World Football: 50 Most-Hated Players in the World

Jamrock Rover@@JamrockRoverSenior Analyst IOctober 13, 2011

World Football: 50 Most-Hated Players in the World

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    It seems that everybody has an opinion on just about everything in the high-speed world that we live in. Opinions are there to see within seconds of any incident, and every indiscretion is there to see, too.

    I find it hard to understand how anybody can hate another person without getting to know them first, but football has always divided opinions among fans.

    I'll attempt to name the 50 most-hated footballers of all time in this article, but it will have a slant towards English football, as that's the league I know best.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Christiano Ronaldo is one of the most talented footballers in the world, but he has made himself public enemy No. 1 to quite a few football fans.

    His ability to mysteriously fall over when his opponent breathes in his direction is an annoyance to many, as is his apparent arrogance. There is no denying his ability at times, but he has done little to make himself loved by the football public.

    During the 2006 World Cup, he played a part in the sending off of England's Wayne Rooney, who was a fellow Manchester United player at the time. It was Rooney's indiscipline which saw him get the red card, but Ronaldo was caught winking to the bench afterwards. He got abuse from his own fans, as well as those of every other Premier League team after that.

    He eventually made it clear to United that he wanted to join Real Madrid, and they had no choice but to sell him. He was not their most popular player among their fans before that, but he became a hated figure to them after it.

Wayne Rooney

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    Wayne Rooney is another talented player, but he makes it easy for opposing fans to hate him. He also has the ability to fall over when nobody has touched him, and he has a nasty and aggressive streak to his game as well.

    To make matters worse, he has often been in the tabloid papers with extramarital liaisons. Whether it's with a hooker old enough to be his granny or a couple of hookers at a time, it doesn't portray a good example to his young fans.

    He didn't exactly enamour himself to football fans with his threat to leave Manchester United last season unless they gave him a huge wage rise. He got the money he wanted, and has since declared his undying love for them.

John Terry

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    John Terry is an old-fashioned style of central defender who takes no prisoners when he plays. He has also shown himself to be an expert cheat when it comes to blocking the ball with his hands or taking opponents out when he is caught out of position.

    However, the hatred of him has increased since the revelations about his private life. His use of a super injunction to keep details of his indiscretions from the public was seen as  yet another reason to hate him.

    He's seen as yet another married footballer with loads of money who isn't happy with what he has and feels the need to take what he can from others.

Joey Barton

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    Joey Barton has had a host of run-ins on and off the football pitch. He served 77 days in prison for beating up a man on a night out with friends, and he has had plenty of other court appearances, too.

    He's not too bothered about the age of the people he attacks, or even if they are teammates of his. He attacked fellow Manchester City player Ousmane Dabo in training and almost gouged his eye out.

    At times, his tackling is downright dangerous, but he often seems to get away with it, as his opponents then see red for their reactions. He rarely stays at one club for too long, but according to the player it's never his fault.

Didier Drogba

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    Didier Drogba is a talented footballer with power and pace who could stand up to any player if he so chose. However, his continual attempts to win free kicks and influence referees by diving and complaining has made him a figure of hate to many fans.

    He ran foul of the football authorities when Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League a couple of seasons ago, after he was caught on camera accusing the officials of cheating. For a player with his record of cheating and diving, it was more than a little ironic of him to accuse others of the same thing.

Carlos Tevez

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    Controversy has followed Carlos Tevez wherever he has played. He single-handedly kept West Ham United in the Premier League a few seasons ago, but he should not have been allowed to play for them. He got his dream move to Manchester United at the end of that season, but he left them for their fierce rivals Manchester City two years later.

    Last summer, he stated that he didn't want to play for City ever again, as he wanted to be closer to his family. No suitable offer came in for him, and he had to stay at City for another season.

    Only a few weeks ago, he refused to come on as a substitute for City against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. It has resulted in City suspending him, and his future now has to lay elsewhere.

    He is seen by fans as a greedy player who earns an absolute fortune and still isn't happy with his lot. In these uncertain times, that's far too much for many football fans to swallow.

Ryan Giggs

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    Ryan Giggs is seen as the perfect professional footballer, as he gets on with the game and stays out of the media spotlight. He has a list of medals that can be matched by very few people in any team in any country in the world, and he's an all-around good guy.

    Why would he be a figure of hate so? His personal life has recently been under the spotlight, and the depths to which he has supposedly sunk leave a bad taste in the mouths of ordinary fans.

    His apparent indiscretions put him up there with footballers who feel they can do as they please, and his ability to keep them out of the media is a direct result of the fortune he has made from football. He's hardly the average fan who has had his dream come true.

Mark Van Bommel

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    Mark van Bommel is a good footballer who has made a career out of kicking opponents and getting away with it. Referees seem to be blind to his indiscretions, and he is rarely punished for the catalogue of fouls he commits in games.

    In the 2010 World Cup final, he somehow managed to stay on the pitch despite a one-man campaign to kick every single Spanish player. The fans find it hard to comprehend how the officials miss what is obvious to almost everybody watching the game. It's made him a very obvious hate figure to the fans of any team he plays against for club or country.

Ricardo Carvalho

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    Ricardo Carvalho has had success everywhere he has played football, and usually under the managership of Jose Mourinho. He has mastered the art of fouling opponents without the referee ever noticing it. Whenever he's defending a corner, you can be sure he's not looking at the ball, but holding his opponent instead.

    As with van Bommel, the fans just can't understand how the officials can't spot what is obvious to everybody else. It's infuriating to fans of other teams to see him constantly fouling their players, and the referee failing to spot it.

Nemanja Vidic

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    Nemanja Vidic has won plenty of praise and trophies at Manchester United, but he is yet another player who cheats for a living. Like Carvalho, he just can't help himself when it comes to holding players at corners or set pieces. If there's a controversial incident when United are defending, you can be sure Vidic will have a part to play in it.

    He only ever seems to get caught when he's up against Fernando Torres, but in reality he could be sent off in every second game he plays. Until the authorities learn to deal with serial offenders like Vidic, they will continue to bend the rules to suit themselves.

Diego Maradona

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    Diego Maradona was one of the greatest players ever to have graced a football field.He almost single-handedly won the World Cup for Argentina in 1986, and he wrote his name in the history of the game in the process.

    In the quarterfinal against England, he scored one of the greatest goals in the history of the competition, but he's remembered for his other goal in that game. The other goal was of course described by him as "the hand of God," when he beat English keeper Peter Shilton to the ball by using his hand. He will always be remembered for that goal by English fans, and who can blame them?

    Maradona has had plenty of other controversies following him in his career, such as drug abuse, shooting at journalists and brushes with death.

Gary Neville

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    Gary Neville is a good old-fashioned professional footballer who played his whole career with the one football club. During his time at Manchester United, he was a hate figure for fans of other clubs because of his on-field antics. He was never shy when it came to goading the opposition fans if United won, especially if Liverpool were the opponents.

    He was another master of holding his opponent off the ball at set pieces to gain an advantage, and of course referees never pulled him up for it either. He was voted as the most-hated footballer in the Premier League on many occasions.

Robbie Savage

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    Robbie Savage has been a controversial figure wherever he has played his football. He once held the record for receiving the most yellow cards in the Premier League, but he always seemed to avoid getting red cards. As well as his collection of yellow cards, he was also fond of making the most of any situation to get an opponent in trouble with the referee.

    He is also very fond of his own opinion, and most of what he has to say is absolute rubbish. He is disliked by the fans of almost every team in England, but it doesn't seem to bother him.

Eric Cantona

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    Eric Cantona was a very talented footballer who had his best years at Manchester United. He was never far from controversy at United, and never more so than when he flew two-footed over the hoardings to kick a Crystal Palace fan. He served a long ban from football after that incident, and he was also sentenced to two weeks in jail.

    He managed to avoid the jail term on appeal, but he had to do 120 hours of community service instead.

    He was seen as an arrogant player by fans of opposing teams throughout his career, and an easy figure to hate.

Denis Wise

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    Denis Wise was yet another player who was never far from controversy in his career. It was once said of him that he could start a fight in an empty house, and he was always happiest when he was arguing with an opponent or an official.

    He was accused of biting an opponent during a game in 1999, and he was also convicted of assaulting an elderly taxi driver in 1995. He was sentenced to jail at the time, but he had the conviction overturned on appeal. Wherever he played or managed, he always found conflict, and it made him an easy target for hate.

Roy Keane

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    Roy Keane was yet another Manchester United player who courted controversy during his career. He's most famous for turning his back on his country in the 2002 World Cup by manufacturing a situation where the manager had to send him home. He still divides opinion in Ireland to this day, but his support comes from mostly United fans.

    He was also famous for his tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland, which was said to have ended the Leeds United's player's career. In Keane's warped mind he owed Haaland something because Haaland had been involved in an incident where Keane had suffered a serious injury. Haaland's only involvement in that incident was to get in the way of a very bad tackle by Keane, which backfired and injured Keane.

    He was also a very dirty player when he wanted to be, and he often crossed a line with opponents. He made it very easy for opposing fans to hate him.

Paul Ince

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    Paul Ince was a very good central midfielder who played for both Manchester United and Liverpool among many other clubs. He was an arrogant player who had a very high opinion of his own abilities, which made him a target for opposing fans.

    His move from West Ham United to Manchester United saw him become a hate figure for West Ham fans, as he was pictured in a United shirt while he was still a West Ham player. When he later joined Liverpool, the United fans weren't overly happy with him joining their bitter rivals.

    He was fond of his nickname "The Governor," which he felt gave him some authority on the pitch, but it only made him sound like an idiot.

Vinny Jones

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    Vinny Jones was a player with very limited abilities, but he managed to play in the top-flight of English football for a long time. He was a self-styled "hard man" who liked nothing more than to put the boot in on his opponents.

    He went as far as to present a video of footage from himself and other hard men in action, and the English FA were swift to ban him. He was also famously caught on camera grabbing Paul Gascoigne in a very delicate place during a game.

    Jones may not have seemed to have been the cleverest player, but he made a good career for himself after he retired as a hard man in the world of films. He was an easy target for hate from fans of all opposing fans, but he loved the attention, too.

Ben Thatcher

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    Ben Thatcher was another player whose talents were fairly limited, but he liked to leave his mark on opponents whenever he could. In August 2006, Thatcher went too far with his hard-man tactics when he played for Manchester City against Portsmouth. He purposely led with the elbow in a challenge against Pedro Mendes, and the consequences could have been dire.

    Thatcher was verbally abusing the prostrate Mendes after his challenge had made him crash into the advertising hoarding, and he was lucky not to suffer any lasting effects. It wasn't the first time a Thatcher elbow had hospitalised an opponent, and he was harshly dealt with by the English FA and his club.

    He became a very obvious hate figure after that incident, and the abuse he got was fully deserved.

Teddy Sheringham

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    Teddy Sheringham played for quite a lot of clubs throughout his football career, and he was very successful at Manchester United in particular. He had a very arrogant streak to his character, and he quickly became a hate figure for opposing fans.

    Arsenal fans in particular gave him a hard time as he played for Tottenham Hotspur at one stage, and he always enjoyed scoring against them. He was quick to let them know how much he enjoyed scoring against Arsenal, and the Arsenal fans were quick to show him as much hatred as they could.

Thierry Henry

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    Thierry Henry was a legend at Arsenal, where he became the club's record goalscorer. He was also one of the best players ever to play for France and is also the record goalscorer for his country. He always acted in a very dignified manner on and off the pitch, and he was never really a figure of hate until 2009.

    In a World Cup playoff against the Republic of Ireland, he intentionally handled the ball to set up the equalising goal for France, which eventually saw them qualify. It was a very blatant handball, but amazingly the officials failed to spot it, and Henry became a hate figure all over the world for cheating against the underdogs.

Javier Mascherano

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    Javier Mascherano is another player who always runs a very fine line with referees in almost every game he plays. He is constantly at loggerheads with opponents and officials during games, and he never misses the chance to put the boot in. He's an easy target for fans who don't like to see their players getting kicked or verbally abused.

    He didn't exactly enamour himself to the Liverpool fans by demanding a move to Barcelona last year, and football fans are rarely fond of players who don't show loyalty.

Frank Lampard

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    Frank Lampard has had a fantastic career at Chelsea for the most part, but some of his actions off the field leave a sour taste in the mouths of football fans. His appearance in a sex tape with Kieron Dyer and Rio Ferdinand was one such action, as was his behaviour at an airport in September 2001.

    The day after the September 11 bombings in America, Lampard was drunk in an airport hotel, and he and three other Chelsea players abused grieving American tourists. It's difficult to understand the mentality of people who would sink to such a low, but professional footballers rarely know when it's time to keep their mouths shut.

    It's easy to see why fans of opposing teams hate him, and it isn't helped by his arrogance on the pitch.

Gabriel Heinze

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    Gabriel Heinze has played for some big clubs in his career, and wherever he has played he has been a target of hate from opposing fans. He is a player who is very fond of putting the boot in on opponents, and he will resort to any means to get an advantage over an opponent.

    When he was a Manchester Unite player, he was said to have demanded a move to Liverpool, but Alex Ferguson refused to sell him to their fierce rivals. He joined Real Madrid instead, and the United fans were far from happy with his attempts to join Liverpool.

Luis Suarez

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    Luis Suarez joined Liverpool last season, and he looks like he has a very bright future in English football. He is very talented and has already scored some very good goals for Liverpool.

    He became a villain at the 2010 World Cup when his last-minute handball prevented Ghana from beating Uruguay in the quarter finals, and his team went on to win the game on penalties. Ghana were the underdogs and the last remaining African country in the tournament, and Suarez had prevented them from taking their rightful place in the semifinals. He got a red card on the day, but that was of little use to a Ghana team that deserved to win the game.

    During his time in Holland with Ajax, he also courted controversy when he was suspended for biting an opponent in a game. He was also suspended by Ajax for a fight with a teammate at halftime in another game.

    Uruguayan players have had a reputation of playing outside the rules over the years. Suarez certainly lives up to that reputation, and it's made it easy for fans to hate him.

Robbie Keane

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    Robbie Keane is the Republic of Ireland's record goalscorer, and he has scored goals for every club he has played for. He never looked for a transfer throughout his career, but he still played for a host of clubs and made a lot of money in the process.

    He is an unpopular figure with fans of other clubs, as he constantly moans to referees and teammates, too, when he gets the chance. He is even disliked by a large minority of Irish fans despite all the goals he has scored for his country. They claim that he never scores important goals, but the facts prove otherwise, and they clearly just don't like the player.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy

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    Ruud van Nistelrooy has had a long and illustrious career, and he has won many trophies. During his career, he has also earned a reputation for being a diver and for faking injury to get opponents in trouble.

    His run-ins with Arsenal players were numerous, and their fans are particularly fond of showing their hatred for him. Besides getting other players in trouble with referees through his antics, he is also seen as a very arrogant player at times.

    When playing against Andora a few years ago he celebrated in the face of an opponent and earned a yellow card for his actions. The player may have wound him up earlier, but his actions were seen as classless against a semi-professionl player and only proved what many fans already thought of him.

Arjen Robben

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    Arjen Robben is a player who has it all in terms of skill, but his commitment has come into question on more than one occasion. When the going gets tough, Robben is more than likely to be found wanting, which can make his own fans very angry.

    Like so many other exceptionally talented players he is also fond off going to ground far too easily under the slightest challenge, and opposing fans aren't fond of that either. During his time at Chelsea, he was accused of feigning injury so that he wouldn't have to play.

    A player of his ability should never be sold by a top club, but both Chelsea and Real Madrid were happy to see him leave, which suggests there is something missing from his game or character.

Dani Alves

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    Dani Alves was signed by Barcelona as the most expensive footballer in the world in 2008, and he has gone on to win loads of trophies with them already. Barcelona are the best team in the world at the moment, and Alves is an integral part of that team. He is an excellent attacking full-back who adds an awful lot to their team.

    However, he is also very fond of feigning injury to get opponents into trouble with referees, and he is quite fond of berating officials to try to influence them. He has a particularly sneaky side to his game that makes him far from popular with the supporters of any other club but his own.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been a controversial figure wherever he has played his football. He has played for some of the very best clubs in Europe throughout his career, but he never lasts too long at one club. If the player is to be believed, it's never his fault when he moves from one club to another, but he's not an easy man to get on with.

    His attitude on the pitch has made him a target for abuse from his own fans at some of the clubs he has played for, and opposing fans don't like him either. He can be a very arrogant player with a nasty streak to his game, too. Fans will always appreciate a good player who doesn't get involved in incidents on the field, but Ibrahimovic is an easy target for those who feel modern players show little respect to fans, clubs or officials.

Sol Campbell

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    Sol Campbell was the captain and star player at Tottenham Hotspur in 2001 when he joined their fiercest rivals Arsenal on free transfer. The Spurs fans will never forgive him for the move, and he has been the target of severe abuse from them ever since.

    He won plenty of trophies at Arsenal, which was his reason for joining them, but things didn't always go smoothly for him there either. He walked out of a match against West Ham at halftime after he had given away two goals, and he left Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of that season.

    He had a greed to join a team on the continent, which meant Arsenal gave him a free transfer, but he joined Portsmouth instead. Arsenal fans were not too happy at the time, but he rejoined them for a brief spell a few years later.

Duncan Ferguson

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    Duncan Ferguson was another player who was never far from controversy wherever he played his football. He was sentenced to jail after an incident in a Glasgow Rangers game against Raith Rovers when he head-butted an opponent. It was his fourth conviction, but he had already left the club by the time he went to prison.

    He had a very aggressive style of play, and he liked nothing more than getting stuck into opponents. He received nine red cards during his career, and he was always a target for opposing fans, as he often left their players crumpled in a heap.

Andoni Goikoetxea

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    Andoni Goikoetxea earned himself the nickname "The Butcher of Bilbao" because of his hard-man tackling on the pitch. In a time when defenders could play a lot more aggressively, he was the tough man of Spanish football.

    In a 1983 game against Barcelona, he left Diego Maradona in a crumpled heap after a tackle from behind, which would have earned him a lengthy suspension in the modern game. That was seen as one of the main reasons Maradona left Barcelona to join Napoli.

    He was celebrated in Spain by fans of Bilbao, but fans of opposing teams were far from happy with the string of players he took out one after another to earn his nickname.

Harald Schumacher

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    Harald Schumacher was the West German national team goalkeeper in the 1982 World Cup semifinal against a French team inspired by Michel Platini. He achieved notoriety for his challenge on French defender Patrick Battiston, which left the French player in a coma and badly injured.

    Schumacher appeared to target the man rather than the ball when Battiston was played through by Platini, but amazingly the referee gave no free kick. It should have been a free just outside the box to France, with Schumacher getting sent off, too, but he went on to play his part as West Germany won the game on penalties.

    The Germans went on to lose the final to Italy, but the French team were by far the best team at the tournament and deserved a place in the final. It was only through the intervention of Schumacher that they didn't make it, and he became a figure of hate in France and around the world, too.

Kevin Muscat

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    Kevin Muscat was a self-styled hard man who left injured players in his wake wherever he played. His aggressive style of play and dirty tackling earned him numerous red cards and suspensions, too. His challenges were so poor that they often resulted in on-field brawls, and sometimes things continued off the field, too.

    He is most famous for being sued for a challenge on Charlton Athletic player Matty Holmes, which saw the player require four operations. At one stage it was feared Holmes would lose his leg, but thankfully he didn't. Muscat lost the case, and Holmes received his compensation, but it didn't stop Muscat from continuing his one-man crusade to bring pain and destruction to football.

    He was an easy target for opposing fans to hate, and judging by his antics he probably deserved it, too.

Jody Morris

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    Jody Morris has had a fairly average career on the football pitch, but he has often been a controversial figure off it due to his brushes with the law and his drinking. He was one of the Chelsea players who drunkenly abused American tourists at Heathrow the day after the horrific September 11 attacks on America.

    He was also said to have been involved in drunken brawls and possibly even a sexual assault, too. In 2006 he was disqualified from driving after receiving his second conviction for drunken driving.

    It's easy to see why fans would hate a player like him who never really did much with his career, but behaved so badly off the pitch.

Frank Rijkaard

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    Frank Rijkaard was a magnificent footballer throughout his club and international career. However, during a 1990 World Cup game against Germany, he was involved in a very controversial incident with Germany's Rudi Voller.

    He spat in the permed hair of Voller as they awaited a German free kick, and both players were booked in the aftermath. When the free kick came in there was another incident between both players, and they were both shown red cards by the referee. As they left the field, Rijkaard was again seen to spit in Voller's hair, and it earned him a lot of warranted hatred from German football fans.

    Spitting on an opponent is seen as a dispicable act, and it spoiled a lot of fans' opinions of a very good player.

Ryan Shawcross

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    Ryan Shawcross is a central defender with Stoke City who gained notoriety for a challenge which broke the leg of Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey in 2010. It was a very bad tackle after Shawcross had hit the ball too far ahead of himself and was caught out of position. Ramsey took almost a year to recover from the break, and he still has some way to go to regain the level he had reached before it happened.

    Shawcross was said to be "not that type of player" after the incident by both his teammates and his manager, but there is evidence to suggest otherwise. It wasn't the first time he had taken an opponent out when the opportunity arose, and it probably won't be the last time. It has made him a hate figure for Arsenal fans, and who can blame them?

Lee Bowyer

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    Lee Bowyer holds the record for the most yellow cards received by any player in the Premier League. He has a nasty streak to his game on the field, and he has been involved in unsavoury incidents off it, too.

    He was accused of a racist attack on an Asian student on a night out with some of his Leeds United teammates in 2000. He was eventually cleared of the charges, but he wasn't so lucky a few years earlier when he was convicted and fined for an affray at a London restaurant when an Asian member of staff was racially abused.

    A move to Liverpool fell through because their manager felt he didn't have the hunger or desire required to join them. He had more controversial incidents later in his career, such as an on-field fight with a teammate and a run-in with opposing supporters, too. It all made him a very easy target for fans of just about any club to hate.

Jonathan Woodgate

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    Jonathan Woodgate was another player involved in the night out with Lee Bowyer in 2000 when they were both Leeds United players. While Bowyer was cleared of the charges, Woodgate was convicted of affray and sentenced to community service. Both players were very lucky to have the finances of a football club available to pay for the best legal teams available.

    It can easily be forgotten that an Asian student received severe injuries on that night, and nobody paid a real price for those injuries in legal terms. Woodgate has kept his nose out of trouble since then, but he will still be remembered for his part in that night, and it has earned him the dislike of many fans.

Craig Bellamy

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    Craig Bellamy has never been far from controversy throughout his long career. He is one of those players who always look ready to react to any slight incident on the pitch, and he always has to have his say on everything to anyone who will listen.

    He has been involved in brawls in bars off the pitch, too, and he famously threatened teammate John Arne Riise with a golf club in 2007. Despite his short temper and disciplinary problems, he has always managed to score goals, but he has never been liked by opposing fans.

El Hadji Diouf

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    El Hadji Diouf is another player who has a very short fuse on the football pitch. He has been followed by allegations of spitting at opponents and opposing fans at almost every club he has played for. Footballers take a very serious attitude towards spitting, and it has made him a very unpopular player.

    If there is a row on the pitch during a game involving Diouf, the chances are he will be at the centre of it. He gets easily riled, and he easily riles his opponents, too. During his nine years in English football he has rarely been far from any controversial incidents in any game he has played.

Kevin Davies

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    Kevin Davies is an old-fashioned centre-forward who is just as happy to take his man out as he is to get the ball. He constantly tops the chart for the most fouls committed by any player in the Premier League, but he is also near the top of the chart for the most fouled player in the league. He holds the record for the most fouls committed in the Premier League, and only Lee Bowyer has more yellow cards than he does.

    He looks destined to break Bowyer's yellow-card haul very soon, and put his name down in the Premier League hall of fame. With such a record of fouls against him and rough-arm tactics against opposing defenders, it's easy to see why there's a lot of hatred for Davies.

Sergio Busquets

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    Sergio Busquets is a tough defensive midfielder for Barcelona who has already amassed a large haul of medals. He does the dirty work for their team, and as a result he's usually the one leaving the boot in on opponents or fouling them to prevent them breaking forward.

    He is also very fond of complaining to referees and feigning injury to win free kicks and get opponents in trouble. He has become a figure of hate in a Barcelona team that are admired for the way they play football, but are disliked for their gamesmanship.

Nigel De Jong

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    Nigel de Jong is one of those players who always puts the boot in, but somehow or other gets away with it. In 2010 alone, he broke the legs of both Bolton's Stuart Holden and Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa, but he still has only one red card to his name in his career.

    In the 2010 World Cup final, he was on a personal crusade to stop the magnificent Spanish team playing football, and he even admitted after the game that he was lucky not to be sent off after a chest-high challenge on Xabi Alonso.

    It's hard to fathom how he gets away with the constant stream of bad challenges, but they have certainly made him a target for opposing fans.

Mario Balotelli

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    Mario Balotelli is a young Italian player who now plies his trade with Manchester City. He has made a number of particularly stupid and bizarre decisions in his short career, and they have helped him to earn the dislike of his own club's fans at times.

    Whilst an Inter Milan player, he appeared on TV in an AC Milan shirt, and he also threw his Inter shirt on the ground after being substituted against Barcelona in a Champions League semifinal.

    There is no denying his skill, but his attitude and commitment are always under question. His attempted back-heel shot on goal in a preseason friendly against LA Galaxy earned him the scorn of the City manager, and his chances have been limited so far this season.

    When fans see a player earning so much money and apparently caring little about his team at times, it can earn the player a lot of hatred, and that's the case with Balotelli.

Ashley Cole

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    Ashley Cole started off his career at Arsenal, and he was an Arsenal fan as a boy, too. It really hurt the club's fans when he was caught having a meeting with representatives of Chelsea without Arsenal's permission. He was apparently unhappy that Arsenal wouldn't offer him any more money to pay his agent in a large wage raise they had offered him, and he subsequently joined Chelsea.

    It earned him the nickname of "Cashley" among Arsenal fans, and he is a target of abuse for them to this day. He has of course made himself very unpopular with other football fans too after constant stories of his unfaithfulness to his now ex-wife Cheryl Tweedy. The darling of British pop eventually filed for divorce in 2010 after the stream of allegations about him continued, as did allegations of him sending naked photos of himself by phone to other women.

    He has had a few minor brushes with the law, too, and he even shot a trainee by mistake at Chelsea's training ground with an air rifle from close distance. It all adds to the picture he has painted of himself as an overpaid, spoiled footballer who cares very little for the fans that ultimately pay his wages.

Emmanuel Adebayor

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    Emmanuel Adebayor is yet another player to have run foul of the fans at just about any club he has played for. Arsenal signed him in 2006, and when Thierry Henry left a year later he looked destined for greatness with them. He had an excellent season, and Arsenal came close to winning the league, but he started believing his own publicity, and his agent was offering him to other teams by the summer of 2008.

    He was turned on by the Arsenal fans during the next season, as his performances became gradually worse, and he looked like it meant nothing to him to play for the club. Arsenal offloaded him to Manchester City in 2009 despite the fact that he wanted to join one of Europe's big clubs, but none of them wanted him.

    When Arsenal next played City, he ran the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans after scoring against them, and it almost caused a very nasty situation. He has since stated his regret for that celebration, but he will always be a figure of hate for the Arsenal fans. He didn't last long at City, and he was soon loaned to Real Madrid, and he is now on loan at Tottenham Hotspur.

    As with so many other footballers, he was the master of his own downfall by believing his own publicity and letting the plaudits go to his head.

Marco Materazzi

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    Marco Materazzi is a very tough tackling Italian defender who regularly crosses the line in terms of how far a player can go on a football field. He's a master of the sliding tackle, where the ultimate aim is to catch his opponent and not actually win the ball. There are numerous videos of him taking opponents out with terrible challenges, elbows or any other means possible to view on line.

    He became infamous in the 2006 World Cup final when star Fench player Zinedine Zidane was seen head-butting him in the chest after he had apparently insulted either his mother or his sister. Materazzi was seen as the villain of the piece, but really Zidane should have let his football do the talking. Italy went on to win the trophy with Materazzi even scoring in the penalty shootout.

    There should be no place for a player like him in football, and thankfully it looks like his career has finally come to an end. 

Rio Ferdinand

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    Rio Ferdinand is a very accomplished central defender who plays with Manchester United. He has never been a controversial figure on the field, but his off-field antics are far from desirable for a professional athlete.

    He had a conviction for drunk driving in his early career, and he has followed that with four bans from driving for speeding. He also made an appearance in the famous sex video along with Kieron Dyer, which I mentioned earlier.

    He's probably best known for failing to show up for a mandatory drugs test in 2003, as he had gone shopping instead. He received an eight-month ban as a result of his failure to turn up, and he's still the most high-profile footballer in England to fall foul of anti-doping legislation.

    He has also delved into the world of film and television, but most fans would feel he should concentrate on football until he has retired. All of his activities and his checkered past off the pitch have made him an easy target for the boo boys.

    That's it for today.

    Feel free to agree or disagree with any of my choices, and to point out any glaring omissions from my list of 50 players.

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