the Catalan striker out of training due to lack of effort.
He has always carried himself as if he were a player a bit better than he really is.
8. Iker Muniain
When you debut as a 16-year-old and hold the record as La Liga’s youngest-ever goalscorer it is easy to get ahead of yourself.
That is exactly what has happened with Iker Muniain who, like Bojan at Barcelona, probably made it to senior level before he was really ready for it.
He showed the height of his immaturity when caught on webcam with adult actresses and former Athletic teammate Javi Martinez.
His confidence, which brought him so far so early in his career, is perhaps now proving an obstacle.
Still only 20, Muniain has some growing up to do. He could probably start with a new haircut.
7. Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos is now a far more mature player than he was in his early years with Los Blancos.
However, the way the Spanish international carries himself (and his ever-present man-bag) and some of the things he has said quietly suggest the presence of an ego.
Ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League tie with Lyon in 2010 he boldly claimed, according to Goal.com, “we will win 3-0…[and] live another magical night at the Bernabeu.”
Madrid drew 1-1 on the night, were knocked out by the French underdogs and Ramos deservedly looked an absolute fool.
6. Giovani Dos Santos
Giovani dos Santos is not the first player who thought he was so good he could afford to live the relentless party life off the pitch. Nor will he be the last.
Harry Redknapp famously summed up the Mexican international's problems when speaking with the Daily Mail: “If he could pass a nightclub as well as he can pass a ball, he would be all right.”
As a teenager, Dos Santos had the world at his feet. I even had a poster of him on my wall—the "next Ronaldinho."
Having struggled to settle at any club since leaving Barcelona, he is now playing regularly and playing well for a new-look Villarreal team.
Could the talented Mexican finally have his salvation?
5. Karim Benzema
Incredibly powerful. Incredibly talented. Incredibly lazy. Incredibly apathetic.
The Frenchman is currently going through a goalscoring drought for his country, and former French international Jean-Pierre Papin has suggested, according to Ben Gladwell of ESPN, that Benzema "needs to feel loved."
Maybe some hard work instead would do him good.
Jose Mourinho famously blasted the Frenchman's work ethic in front of his teammates. Sky Sports reports the Portuguese manager telling him: "If it was just for you I would make training at midday because you arrive at 10 o'clock half asleep and then by 11 you are already sleeping again."
Laurent Blanc similarly complained when the striker arrived late to training, according to Goal.com's Subhankar Mondal.
With a different attitude, Benzema could play on a completely new level. Just smile a bit for starters, Benz, you are a professional footballer.
Neymar has shown maturity and humility while adapting at Barca, leaving many of his doubters chewing their words.
The young Brazilian is evidently not the “diva” the media often makes him out to be.
He does, however, know how to play it up in front of the cameras, which is why Sports Pro magazine have made him the most marketable athlete in the world for two years in a row.
He knows exactly how good he is, and his swagger goes beyond the pitch.
When he is not pulling stepovers on opposition defenders, you can generally find him taking selfies for his Instagram.
3. Diego Simeone
Replacing Jose Mourinho as La Liga's most outspoken manager is like being asked to sub in for Lionel Messi.
As a player, Diego Simeone represented the archetypal rough, fiery Argentine of the 1990s. Most will remember his heavy-handed challenge on David Beckham at the 1998 World Cup after which he theatrically simulated injury when the Englishman retaliated, which then led to Beckham being controversially sent off.
Much like Mourinho, "El Cholo" does not shy away from speaking his mind and will complain about most things.
Just this season he claimed La Liga is still "boring" due to the dominance of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Interestingly, Simeone's larger-than-life character is exactly what is driving Atleti toward breaking that duopoly.
2. Diego Costa
Haven't heard of Diego Costa?
You should have.
Not only is he turning into one of La Liga's best players, but he is also arguably the most controversial.
It is unsurprising that this player, an expert instigator and universally hated within the competition, has been spat on not once but twice during his time in Spain. Firstly by fellow ego Sergio Ramos and earlier this year by Betis' Antonio Amaya.
Laced with a motor-mouth that crosses all lines of civility, a habitual need to cry wolf despite being a hulking 6’2” centre-forward and a schadenfreude-filled persona—how could you not detest Costa?
He’s a quadruple threat: possesses Jordi Alba–esque petulance, is a nutter like Pepe, brings the game into disrepute a la Luis Suarez and comes from the Joey Barton-school of talking trash.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
For No. 1, there can only really be one name.
Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the best players the game has seen, or in his opinion .
When asked during his United days why he always seemed to be involved in controversial incidents he responded, via ESPN: "I don't know why. Maybe some people don't like me. Maybe I'm too good."
He then outdid himself in 2011 when asked by BBC Sport why opposition fans so often jeer him: "I am rich, handsome and a great player. People are envious of me. I don't have any other explanation."
B/R's Guillem Balague explained last week that Ronaldo waited on the signing of Gareth Bale before signing a new contract with Real Madrid. Ronaldo wanted to be the main man again, the most expensive player in the world again.
He then rocked up to his presentation looking like this.
He doesn't care, he is Cristiano Ronaldo.
Do you agree with our selections? Who else would you bring into the discussion?