Bad boys, bad boys, what you gonna do?
Sometimes, the Beautiful Game ain't so pretty. Tough-tackling defenders get a bit carried away with their tough tackling, sneaky plays happen and a few accomplished actors try to get away with the well-timed dive. A few have been so brash as to rack up the rare and infamy-gathering multiple red cards in a single season.
Here, in no particular order, are 10 of the worst red-card offenders in world football. Naturally, there are quite a few more, but these guys particularly came to mind.
Just don't tell them; they might hurt us.
As always, if you have more to add or other bad boys of the game you'd like to suggest, have at it in the comments.
The veteran AS Roma defender, known for his stellar careers at Boca Juniors and Inter Milan and given the affectionate nickname "Scarface," has also been known to get himself into a scrap or two.
Last season, he led Serie A in red cards with three, with another three occurring throughout his career, along with 46 yellows throughout his career.
The low point for Burdisso came in a 2007 Champions League match against Valencia, when a brawl broke out between him and Valencia's David Navarro, who ties his record for career red cards. Navarro punched Burdisso in the face and broke his nose.
Burdisso was banned for six matches; Navarro for seven months.
Bolton Wanderers captain Kevin Davies is a tricky one, in that he doesn't usually get sent off, but he does get cautioned a whole heck of a lot. He has the second-highest total of career yellow cards in the Premiership (99), second only to Lee Bowyer and first in terms of active Premiership players.
An unusually hard player for a striker, Davies' strength and determination often translates into highly physical play and sometimes gets him into trouble. The past two seasons, he's been cautioned more times than he's scored goals—basically, he's seen disciplinary action more times in two seasons than he's done what Bolton is paying him to do.
If he keeps it up, he might be looking at sending his yellow card rate into triple digits this season.
The 19-year-old Brazilian wünderkind may be better known for his mad striking talent and for being the object of desire of many big clubs in Europe as the January transfer window draws nearer, but Neymar is already looking at a disciplinary to match his larger-than-life status.
Only on the third season of his professional career, Neymar has already racked up three red cards and a whopping 43 yellows. With his move to Europe looking more certain—and seeing as he has plenty of career left—there may be more where that came from.
The Lecce midfielder and Uruguayan international may not be the most recognizable on this list, but to Serie A fans, he's notorious for two consecutive seasons with three sendoffs each, not to mention 21 yellow cards in five seasons across the Italian league.
He hasn't been sent off this year yet—in fact, he scored against AC Milan over the weekend—but it's only a matter of time, really.
The Barcelona and Argentina defensive midfielder has seen two Olympic gold medals, a Champions League cup and a number of domestic titles in his time at some of the world's most prestigious clubs. His dynamism and leadership have made him such a key player that Diego Maradona once remarked that his national team was "Mascherano and 10 more."
That being said, Masche doesn't exactly have the cleanest record in football.
He netted three red cards while at Liverpool and two so far this season, both with Argentina in the Copa América. His most memorable (perhaps not the best choice of words) offense came while he was at Liverpool in 2009, where he was shown a straight red and suspended for four matches for a nasty tackle on Portsmouth's Tal Ben-Haim.
Real Madrid's ferocious Brazilian-born Portuguese international centre-back is rather brilliant at what he does—a combative, physical powerhouse willing to risk some serious damage for the sake of his team.
But Pepe's brazenness on the pitch is coupled with a short fuse, which has led to some violent displays, five career red cards and 33 yellows—four just this season.
His most infamous dirty tackle wasn't a tackle at all. Rather, in a 2009 match against Getafe, Pepe went flat-out nuts, shoving Javi Casquero to the ground and proceeding to kick him repeatedly, before hitting Casquero's teammate Juan Albin in the face.
Not only was he sent off, but he was banned for 10 matches and will go down in history as one of the game's most memorable hot tempers.
Sunderland fans like to celebrate their longtime tough-tackling defensive midfielder with this homage to Michael Jackson, sung to the tune of "Smooth Criminal": 'You've been hit by / you've been struck by / Lee Cattermole!'
Before he even arrived at the Stadium of Light, Cattermole had a fightin' reputation. While at Middlesbrough, he and teammate Matthew Bates were given a three-year ban on entering a pub in Stockton Borough after a disorderly night out. That ban has since been extended.
Last season, in the first match after being appointed captain at Sunderland, Cattermole drew a red after a pair of bookings, to be followed later in the season by a similar situation, with the second yellow and subsequent red coming on a rough Lee Bowyer challenge, drawing boos from the Sunderland away fans.
Despite his occasional bouts with bad behavior on the pitch, Cattermole's experience and tenacity still make him Steve Bruce's first choice to wear the captain's armband.
The former Manchester City and Republic of Ireland icon and current Aston Villa man is tied with Duncan Ferguson and Patrick Vieira for the dubious honor of the modern Premier League record for the most career red cards, with a whopping eight in his 15 years on the pitch. He has the highest count for an active player in the Premiership.
His costliest move came in the quarterfinals of the 2009 UEFA Cup, when a reckless foul on Hamburg's Mladen Petric got him sent off, leaving City to play with just ten men and lose on aggregate, ending their European ambitions.
You've probably never heard of Paul Cooper. That's because he's an amateur player with Scottish side Hawick United, but his disciplinary record is truly professional-grade.
In a 2010 match against Pencaitland, Cooper got sent off for misconduct and then received an additional five red cards for verbally abusing the official, ultimately resulting in a two-year ban.
As he told BBC Scotland: "Unfortunately I've been in bother before with bans and I expected six months. But I was absolutely stunned when I got two years."
The best part? According to that BBC story on the incident, the guy's nickname is "Santa."
Veteran centre-back Kevin Muscat, who plays for Australian regional league club Sunshine George Cross (formerly of Melbourne Victory) has had so many disciplinary moments and notorious red cards, he could have his own 10-item list and then some.
Muscat has one of the worst disciplinary records in the game. In a 19-year span, he racked up a dozen red cards and 95 yellows, not to mention he has given two other players long-term injuries in his rough playing. While at Wolverhampton, he even went so far as to give Charlton's Matty Holmes a career-ending broken leg.
After this horror tackle on Adrian Zahra during the Melbourne derby earlier this year, Muscat was banned from Australian football for eight months in what was thought to be the end of his career. But now, in the regional leagues, Muscat could very well make it a baker's dozen.