Ronaldo Cries in the World Cup
Every fan has a different player that irks him or her in one way or another. It would not be the beautiful game without having a bad guy for every good guy. Good versus evil—for every fan it is different, and this constant clash keeps healthy competition alive and well.
Here is my starting 11 of players who I absolutely love to not be able to stand.
What was this man doing on a top-four English Premier League club? Manuel Almunia's constant transition between brilliant and bad managed to fool the Arsenal hierarchy into keeping him as first-choice keeper for more than three years.
In 2010, he was so bad that Arsenal recalled their former, and retired, goalkeeper Jens Lehmann on a short-term contract to back up Almunia. After an embarrassing few games, Manuel watched from the bench injured as Lehmann helped Arsenal to a 3-1 win at Blackpool.
He was so bad, in fact, that once former second string goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny returned from injury, Lehmann dropped to back up Szczęsny and Almunia was relegated to third-string goalie.
He did not play for Arsenal again for the rest of the year.
He has not played international football, and I will feel sorry for Spain or England should they ever trust him to keep the ball out of the net, as he is not trustworthy enough to keep a blind man from traffic.
Team: Inter Milan
Maicon is a hugely successful right back for Inter and for Brazil.
Unfortunately, he bugs me because he kept the more talented Dani Alves unfairly on the bench for Brazil.
Maicon is a great player and one of the best defenders of the decade. Bad news for him is he shares the same position with the most successful right back of this decade in Alves.
Materazzi, Still Warming the Bench
Team: Inter Milan, Currently a Free Agent
Plain and simple, Marco Materazzi is one of the dirtiest players in the modern game. He is known as "The Butcher" because his unpredictability on and off the field, and his overly aggressive dirty play style.
Even in the supposedly more aggressive EPL, he once lined up for Everton and was sent off four times in 27 games.
"The Matrix" is the man responsible for what was supposed to be Zidane's glorious farewell in the World Cup final, turn into a nightmare ending in the Frenchman's dismissal eventually setting the tone for France losing to Italy in a shootout. A shootout that Materazzi scored in.
He has been the cause of countless injuries as he goes in for every tackle seemingly with the intent to hurt.
John Terry, Down and Out
Even before any of his recent controversy, John Terry has proven that he is a horrible person.
Shortly following the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., Johnny boy and three friends joyously drank in a Heathrow Airport Hotel Bar, stripped off their clothes, vomited, and hurled abuse at crying American tourists as they watched the footage of their fellow countrymen dying. Unforgivable.
The rest is history. He had an affair with the girlfriend of former teammate and close friend Wayne Bridge. He assaulted a nightclub bouncer and claimed self-defense. Terry was also put under police investigation for racist abuse against Anton Ferdinand, and at one time was fined for parking in a disabled spot, possibly the worst offense of all.
He is in no way worthy of captaining England. By doing so, he disgraces their image. England has a host of world-class players and young talent. It is time to move on without the scum of the cesspool that is John Terry.
Team: Manchester United
This is the first player I hate for very little reason. Patrice Evra is extremely talented and efficient playing from left-back and transitioning into attack when need be. His blistering speed makes any offense on his side nearly impossible to get behind Evra's left flank of the defense.
Playing in the World Cup and representing the home country is the ultimate honor for a player. Evra was even handed the opportunity to captain his country to glory in the 2010 World Cup. Instead of honoring his country, he led a player revolt against the coach after NIcholas Anelka's seclusion from the squad.
Because of this senseless strike held by the players in a time meant for unity, Evra was benched for their final group stage match as France tumbled out of the World Cup after some of the most disgraceful behavior from players in World Cup history.
Team: Manchester City
Nigel De Jong is an ode to the poor quality of referees nowadays.
During a friendly with the U.S. shortly before the world cup, a horrendous tackle from the Dutchman resulted in American star Stuart Holden's fractured leg, rendering him injured for what could have been his breakthrough tournament. Holden was also enjoying a breakthrough season with Bolton, a season in which he missed half their games, yet still won Bolton player of the season.
He showed his martial arts talent in the World Cup with his kick to the chest of Xabi Alonso and he caused a double fracture of Ben Arfa's left tibia and fibula.
To date, he only has one red card. This was a result of two yellow card offenses in a Euro Cup match in 2006.
How this man manages to stay on the field while causing career-threatening injuries is a mystery.
Carrick, Manchester United
Team: Manchester United
Michael Carrick does not have any controversy surrounding him like the previous players.
He does not convince me as a caliber player to be representing a team with the talent of Manchester. Many of his goals from midfield have been in games that he has already won. There are a few exceptions, but he never really shows up in any big matches outside of the 2008 Champions League final.
He is the kind of player who is as good as the talent around him. He does not show the class of dominant midfielders such as Xavi Hernandez, Wesley Sneijder, Paul Scholes, or Steven Gerrard, who can truly orchestrate a team.
Claudio Marchisio needs to stop tricking Juventus into thinking he has any talent.
He possesses a powerful shot with either foot, enabling him to miss horrible long range efforts from outside of the box again and again.
His trick is as follows: Just as fans and players get fed up with his lack of impact and lack of goals, he will hit a goal of the season contender from far outside of the box. Usually at a moment where a goal is desperately need.
Then, for a while, he is the savior of Juventus until the whole process repeats itself.
Team: Manchester United
Nani has enjoyed fantastic success and proven his worth as one of the best wingers in the world. His talent has nothing to do with his skill.
I dislike him because he cries like an infant that has just been dropped, and dives like an Olympic swimmer. Yes, many players cheat and dive, but sometimes I think Nani mistakes the grass for water.
Fortunately for Nani, even his controversial play-acting still makes him hard to insult. He has been one of the best players in the English Premier League and is irreplaceable for Manchester.
Team: Real Madrid
Either love Cristiano Ronaldo or you hate him. I am the latter.
Self-described as the best player in the world, he has more ego than talent. He has proven that whatever team he goes to, he will bring goals and success with him. He has also proven that wherever he is, he is still unable to beat Messi and Barcelona.
There are great teams and great individuals. Ronaldo is the summation of Real Madrid's team of randomly assorted fantastic individuals playing together. They look like one of the best teams in the world right now, but just like in this year's Classico loss to Barcelona, they will fall short domestically and internationally until they are able to gel together.
With a princess like Ronaldo, who only thinks about himself and what clothing line he will model for next, Madrid could be the perennial runner-up similiar to the Galacticos of the early 2000s.
I doubt Ronaldo's Madrid will even reach a fraction of the success the first era of Galactico's achieved in two league titles and a Champions League trophy. Just like their predecessors, this Madrid will fall short of their sky-high expectations.
Luís Figo, Wearing a Pirate Hat
Team: Real Madrid, Inter Milan
Luís Figo is another player whose talent cannot be called into question.
He betrayed Barcelona by jumping on the Madrid bandwagon and played out of position on the left to accommodate David Beckham. There was a great deal of unrest between Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane with competition of who was a better player, and it is hypothesized this feud played part in the first Galactico's collapse after 2003.
He is one of the best players of his generation, but he sure knows how to bug people.