Zinedine Zidane, Diego Maradona and 15 of Football's Most Violent Moments
Football creates a great deal of stress for everyone involved. The pressure to succeed and the anger that competing at the top level can cause lead to some violent incidents such as head-butts, tackles and fights.
Thus, here are some incidents where those involved in the most popular sport in the world lost their tempers.
This list is not intended to catalogue every angry incident, nor is it a ranking of all the angry moments. It is merely a list of incidents that I've come across. Please feel free to provide any you know of in the comments section below.
Rooney Throws an Elbow
Just last weekend, Wayne Rooney cynically elbowed James McCarthy in the head for no apparent reason.
Rooney has developed a reputation for being an angry, aggressive player, and this latest example proves just how well deserved that reputation is. He has used his elbow before, last season attempting to elbow Abdy Faye.
There is no doubting Rooney's footballing ability, but unfortunately with that ability comes a whole lot of anger that has caused many to hate Rooney.
Gattuso Head-Butts Joe Jordan
Gennaro Gattuso already had a reputation for being an angry man, and his recent head-butt on Joe Jordan, himself a tough man, has done nothing to alter that.
The veteran has since been banned for four UEFA Champions League games, as well as an additional one for yellow card accumulation.
The head-butt comes at the end of the video.
El Hadji Diouf Spits
El Hadji Diouf spat at Celtic fans while he was a Liverpool player in 2003. It is a topic that has resurfaced in recent times, as the controversial midfielder is now a Rangers player. He was charged with assault and fined £5,000.
Since that incident, Diouf has been caught spitting at an 11-year-old Middlesbrough fan as well as in the face of Portsmouth player Arjan de Zeeuw.
Felipe Melo Kicks Out
Felipe Melo was already hated after his stamp in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup earned him a red card, but this blatant kick to the head in a league match against Parma earlier this year has made him even more so.
Melo was fouled, but the referee had already blown his whistle by the time the kick was delivered. This means that the referee had a pretty good view of the incident. Melo clearly did not care if he got caught or not—he was simply out for revenge.
Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer Get Physical
Players usually get angry at referees or the opposition, not their teammates, and when they do get angry at each other, they usually manage to avoid getting physical with each other.
Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer, for some reason, decided to have it out on the pitch. Aside from the FA charges, Bowyer got himself charged by the police for breaking the Public Order Act.
Joey Barton has developed a reputation for being an angry man. He's had some trouble with the law, pulled his shorts down and put in some hefty challenges. Here is one of his more recent incidents.
I just love that he tries to pretend that all he did was give him a gentle, friendly nudge.
Mario Balotelli isn't exactly a saint on or off the pitch, but here he was the victim.
With Roma losing 1-0 in the final minutes of 2010's Coppa Italia, Totti lost it and hunted down Inter's Balotelli, hacking the back of his leg viciously.
Diego Maradona Involved in a Brawl
While at Barcelona, Maradona, along with much of his team, got into a fight with their opponents, Atletico Bilbao. No stranger to controversy, Maradona waded right in, laying one opponent out with a huge knee to the face.
Maradona was probably angry because earlier that season an Atletico Bilbao player had put him on the sidelines for three months. Still, that is no excuse for starting a mass brawl where martial art kicks were the main weapon.
Tianjin Assualt Referee
Tianjin, a domestic side from China, were not happy with some refereeing decisions during their match against Beijing. Three players received red cards during the match, and the team considered refusing to continue with the match, something that would have at least been peaceful.
After the match some of the Tianjin players evaded the security guards and very nearly managed to do some serious damage to the referee, but he managed to escape.
Chile Second Division
Clearly this Chilean referee didn't like what a player said to him after receiving a red card, so he lashed out. This move was not appreciated by the players' teammates, who gave chase to the referee.
The referee's escape suggests that he is in fact in better shape than the players.
The Chilean second division does not seem to be a safe place for referees. After seeing a penalty be retaken three times, Jose Pedrozo lost his cool and put a choke hold on the referee.
After being restrained and sent off, Pedrozo announced his retirement. Nonetheless, he was banned for 27 matches just to make sure he wouldn't be back any time soon.
Elizabeth Lambert clearly watched some of football's tougher players while growing. Lambert was a college soccer player for New Mexico's women's side. After assaulting several players in a match, she eventually received a yellow card.
The outrage caused by the total lack of punishment led her college to suspend her indefinitely.
Feel free to ignore the French guy in the video; the action gets started after about 25 seconds.
This is probably the most famous case of a player losing his temper. Zidane, one of the all-time greats of the game, was in his final match, the World Cup final, when Marco Materazzi insulted his sister. Zidane turned around and head-butted him, earning himself a red card.
France went on to lose the final, something that might not have happened if Zidane had kept his cool.
Ben Thatcher Destroys Pedro Mendes
As a Portsmouth fan, I may be a little biased here, but I think this is one of the worst, most unnecessary challenges I have ever seen. There is no way it was an accident; Thatcher looks over at Mendes a couple of times before going in with his elbow straight at his face.
It's not even like this was an isolated incident. Previously, Thatcher had collapsed the lung of a player from Shanghai.
Thatcher was banned for six games by his club, as well as eight by the FA.
Benjamin Massing Vs. Claudio Caniggia
This is a truly awful tackle with absolutely no intent to get anywhere near the ball. Luckily Caniggia was OK, a surprise given that Massing went in so hard his own boot flew off.
This was the opening fixture of the tournament, which meant that Massing had a chance to come back into the Cameroon side and commit another foul, taking out Gary Linekar in Cameroon's quarterfinal loss.
Caniggia helped Argentina to the final of the 1990 World Cup despite this horrific challenge but was suspended for the final.