Believe it not, there was a time before professional soccer players acted like primadonnas.
If you are able to watch a game from the 1980s, you will see players giving maximum effort for relatively little money for the game they love. There was no diving, no "throw the ball back to the other team after an injury"; it was much more real.
This, of course, was long before hundreds of millions were spent in transfer fees and sign on contracts which indirectly gives players an overinflated opinion of themselves. As the game has evolved fans have been exposed to a new kind of soccer. Players are much more athletically gifted and take much better care of their physiques, and in a number of ways this has created a faster paced game.
On the other hand, there are a number of negative things leaking into the game today. Corruption, diving, and the major increase in the gap between the rich and the poor has drastically altered the game we all know and love. Money is a major factor to both the positive and negative aspects of the soccer world we live in. Because of all this wealth, a lot of the best players in the game today have a bit of arrogance to them.
In this slideshow, I will take a quick look at who puts their arrogance on display for the supporters. I want to qualify this list before you begin to navigate. Obviously, I do not know any of the players personally. A lot of these guys do a lot of charity work that goes largely unnoticed by media sharks. Their obligation to do so is widely debated by fans but it does go to show that their arrogance on the field and does not make them bad people. With that said, let's take a look at the eight most arrogant soccer players in the world today.
I wasn't going to put Tevez in this list, but lately some of his comments have come across as slightly arrogant. On the field he is a great leader and will outwork any player to a loose ball.
He was highly critical of coach Roberto Mancini's training style about a year ago and it resulted in a rather public spat between the two.
"We are at the end of a long season, we have big matches, we are tired but there are still double training sessions, morning and afternoon. Then, the next day, we train for two hours. I do not understand."
Mancini would eventually hit back, saying Tevez needs to stay in shape for City to sustain a title challenge.
Tevez then believed that he was automatically deserving a spot in Argentina's starting 11 for their upcoming Copa America tournament, despite his apathetic attitude towards the national setup (dropping out of friendlies because of "injury") and the amount of skillful players manager Julio Grondona has at his disposal.
Players should not be venting their frustration with their coaches in a public manner, and it is a sign of the times we live in today.
The most direct connection when describing someone as arrogant is self-promotion. Enter Didier Drogba.
Calling yourself the best player in anything (when you are not) automatically gets you a spot on this list.
"The voting is not down to me," he said. "But if I don't win the prize of best player in the Premiership it will be a great let down.
"This is not vanity but reality. I believe that, today, I am the best in the League.”
But more apparent than the quotes, what makes Drogba so obnoxious in the minds of most is his general aura on the field. He has this “I’m more important than everyone” attitude about himself that screams arrogance.
It has even manifested itself of late, as Chelsea appear finally ready to head in another direction. Drogba is no longer the central point of the attack after the arrival of Fernando Torres in January, and he can simply not accept that he is not the best striker on the team anymore.
Of course all of the diving does not help Drogba’s cause. He has made faking injury an art form, and will likely teach classes in the Ivory Coast to up-and-coming stars when he retires on how to win undeserved free kicks.
If you think you are more important than your country, then not only are you a complete fool, but you also have one thing in common with Mido.
OK, I’m sure it had more to do with the politics of the Egyptian FA than anything else, his attitude leaves little to be desired. Things came to a boiling point during Egypt’s 2006 African Cup of Nations when he was dismissed from the team before the team’s semifinal matchup with Senegal after having a heated argument with their manager. Afterwards, Mido was none too pleased.
"In Egypt they are amateurs. The manager is an amateur, the team are amateurs, the association are amateurs," Mido told the Daily Express.
"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.”
While that might be enough to characterize a player as arrogant, it goes much deeper with this guy. When he was at Tottenham, he described then-Portsmouth and former Premier League medal winner defender Sol Campbell as the easiest player he ever played against. There are countless examples of this nonsense with Mido, which is sad given how talented (and underrated) of a player he really is.
Mido has played for 10 teams over the course of his turbulent career, failing to reach the 50-game mark with any of them. What is the lowest common denominator?
Talk about a hothead with a very high opinion of himself.
You may have noticed that a few of these arrogant players have bounced around from team to team because of their attitude. Cassano certainly qualifies in that aspect. He has played for Roma, Real Madrid, Sampdoria and Milan since his first big money move from Bari in 2001 (at the time he was the world’s most expensive teenager), and has clashed with just about every manager he has played with since.
His arrogant attitude is the biggest reason why. His mouth has caused spats with many a famous manager, including Fabio Capello. Cassano’s criticism of the current English boss while at Roma was the beginning of this string of arrogant instances that largely derailed his career.
This is also another case of a person’s mental game adversely affecting his career. Those teams above show the talent this kid has. He has been given a shot at the best clubs in the world and, for one reason or and another, cannot sustain an extended period of good form.
We finally come to Mr. Arrogance, Cristiano Ronaldo. If anyone remembers former WWF star Rick Martel's character, "The Model" his arrogance perfume must have been consumed by Ronaldo in buckets, because every single moment he is in front of a TV camera he is acting obnoxious.
Whenever he loses a tackle, he's either flailiing around like a fish out of water or throwing his hands in the air like he deserved a free kick. It's doubly frustrating to watch sitting at home, not only because his diving and faking injuries often disrputs the flow of the match, but it takes away from his ability as a soccer player.
If he would cut that nonsense out of his game, he would be a pure joy to watch. As fans, we love seeing the best in the world doing amazing things with the football we never thought possible.
Barcelona's Dani Alves, not the most modest of characters himself, agrees that his arrogance dampers the massive amount of talent Ronaldo has. “To be the best player in the world, you cannot just play well, you must also be liked by other people, and I understand that his attitude ends up hurting, a little, the great player that he really is.
From his diving, his wide-ranging hand guestures, to his quotes, Ronaldo is probably the most arrogant soccer player of all time. He is the epitome of the "me" generation.
Give him a microphone and he will speak. What usually comes out are statements that reflect his arrogant attitude.
Robinho is clearly one of the most talented soccer players in the world. His transition from South American wunderkind to European megastar has not always been a smooth one, but he can certainly be described as a winner who can find the back of the net.
Most of his comedic outbursts came during his spell at Manchester City from 2008-2010. Of course, he felt that he wasn’t used properly and let anyone who would listen know about his frustrations. Below are a collection of quotes from the Brazilian star regarding his Man City days.
“Neither Hughes nor Mancini understood me."
“Perhaps they only believed in the sporting side of things but that wasn’t enough for me.”
“There was a lack of contact between the players and the club.”
“It was much like an office; to training and goodbye, to a match and goodbye.”
“I am Brazilian and I can’t offer my best performance if I’m not happy in every aspect of life.”
“That was my problem. I am a special footballer and I need to be happy when I’m playing.”
“That was the case at Real Madrid but never at City.”
The statement “I am a special footballer” sums it up. Arrogance personified.
I’m pretty sure most would have guessed this guy would appear on the list.
Mario Ballotelli has a lot of potential as a footballer. He is still very young and should improve as time goes on. He should also learn how to develop his attitude.
After winning Tuttosport’s Golden Boy trophy in 2010, given to the best player in the world under 21 years of age, he was completely unaware of one of his biggest challengers.
“Who should have won this award but me? Two years ago I finished sixth and a year ago fourth. It was finally my turn.”
“I don’t know who Wilshere is but the next time I play against Arsenal I will keep a close eye on him.”
I might be picking on the poor lad, I’m sure most outside of London didn’t know who Jack Wilshere was until the second half of this season. In fact, a lot of the negative sentiment towards Balotelli came during his time at Inter, when he found himself in the doghouse of Jose Mourinho. The two most important aspects of being a Mourinho-type player are teamwork and work rate, and the Italian had little of either when he burst onto the Inter stage in 2008.
"Let me give an example of when we played at home in the semi-final of the Champions League against Barcelona and he would not take the field.
"I threw him into the fray and Mario was static, not even giving a hand in defence."
Even Italian legend Francesco Totti referred to the future star as arrogant, which “influences people not to love him” in 2009.
While it may be a bit juvenile and he might grow out of it, Balotelli can certainly be classified as arrogant at this point in his career.
A “never my fault” sort of player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has long been accused of having an attitude problem. And, it should come as no surprise he has bounced around a bit over the course of his career.
The tall Swede is one of the most unique players in world football. His goal scoring record is quite impressive, as well as his skill for a player with his stature. And boy, does he know how good he is.
Ibrahimovic never had the best relationship with teammates because of this. Former Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro was once quoted explaining how much of a bad dude Ibrahimovic was as a teamate:
"When we were playing together at Juve, he told me: 'If you won the Scudetto aged 30 it was thanks to me. Before that you hadn’t won anything,'" Cannavaro told Chi magazine.
Taking criticism is not his strong point, either. Here is one of his gems: “That's nice, you talk too much and you write too much… even when I was at Barcelona. If you don't like me, (then) don't watch me.”
Often described as the "perfect footballer", Ibrahimovic definitely buys into his hype. He knows how good he is and puts himself on a pedestal that even his teammates are beneath.