Top 50 Most Hated Players in World Football History: Ronaldo, Rooney, Zidane...

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst INovember 20, 2010

Top 50 Most Hated Players in World Football History: Ronaldo, Rooney, Zidane...

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    Well before I carry on with my slideshow I duly apologize to people who might be antagonized by the players I have selected.

    The list is exhaustive and everyone's name cannot be included. So everyone is invited to make their additions freely and make suggestions too.

    Football from its start has been a dirty game. The unfairness and unruly things add glamour to the game and makes it all the more popular.

    In the process, some players have turned villains while some have turned heroes. Most players at one time or other have been hated by some fans.

    In the following slides we will take a look into 50 such players who are the most hated in football history.

Robbie Savage

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    An excellent midfielder with brilliant combative skills, Savage was also once the Premier League's most hated player.

    Controversy was the other name of this footballer. His notoriety with his tough defending made him a figure of hatred for opposition fans and players alike. He held the dubious record of garnering the most yellow cards (89) in Premier League history before Lee Bowyer overcame his record.

    Of his many controversial incidents, one famous example was the "Poogate" affair. He had used the referee's toilet before a game, citing an upset stomach as the reason. He was fined for his eccentric act.

    Another of his antics included his dive inside the penalty area in a match against Derby County that resulted in a penalty and his club's eventual winner. His overly aggressive celebrations resulted in two Derby County players being booked and he being chased by infuriated Derby players.

    Though an extremely talented and skilled player, Savage was also one of the dirtiest and hated players of all time.

Rio Ferdinand

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11: Rio Ferdinand speaks to the press after the England training session at Wembley Stadium on October 11, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    The England defender has had his share of controversies and disciplinary problems during his footballing career. Be it his failed drug tests or charges of rash driving, the Englishman has quite a lot of haters.

    In 2003 he failed a drug test and was handed an eight-month ban at club and international level. Then in 2008 after losing 2-1 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, he angrily kicked a stewardess at the club, inflicting deep bruises on her leg.

    Though he later apologised and said he had sent flowers to the lady, the claim was rejected as a downright lie by the stewardess and her husband.

    In 2000 he appeared in a sexually explicit video at a Cyprus resort alongwith English teammates Frank Lampard and Keiron Dyer which was aired by a news channel. He was also alleged to be involved in a string of sexcapades with models and young girls.

    Though he is a top-notch defender on the pitch, his off-field antics have earned him severe criticism and haters all around the world.

Artur Boruc

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    FLORENCE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 07: Artur Boruc of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Serie A match between Fiorentina and Chievo at Stadio Artemio Franchi on November 7, 2010 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
    Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

    The talented and highly rated Polish goalie is seen as one of the finest goalkeepers in present football.

    But the former Celtic shot-stopper has had his piece of controversies. He was charged for allegedly making gestures to Celtic's fierce rival Rangers' fans and incensed them. He was eventually cautioned but that little effect, as he repeated the same gestures again when the clubs met.

    He further garnered controversy when he displayed a t-shirt with "God bless the Pope" written on it along with a picture of the late Pope John-Paul II.

    In 2007, he further increased his hatred among Rangers fans when he displayed a flag proclaiming Celtic as champions after a match against their bitter rivals.

    He has since then moved on to Italy but has made a group of Boruc-haters nevertheless.

Nicolas Anelka

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    This mild-spoken French striker is not someone you will expect to be in this list of hated players. But the 31-year-old Chelsea forward did something least expected from him.

    During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Anelka, reportedly angered by coach Raymond Domenech's criticism of his positioning, verbally abused him. According to the media, he had told Domenech, "Va te faire enculer, sale fils de pute," which stands out to mean, "Go fuck yourself, you son of a whore."

    He was suspended by the French Football Federation for his actions, which led to a training strike by other players of the national team. But the FFF stuck to its decision and handed out an 18-man batch to Anelka.

    The player antagonised many after he publicly refused to apologise for his actions and even said that the ban was a joke to him, as he had already decided to retire.

    Though not known as a spoilt brat, his actions were clearly unsporting and earned him a place in this list.

Emmanuel Adebayor

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    The Togo striker has made himself quite a number of haters by his antics on the field and off it.

    After being severely criticised by the Arsenal fans over his poor attitude and low work rate, the lanky striker left the Emirates and made a move to the Eastlands in a multi-million dollar deal. His actions culminating in his transfer made him perhaps one of the most hated Arsenal players of all time.

    Thereafter, to add further fuel to the fire, he ran across the field to celebrate his goal against his former club, infuriating the already incensed fans in a match in which City humbled Arsenal 4-2. His actions led to the fans hurling objects into the field and knocking unconscious a steward.

    The FA thereafter charged him with unsporting behaviour, handing him a two-match ban and 25,000-pounds fine.

    Though Adebayor later made a public apology, he has not been forgiven, and with a decent number of haters against his name, the Togo man makes the list.

Diego Maradona

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    Diego Armando Maradona, perhaps the greatest player to have plied his trade on the football field. The Argentine mesmerized the world with his footballing skills as he single-handedly won Argentina the 1986 World Cup. Nobody will forget his "Goal of the Century" as well as the "Hand of God" goal.

    Maradona was a hero as well as a villain. His good deeds were evened out by his bad deeds both on the field and off it.

    After scoring a masterpiece goal against England, he eventually scored another one with his hand and confidently accepted it without any air of shame.

    The Argentine was held guilty of using banned drugs and was eventually banished from international football. He was hated by many as a shame to the game of football, while others worshiped him as the the all-time footballing legend.

Zinedine Zidane

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    BERLIN - JULY 09:  Fabio Cannavaro (R) of Italy gestures towards Zinedine Zidane #10 (L) of France, whilst Marco Materazzi of Italy lies injured, after being headbutted  in the chest by Zinedine Zidane of France during the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Fina
    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    The worst way to end one of the most illustrious footballing careers was shown by the wizard Zinedine Zidane.

    The Frenchman seen as an idol by millions of young footballers and loved by all for his calm nature and soft-spoken attitude did the unthinkable in the final match of his career.

    During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Zidane almost single-handedly took his national team to the final. In the final against Italy, he scored a goal in the early half of the game to give his team a lead. He almost scored a second but was foiled by the Italian goalkeeper.

    Then in the 110th minute of the game, an altercation with Italian defender Marco Materazzi resulted in an enraged Zidane headbutting the Italian player on his chest. The French football wizard was sent off and France went on to lose the game in the penalty shootout.

    His headbutt and subsequent sending-off will always be remembered as the reason for France's loss, and his actions cost him respect. Zidane refused to apologise later and even said that he would rather die than apologise.

    So while he was undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have played football, his career will always be overshadowed by that shameful act and the hatred he made in the heart of people who once loved and adored him.

El-Hadji Diouf

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    BLACKBURN, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 04:  El Hadji Diouf of Blackburn Rovers argues with Huerelho Gomes and Jonathan Woodgate of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur at Ewood Park on April
    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Controversy has been part of the Senegalese forward all through his career. Be it spitting at opposition players or fans or angry flare-ups with referees and officials, Diouf has done enough to make a decent amount of haters.

    Of many such incidents, a memorable one was when he spat at opposition Celtic fans while he was playing for Liverpool. Though he later apologised to the fan and also pleaded guilty there was no remorse from him, as he spat again at Middlesborough fans a year later while at Bolton.

    Thereafter he was charged by the FA for improper conduct after he pleaded guilty to spitting at Portsmouth player Arjan de Zeeuw. He was banned for three games and fined two week's wages.

    But that did not bother him, even as in 2010 he was arrested and charged by police for motoring offences. He is a figure of hatred in the Premier League and will always find his name in such lists.

DaMarcus Beasley

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    PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 02:  Midfielder DeMarcus Beasley of US national soccer speaks during a news conference on June 2, 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The American winger was never involved in any on-field controversies all his career.

    But when he thought to lighten himself up on the sidelines during a match with the whole world watching, it was not something very clever to do. His actions disgusted fans all over and generated some hatred for him.

Mario Balotelli

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    No young player in football history has earned as much hatred as this Italian.

    The 20-year-old's short career has been plagued more by controversies and on-field troubles than his total appearances. It seems he likes to maintain his "Bad Boy" image all through as time and again he has been involved in various controversies and has shown little remorse for his actions.

    After an impressive first season at Inter Milan's first team, the Ghanaian-origin striker faced a number of disciplinary problems. He was accused by then-Inter manager Jose Mourinho for showing less effort in training.

    But Balotelli seemed unconcerned and he was ultimately dropped from the senior team by Jose. He was dropped from the team after an altercation with the manager during the 2009-10 season.

    He further earned himself criticism after he appeared in rival Milan's jersey during an interview, much to the anger of Inter fans.

    But the one that earned him haters from all over the football community was when after his club's Champions League semifinal against Barca, he threw the jersey into the ground as a reaction to the fans booing him for his poor performance. It drew him severe flak from all spheres of footballing world and effectively ended his association with Inter Milan.

    Presently he is the youngest footballer in footballing history to have such a high number of haters.

Manuel Almunia

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    Perhaps no other goalkeeper in the English Premier League's history has so many derogatory nicknames as does this Spanish goalie.

    He is presently seen as the measurement of worst by many, and those include even fans of his club Arsenal. Numerous mistakes under the post cost his team valuable points and earned him severe criticism.

    Among his notable performances, pun intended, are the miss he made against FC Porto, his mistake against Birmingham that cost Arsenal two points and his error against Liverpool. After the season ended cries were made to sell him ASAP, and he was probably Arsenal's most hated player of all time.

    He was not sold and maintained a good form in the new season before playing the major role in Arsenal's shock 3-2 defeat to Premier League newcomers West Brom, where he was to be blamed for two of the three goals conceded.

    Almunia has since then been replaced, but the hatred for him is still there.

Thierry Henry

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    Arsenal's greatest player ever had been void of any controversies all through his career. The 33-year-old retired French striker was seen as a gentleman player all through his career.

    But a poor incident during the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification marred his reputation and brought him under severe criticism. During his country's final qualification match against Northern Ireland, with the score tied at 1-1, Henry did something of a Maradona-type "Hand of God" to set up the winner. That goal led his country to the 2010 FIFA World Cup while the Irish went back home.

    The Frenchman's actions caused an uproar in the footballing world, with claims of suspension or replay of the match to be made. FIFA ordered an inquiry into the incident. Henry later revealed that he had thought of retiring from international football and also that he had been threatened after the incident.

    Though numerous people defended his actions as reflexive, the gentle forward had already made a decent number of haters in the footballing world and he is no more loved by everyone after his unsporting behaviour.

Anderson

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    SUNDERLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 11: Cristiano Ronaldo (R) of Manchester United chats with team mate Anderson as they sit on the bench prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at The Stadium of Light on April 1
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    The 22-year-old Brazilian became a cult hero after his arrival to Manchester United.

    In a bonding party organised by then United players Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Nani, it was alleged that the four United players had an eight-some orgy by the pool of Ronaldo's house. The news was revealed by a escort girl who had been paid to attend the so-called "bonding party."

    The scandal resulted in songs being chanted of Anderson's actions during matches. He has since been pretty clean but the hatred he developed for himself on arrival has not yet been erased.

Joao Morais

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    The Portuguese defender overshadowed the meeting of the two most talented players of all times—Pele and Eusebio—during the 1966 World Cup by his blatant attacks on Pele.

    The Portuguese players and especially Morais made Pele their target and shoved, pushed and kicked him until it was too much for the Brazilian great to take.

    A dangerous chop by Morais on Pele left the footballing legend limping and so disgusted that he vowed never to play again in a World Cup.

    His attacks on Pele, at that time the biggest thing in football, naturally earned him a lot of hate and hence a place in the list.

Luis Suarez

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    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 02:  Luis Suarez of Uruguay handles the ball on the goal line, for which he is sent off, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Uruguay and Ghana at the Soccer City stadium on July 2, 2010
    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Well, if you have watched these 2010 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match between Ghana and Uruguay, you will know very easily why Suarez has his name in the list.

    The extremely talented Ajax forward earned a lot of criticism and hate for his notorious handball on the touchline of the goal to prevent a Ghana goal. His actions helped his country to victory and earned him a red card. But he drew further flak for his unrepentant behaviour after the match, when he compared his match-winning handball to Maradona's "Hand of God."

    These actions were enough to make him a hated footballer as the more deserving Ghanaians were sent packing home while Uruguay moved to the semifinals.

Mauro Tassotti

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    18 MAY 1994:  MAURO TASSOTTI OF AC MILAN LIFTS THE EUROPEAN CUP OVER HIS HEAD AFTER DEFEATING BARCELONA 4-0 IN THE FINAL PLAYED IN ATHENS IN GREECE.
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    The Italian holds the record for the longest suspension ever handed out to a footballer.

    During the 1994 World Cup quarterfinal between Italy and Spain, a last-minute attack by Spain saw a cross arrive into the Azzuri box. Spanish player Luis Enrique stormed inside the Italian box to convert it. Tassotti landed a devastating elbow into his face and game was stopped. Enrique lost a pint of blood and was unable to stand on his feet.

    Italy eventually won the match 2-1.

    Tassotti repeatedly claimed that he never intended to hurt his opponent but was charged for improper conduct and handed a eight-match suspension. That match was to be his last international game.

    The action earned him lot of hate and also the dubious record for the longest suspension.

Mark Van Bommel

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    JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 11:  Mark Van Bommel of the Netherlands falls under the challenge of Andres Iniesta of Spain during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in
    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Well, he might be one of the best enforcing midfielders at present, but there is no denying the fact he is also one of the most hated players in present football.

    Known for his tough tackles and uncompromising attitude, the Dutchman is hated for deadly fouls that are worthy of being red-carded. His foul on Spain's Andres Iniesta during this year's World Cup final was only one of the many tackles that he inflicts upon his opponents.

    Van Bommel maybe a talented and top-quality midfielder but he is also widely hated by rival fans and players for his nasty tackles.

Dennis Wise

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    The English midfielder has been in the centre of controversy all throughout his career, and wherever he went he generated hatred.

    He was once famously described by Sir Alex as someone who can start a fight in an empty house. His Chelsea career was marred by disciplinary problems on the field and incidents off it.

    In 1995, he was charged with assaulting a taxi driver and sentenced to three-month imprisonment, which was later overturned on appeal. But he nonetheless was stripped of his captaincy.

    In 1999, he was accused of biting a rival player during Chelsea's Cup Winner's Cup tie. He missed a massive 15 games for Chelsea due to suspension during the 1998-99 season.

    While at Leicester, he courted controversy after he broke teammate Callum Davidson's nose and jaw. He was charged with serious violent conduct and sacked. He sued the club for damages and earned death threats from fans in return.

    All through his career and even as a manager he has been embroiled in numerous controversies which have made him a hated figure among fans of several clubs.

Javier Mascherano

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 16:  Javier Mascherano of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Valencia at the Camp Nou stadium on October 16, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match 2-1.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Imag
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    The timid Argentine was the spinal cord of the now-tattered Liverpool. He was pretty much loved by the Anfield crowd, but after his actions regarding transfer to Barcelona he has become heavily hated among the Reds' faithful.

    After agreeing to play one more season with Liverpool during the start of the 2009-10 season, Mascherano was desperate to join Barcelona. All efforts by the club and new manager Roy Hodgson proved futile.

    To force his issue, Mascherano refused to play for Liverpool and that at last earned him his much-desired transfer as well as the wrath of the Anfield crowd and other football lovers. He was severely criticised for the unsporting behaviour and has been a hated man ever since.

    From having a respecting and loving fan base, the Argentine converted it into an anti-Mascherano brigade.

Eric Cantona

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    Eric Cantona was the best player on the field during his time and probably the worst person on it too.

    Anyone who thinks of this French forward will also remember his infamous Kung-Fu kick. He was no doubt a quality forward who played a major role in helping his club maintain a decade of dominance in club football. But his career was characterised by his often angry outbursts which he failed to control and hence led to one controversy after another.

    In 1987, while at Auxerre, he punched his own goalkeeper and landed him a black eye for a couple of games.

    A year later, on being dropped from the French squad, he called the manager of the national team "a bag of shit" in an interview watched by millions. His angry outburst resulted in his ban from international football for a year.

    Then in 1991, while playing for Nimes, he threw the ball at the referee after being angered by some poor decisions. He was called before a disciplinary committee of the French Football Federation and handed a one-month ban. Not satisfied, he personally went up and insulted every memeber of the council and extended the ban from one to three months.

    After arriving in England to restart his career, Cantona spent some days as a well-mannered player. But soon after joining Manchester United his original self came to the front. "King Eric" spat at Leeds fans in response to their booing him all through the match.

    But the most memorable of his antics, the Kung-Fu kick, happened on 25th January, 1995 in United's match against Crystal Palace. After being sent off during the match, as he made his way back to the tunnel he faced a storm of racial abuses from a Palace fan. Mathhew Simmons then faced something he would not have ever dreamt of: Cantona entered the stands and launched a Kung-Fu kick into Simmons' face along with some more punches.

    He was banned by the club, FIFA and FA for a total of eight months but showed no repentance. His affairs with controversy made him a hated figure in both England and France as well as worldwide.

Lucas Leiva

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    The look in his face is ideally matched to what he is seen by numerous football fans all over the world—an idiot.

    No young player has ever received such severe criticism from his own fans. Signed during the era of Rafa Benitez as a promising and prodigious Brazilian youngster, Lucas Leiva did nothing to maintain his reputation. 

    After showing some glimpses of talent in his first season with the Reds it was widely expected that he would improve further in the next season. But much to everyone's disappointment, Lucas failed to deliver and a string of poor performances did him no good.

    His quality was doubted by both fans and critics. He was even booed by his fans after a subpar performance against Fulham at home.

    He was a disappointment in the first three seasons and was seen as a bad signing. Fans of both Liverpool and rival clubs made him a laughingstock. He was a figure of hate at Anfield and fans demanded him being sold off.

    Lucas has overcome those criticisms and had an impressive new season so far. But that in no way has made him a favourite among the Anfield crowd.

Leonardo

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    MILAN, ITALY - MAY 15: Head coach Leonardo of AC Milan gives a thumbs up during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Juventus FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 15, 2010 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images)
    Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

    Perhaps the AC Milan coach may look a very cool and mild-mannered person. His inclusion in the list might be doubted. 

    But the Brazilian had his moments of madness during the 1994 World Cup in the USA. In his country's second-round match against USA, Leonardo was embroiled in a minor tussle with USA player Tab Ramos.

    After the tussle was over, Ramos turned away. Leonardo elbowed Ramos in the face with full force, cracking his skull and leaving him on the field in pain. Leonardo was sent off. 

    Ramos had to be in hospital for three months before he could return to play again. Leonardo's action earned him a four-match suspension, the second-longest suspension after Italian Mauro Tossetti.

    His actions were enough to earn him a place into this revered list.

Didier Drogba

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    Well, he might at present be one of the most feared strikers, but the ill-tempered Ivorian is in no way a fan favourite. The above picture shows the Blues' talismanic striker in one such moment.

    His antics on the field have earned him hatred. The Chelsea striker has a foul temper and he fails to control it, which has seen him get banned in the past two Champions League campaigns.

    He has had several confrontations with his opposition players and managers, as well as referees. But some of the memorable ones are his slapping Vidic during a confrontation that earned him marching orders and Vidic a bleeding lip and broken tooth. It also eventually led to Chelsea losing the chance to win their debut Champions League.

    Another display of his ill temper was during Chelsea's semifinal faceoff with Barcelona in the Champions League. After poor refereeing decisions had robbed Chelsea their final berth, Drogba was unable to control his emotions and he confronted the referee with his expletives after the full-time whistle along with a few of his teammates. It earned him a five-match ban in the next edition of the Champions League.

    He is also hated by rival fans for his affinity for diving. It earned him severe criticism and also led to a verbal duel with then Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez. 

    Though the Ivorian is a top-quality player yet he is hated by numerous rival fans and players for his ill temper and diving antics.

Harald Schumacher

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    Undated:  Harald Schumacher of West Germany in action during the internationla match against Belgium in Brussells, Belgium. Mandatory Credit: David Cannon/Allsport
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    The German goalkeeper was the deadliest and perhaps the most hated goalkeeper of all time.

    He was a fine goalkeeper during his times but his entire career will be overshadowed by that one incident. During the 1982 World Cup semifinal match between France and Germany, Michel Platini made a long cross deep into German territory. French defender Patrick Battiston received the through ball and was moving alone to score a goal but shot it wide past the post.

    The German goalie was rushing forward to stop the shot and instead of doing that he seemingly lunged at Battiston and collided in mid-air with him. The collision knocked the Frenchman unconscious and he went into a coma. The foul cost Battiston two teeth and a damaged vertebra. 

    The German goalie later apologised in person to Battiston and was forgiven, but he became a figure of hatred in the football world.

Ryan Shawcross

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    The English defender received severe criticism from football fans all over the world after his attempted tackle broke both the tibia and fibula of Arsenal youngster Aaron Ramsey.

    The 23-year-old claimed innocence and cited it an accident, but the extent of injury he had inflicted on the youngster earned him severe hatred from all over the world.

    Ramsey has since recovered and Shawcross has kept on with his dangerous tackles.

Paul Ince

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    The English midfielder has been embroiled in controversy and troubles wherever he has gone.

    While at West Ham, he wore a Manchester United jersey before making a move away from the Hammers. His actions angered West Ham fans who abused him, full of hatred, even years after he had left Upton Park. He is called Judas by Hammers' faithful even to this day.

    In Manchester United he too also his share of controversy. He was sent off for abusing the referee as United were sent crashing out of the European Cup.

    Then in September 1998, during England's opening European championship qualifier against Sweden, he was booked twice and sent off as England lost the match 2-1. While leaving the ground he made a V-sign and claimed it was directed at John Gorman. He was charged guilty by FA.

    But if that was not enough, he shared punches against Chelsea and Valencia players the same year.

    He is the most hated figure in West Ham and that makes him a candidate to be in this list.

Kevin Muscat

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    Once dubbed as "the most hated man in football," Australian defender Kevin Muscat was a tough man and has been involved in serious controversies to earn him such a title.

    He seriously injured Christopher Dugarry with a sliding tackle from behind during an international friendly between Australia and France. The tackle was dubbed an "act of brutality" by France's then-coach Roger Lemerre.

    Former Charlton player Matty Holmes filed a lawsuit against Muscat for causing serious injury. Holmes needed skin grafts and had to have a metal bolt inserted in his ankle following the tackle. It was at first thought that the leg needed to be amputated—nothing like that was done, but Holmes never was able to play professional football again.

    He once grabbed the throat of Liverpool player Milan Baros during an altercation as the two sides met during a Carling Cup match.

    Muscat has earned numerous followers for his football but even greater detractors both inside the football circle and outside it for his actions on the field.

Steffan Effenberg

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    1 May 2001 :  Steffan Effenberg of Bayern Munich in action during the UEFA Champions League semi-final 1st leg, against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, Madrid. Credit :  Stu Forster/Allsport. Mandatory Credit: Stu Forster/ALLSPORT
    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Perhaps one of the most talented yet feared and controversial players of his time.

    Effenberg, all through his career, did enough to attract criticism from fans and players alike. He was a dirty player and had collected a total of 109 yellow cards at the time of his retirement.

    Of his many controversies, the most remembered was his scandal involving his wife and his former teammate's wife. After leaving his wife, he revealed that he was having an affair with his former teammate Thomas Strunz's wife. He also published explicit photos of them together, drawing severe criticism from all quarters.

    He also published an autobiography which was highly controversial, gaining notoriety for its vulgar contents as well as lambasting of some professional footballers both from club and national side.

    In 2001 he was found guilty of assaulting a woman in a nightclub. His career could not fledge properly as his insulting of the unemployed German people led him to a lengthy spell in the wilderness.

    The German midfielder was hated both by players and fans of his country and other countries as well.

Frank Rijkaard

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    Riijkaard infamously spitting at Voller
    Riijkaard infamously spitting at Voller

    One of the worst pictures in football history.

    During a 1990 World Cup match against old enemies West Germany and Holland, Rudi Voller went to the ground after minimal contact with Rijkaard. Voller's actions earned the Dutchman a booking. Angry at being unfairly treated, Rijkaard ran up to Voller and spat in the German's hair.

    Later in the game the two again got involved in an altercation regarding a free kick. Rijkaard taunted Voller by pulling his hair and ear and in the ensuing tussle of fists both were sent off.

    While going down the tunnel Rijkaard again spat at Voller and it resulted in a fistfight, with both taking blows from each other.

    The actions of the Dutchman were enough to make the Germans and the football world hate him enough to make the list.

Gary Neville

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13:  Gary Neville of Manchester United faces the media during a press conference ahead of their UEFA Champions League match against Rangers held at Carrington Training Ground on September 13, 2010 in Manchester, England.  (
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    The extremely talented no-nonsense Manchester United defender has made very few friends outside Old Trafford.

    He has irked rival fans and players with his inflammatory words at every opportunity. His not-so-kind use of words have carved him as Premier League's very own pantomime villain. He is decried by supporters and booed at every away game for his partisan nature and rude talks.

    One of the most memorable of Neville's numerous such controversial actions was when he celebrated wildly in front of Liverpool fans after scoring a last-minute winner for Manchester United in 2006. 

    He is one of the most hated players in the Premier League at present.

Diego Simeone

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    The Argentine will perhaps be there in the list as he was the man who sent off Beckham by his antics—which ultimately cost England their World Cup dreams.

    During the second-round match against England, after having lunged at Beckham the Argentine continued taunting the Englishman by tugging his hair. Beckham was caught in the trap and reacted by a flick of his leg.

    Simeone fell to the ground writhing in pain and Beckham was sent off. It also ended England's chances at the World Cup.

    These action made him a hated figure to the English crowd.

Wayne Rooney

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12:  Wayne Rooney of England shows his frustration during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group G Qualifying match between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium on October 12, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
    Hamish Blair/Getty Images

    Well, Manchester United's blue-eyed boy turned into the most hated man just within a fortnight, which very few people have been able to achieve. He might not have made the list if not for his actions a few days back.

    Rooney was a sex offender from a very early age. He was convicted of using prostitutes and paying for them while at Everton but his actions were forgiven given his tender age.

    But in September 2010, allegations were made against Rooney that he had slept with prostitute Jennifer Thompson while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their first child. The revelation led to Rooney being ostracized by the whole football world as well as fans from all over the world.

    He lost respect among his fans both of his club as well as rival clubs. He was dropped from the club's next fixture by Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

    The scandal affected Rooney's form and he was benched in a few more games. The cub's management cited injury as his possible exclusion from the squad, but Rooney surprised all by claiming he had no injury.

    His actions unleashed Fergie's wrath and the 25-year-old was benched from the squad. In the next few days Rooney publicly engaged in a war of words with Manchester United and refused to sign a new contract.

    Manchester United were not ready to pay him his desired wages. Rooney declared that he was prepared to leave the club, which created a furor in Old Trafford. Speculations were being made of Rooney's possible destination after Sir Alex publicly accepted that Rooney wanted to leave and United were ready to sell him. The whole world waited in anticipation as to where would Rooney go, but then Rooney dramatically signed a new contract with United.

    His actions within a short spell of less than a month was enough to see many hate Rooney. It included Manchester United fans, who believed that the English striker used threats to get his demanded wages. 

Jody Morris

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    The former Chelsea midfielder currently playing at St. Johnstone has a really bad image and is much hated by players and fans alike.

    He, along with then-teammates John Terry and Frank Lampard, allegedly abused American tourists at Heathrow Airport a few hours after the attack on World Trade Center, Pentagon etc.

    They were reportedly drunk. He was again involved in a drunken brawl in 2002. Then in 2003 he was charged of sexual assault. In 2006, he was arrested for drunken driving and was banned from driving for four years.

    His actions off the pitch marred his career and earned him a lot of hatred.

Richard Dunne

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    17 Feb 2002:  Referee Alan Wiley shows the red card to Richard Dunne of Manchester City during the AXA sponsored FA Cup fifth round match against Newcastle United played at St James Park, in Newcastle, England. Newcastle United won the match 1-0. DIGITALI
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Richard Dunne was one of those blessed players whose departure from his club was greeted by cheers from fans.

    The Irish international during his stay at Goodison Park was nicknamed the Honey Monster for his lumbering style. He was also a heavy drunkard of beer. He was a wayward player and was hated by both his clubs' fans as well as fans of rival clubs.

    He currently holds the joint-record for the highest number of red cards in Premier League history. He has collected a total of eight red cards and it is no denial that he is much hated in the Premier League for his dangerous tackles.

    He was even hated by his own fans as he had a knack for scoring own-goals. He has scored a total of seven own-goals throughout his career.

    Though Richard Dunne has transformed from that wayward, indisciplined player into a quality centre-back, the hatred is still there.

Mark Viduka

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    The fiery tempered Australian striker has seen his career marred by controversy all along.

    Be it his actions at Celtic or at other clubs he played for, the talented Australian marred his career with controversies and disciplinary problems.

    He is one of the most hated players in Scotland and hence makes the list.

Patrick Vieira

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    He played a major role in the "Invincible" squad of Arsenal and is ranked as the fifth-best Arsenal player of all time.

    He also holds the dubious record for the worst disciplinary record in Premier League history. He has been sent off 10 times during his nine years at Arsenal. His tough tackles earned him hatred from rival fans and players alike.

    Since 2003-04 he has avoided being sent off, but the hatred he generated during his stay at Arsenal is not going to be easily wiped off.

Marco Materazzi

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    BERLIN - JULY 09:  Marco Materazzi of Italy holds his boots aloft following his team's victory in a penalty shootout at the end of the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Final match between Italy and France at the Olympic Stadium on July 9, 2006 in Berlin, Germa
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    The Italian defender stole the show during the 2006 FIFA World Cup final by his acts.

    His actions won his country their first World Cup after 20 years but also condemned him to worldwide hatred at the same time.

    During the extra time of the World Cup final between France and Italy, Materazzi was head-butted by the French legend Zidane, which resulted in Zidane being sent off. Italy eased past France in the ensuing penalty shootout as France's prolific goalscorer was missing.

    Later on, it was revealed that Materazzi had used abusive language involving Zidane's sister to enrage the Frenchman. His plan was successful as the football wizard lost his calm and head-butted the Italian. It saw Zidane get sent off in his last match and ensured Italy's victory.

    Materazzi earned the hatred of football fans all over the world for his unsporting attitude to get a player of Zidane's stature red-carded.

Kieron Dyer

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    TALLINN, ESTONIA - JUNE 06:  Keiron Dyer of England is challenged by Dmitri Kruglov of Estonia during the Euro2008 Qualifying match between Estonia and England at A. Le Coq Arena on June 6, 2007 in Tallinn, Estonia.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    The 31-year-old English winger has been in West Ham for the past three seasons, but has made insignificant appearances due to an injury he had sustained. He is the club's highest earner with the least of appearances made, and has never played a full 90 minutes for the club.

    But he, too, has had his share of controversies to make himself a hated figure in football.

    After West Ham owner David Sullivan asked the winger to retire from professional football due to his injury, the player had reportedly demanded damages from the club. His actions earned him a lot of hatred from the Hammers' fans.

    But the most memorable was his involvement in a sex scandal with his England teammates. Dyer along with a couple of youngsters who had been not selected for the national team including Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Jodi Morris, took a drunken holiday trip to a Cypriot resort.

    There, Dyer alongwith Ferdinand and Lampard were pictured having sex with a number of women—photos which a newspaper made public. Later it was also reported that Dyer had spent a night at the hospital after being glassed in the face during a brawl at a nightclub.

    His actions were enough to earn him an impressive bunch of haters and also a place in the list of most hated players.

Sol Campbell

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14:  Tottenham Hotspur fans berate Sol Campbell of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on April 14, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Ima
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Dubbed "Judas" by the Spurs' fans, Sol Campbell is still a hated figure at White Hart Lane nearly a decade after his controversial move to Tottenham's arch-rivals Arsenal. The English centre-back had vowed never to join Arsenal during his time at White Hart Lane.

    But in 2001, when he made the move to Spur's derby rivals Arsenal, he was labeled as a hypocrite and was also ranked by Daily Mail as "Football's No. 1 Traitor."

    Campbell's transfer from Tottenham to Arsenal was really the biggest act of treason in English football.

Carlos Tevez

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13:  Carlos Tevez of Manchester City disputes his disallowed goal with the linesman during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Birmingham City at City of Manchester Stadium on November 13, 2010 in M
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    The fiery Argentine forward has for the majority of his career been submerged in controversy. Be it the West Ham incident or the controversy regarding his move from West Ham to Manchester United, Tevez has always been mired in controversy.

    But he was hated for making a move from Manchester United to crosstown rivals Manchester City. Tevez had cited lack of permanent contract and regular first-team football as the reasons. But even after United agreed to his demands, the Argentine refused to sign a new contract and made his move to the Red Devils' fierce rivals.

    His transfer move attracted hatred from United faithful who felt cheated, and he is still received by abuses and booing whenever the two rival clubs meet.

Claudio Gentile

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    The Italian defender was a member of the 1982 World Cup-winning Italian team.

    He was no doubt a talented player, but he was more known for his tough tackling and for being a tough man-marker. During a match between Argentina and Italy, Gentile was charged with marking Maradona throughout the game. He kept the Argentine wizard out of the game by constantly kicking him with or without the ball, totaling to a massive 23 fouls.

    Later on, Gentile in excuse for his actions said that "football was not for ballerinas."

    He continued his exploits against Brazil and targeted Zico again. The Italian always maintained that he was not dirty, just a tough tackling player.

    His constant fouling of greats and loved player like Maradona and Zico made him a hated player in South America.

Michael Owen

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    SCUNTHORPE, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Michael Owen of Manchester United scores from the spot to make it 3-1 during the Carling Cup 3rd Round match between Scunthorpe United and Manchester United at Glanford Park on September 22, 2010 in Scunthorpe, England.
    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    The gifted English forward never was quite forgiven by the Anfield crowd for his move to fierce rivals Manchester United. Moreover, in 2004 after Owen had made clear of his intentions to leave the club, he refused to play in the club's Champions League to avoid being cup-tied.

    But he faced the fury of Liverpool fans when he made a move to title rivals Manchester United. He was severely criticised for his choice of club and that made him a hated figure in Anfield.

Alan Smith

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    MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 12:  Alan Smith of Newcastle leaves the pitch after being shown the red card by Referee Rob Styles during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on January 12,
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    The Newcastle player is credited with seven red cards during his career in England.

    While at Leeds he was more of a brutal attacker than a subtle forward. Of the seven red cards, five had been earned while Smith was in Leeds. He was refined thereafter, but nonetheless he was hated by rival fans and players alike for his tough tackling mentality and attitude.

Joey Barton

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Joey Barton of Newcastle throws the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at the City of Manchester Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michae
    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Another name for this Newcastle midfielder might be Mr. Controversy, and it would not be a misfit.

    The player is currently serving a three-match ban after he was charged by the FA of violent conduct for his vicious attack on Blackburn midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen.

    This was not a one-off incident as his career has been repeatedly marked by controversies and disciplinary troubles. He has been twice booked for violent conduct and has even spent 77 days in imprisonment.

    He underwent anger therapy but it appeared to have no effect, as he got involved in several more fracases thereafter.

    But the worst was when he got involved in a training-ground conflict with his Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo. Barton had beat up his teammate severely over an altercation, inflicting head injuries and suspected detached retina. This ended his City career effectively and he was imprisoned as well as banned by the FA.

    He did not do good to his reputation when once he exposed his backside to Everton supporters after his club's equaliser in the last minute. It was seen as a revenge from the player against the fans who had booed him all through the game.

    He has been charged numerous times and banned several times by the FA, but it seems this guy is one little spoiled brat who cannot control his anger.

Duncan Ferguson

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND  - OCTOBER 23:  John Terry of Chelsea clashes with Duncan Ferguson of Everton during the Barclay's Premiership match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on October 23, 2005, in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty I
    Ben Radford/Getty Images

    The Scottish forward was a hated figure in the English football circuit for his tough-tackling style of play.

    He spent three months in jail as he was charged with assault on a fellow player whom he had head-butted on the field. After spending his prison sentence, Ferguson arrived in England to play for Everton.

    His dangerous tackles earned him nine red cards during his stay in England and earned him a lot of haters. He was involved in various controversies including butting a policeman, punching and kicking a fan on crutches.

    He has carved a nice group of haters for himself and makes the list quite easily.

Luis Figo

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    Figo taking a corner and the Pig's head
    Figo taking a corner and the Pig's head

    The captain of Portugal's "Golden Generation" and one of the best wingers of his time, Luis Figo too has his share of controversies and hatred.

    While playing for Sporting CP he signed contracts with both Juventus and Parma at the same time under some poor guidance, which landed him a two-year transfer ban in Italy. He was picked up by Barcelona, where he reached his prime and made a name for himself in the football world.

    His impressive performances and superb charisma earned him the Catalan giants' captaincy, a honour that is rarely given to non-Spanish players. He was a fan favourite and even vowed to play all his life for the Nou Camp outfit. But then in a sudden and shocking move, the Portuguese striker made a transfer to Barca's arch-rivals Real Madrid for a record-breaking fee.

    The transfer was a shocker for everyone all around the world. The Barcelona fans felt cheated and in the two clubs' next meeting gave him a heated reception. Their hatred was evident as many fans threw objects at Figo when he took corner-kicks and throw-ins, the most bizarre of those thrown items being the head of a pig.

    Figo then went on to be part of the "Galacticos" and become a renowned footballer, but the Barca fans' hatred towards him did not lessen a bit. He was also hated by many football fans around the world for his breach of trust and treachery.

Jens Lehmann

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    Lehmann peeing behind the hoardings
    Lehmann peeing behind the hoardings

    The picture above should remind everyone of the the eccentric and often idiotic German goalie.

    He was perhaps one of the finest goalkeepers of his time. But his superb qualities were occasionally marred by his antics on the field. He had severe disciplinary problems which led to frequent conflicts with match officials, fans and opposition players. He holds the highest record by a goalkeeper to get red-carded in the German Bundesliga.

    But most memorable of all will be his pee break during his club's Champions League match against Unirea Urziceni. The Stuttgart goalie could not resist nature's call and went behind the hoardings to relieve himself. It was caught on camera and millions watched as the goalkeeper then rushed back to his post as the Romanians came forward to attack.

    The German is one of the most hated German footballers of all time.

Ashley Cole

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12:  Ashley Cole of England in action during the UEFA EURO 2012 Group G Qualifying match between England and Montenegro at Wembley Stadium on October 12, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)
    Hamish Blair/Getty Images

    Well, the England star maybe the best in what he does, but he is widely hated for his off-field antics. The Chelsea defender is considered one of the best left-backs in the world undoubtedly.

    But he is not only famous for his on-field exploits but also for his off-field exploits, the latest being his involvement in a sex scandal during the World Cup. The England player allegedly sent crude messages to a girl he had found in Facebook and asked for nude pictures and dirty talks. It was only a few months after he split with his wife over a one-night affair with a 22-year-old hairdresser.

    His antics generated widespread hatred and criticism all over England and the defender was on his way to leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid to avoid it, but stayed on after Chelsea manager Ancelotti convinced him.

    Cole is also hated widely by the Arsenal supporters too after the acrimonious way in which he forced his way to Chelsea. He was convicted of illegally contacting Chelsea regarding a transfer while still at Arsenal. The 29-year-old defender lambasted the club in his autobiography for blowing his cover and tried all means necessary to force the transfer.

Roy Keane

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    15 Sep 2001:  Man Utd Captain Roy Keane takes a swing at Newcastle captain Alan Shearer during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Newcastle United and Manchester United played at St. James Park in Newcastle, England.  Newcastle won the match 4-
    Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

    Never has any player been so much involved in controversies throughout his career as this Irish footballer.

    He was regularly involved in troubles with referees, opposing players and fans. He was red-carded 13 times during his English football career, of which 12 were during his time with Manchester United.

    During his stint at United, Roy Keane tackled Alf-Inge Haaland as an act of revenge after his earlier attempt had proved futile, resulting in Keane himself being injured. He was given marching orders. Later in his autobiography, the Irish midfielder stated no remorse for the tackle and said that Haaland had got what he deserved.

    Another such incident was when Keane got embroiled in a punching war with then-Newcastle captain Alan Shearer. After Shearer stood in front of him and prevented Keane from taking the throw-in, an enraged Roy hit the ball into Shearer, which led to an altercation and Keane threw a punch right in front of the referee. He was eventually red-carded. 

    He has been involved in numerous controversial incidents all through his career and the above stated were only a few. His most memorable was the one when he had a heated argument with the national team coach during the 2002 World Cup which resulted in his expulsion from the team.

    So while he was loved by the fans for his commitment for his club and country, rival fans, players and referees were not all that amused by his actions. He was a man to hate during his highly charged and controversy-filled career.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 07:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United falls dramatically after being challenged by Matthieu Chalme of Lille, and is subsequently booked for diving during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen, second leg match
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Well, he maybe undoubtedly one of the most skilled and gifted player of his generation, but he is one of the most hated players also.

    His underarm tactics and diving at the fall of a hair is what makes him a much-hated player by rival fans and players alike. The Portuguese soccer wizard is alleged of diving to earn opponents bookings as well as his team free-kicks or penalties.

    But the hatred reached its maximum during the 2006 World Cup, when Ronaldo was caught on camera winking at the Portugal bench after his Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney was red-carded following him stamping Ricardo Carvalho. The action earned him the criticism of fans all over the world and even hatred from his club fans.

    He was booed on his arrival at Manchester United along with other severe abuses directed at him. He contemplated leaving England to escape the fan ire but stayed on to become United's best player of all time.

    But even in doing so, the hatred for him has not lessened a bit. His reputation and hatred go hand-in-hand.

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