There are always some footballers who simply can’t stay away to be the headlines. They are very much keen to attract the public attention, whatever the intention is. All these footballers are the controversial figures in the football world. Each one of these has a story and they fill those role with alarming ease. The controversial footballers are adored by their teammates as there is no doubt about their desire to win the game. It’s just the nature of behavior that make the change and establish themselves as the villains in football. They become the natural hate figures to the fans. On the other hand, the media light seems to have a habit to pick up every wrong move they make.
Today Sporty Ghost brings to you the list of top 10 most controversial footballers of all time. The list may contradict and you may disagree. So, don’t forget to put your comments below.
Top 10 most controversial footballers of all time:
10. Rene Higuita
Rene Higuita is Colombian goalkeeper and widely regarded as a comical figure by many. He was actually infamous for the “scorpion kick” save in 1995 against England. In a match against Cameroon in 1990, he attempted to dribble past Roger Milla only to lose possession and allow the opponent to score a goal. He is nicknamed as “El Loco”. Higuita missed 1994 Fifa world cup in USA as he was in prison for a kidnapping charge.
Even the Colombian goalkeeper had a well acquaintance with the drug lord Pablo Escober and frequently used his influence. He was headlined for several times for abusing drugs. In 2004, he was tested positive for cocaine use. For all these reasons, Rene Higuita is one of the most controversial footballers of all time.
9: Joey Barton
Marseille midfielder Joey Barton is another controversial footballer in our list. Barton has done a lot in his life including a 12- match ban for a random spate of attacks on opposition, stubbing a cigar in a young player’s eye, coming to blows with a fan, and so on.
The most serious incident took place in 2007, when Joey Barton involved in a fight in Liverpool City Centre. According to BBC, Barton was charged with assault in that incident and ultimately sentenced to six months imprisonment. He was awarded a further four-month suspension when he involved in a training ground fight with his former teammate, Ousmane Dabo. However, the controversies he provoked are distinguished for mere regularity.
8: Sinisa Mihajlovic
The former Serbian defender, Sinisa Mihajlovic is remembered for two main reasons-for his wonderful free kicks and secondly, the frequent acts of indiscipline. During the early days of his career, when Serbia was tearing apart, most of his gruesome acts were happened against Croatian opposition. Most notably, the player named Igor Stimac, who tangled with Sinisa on a number of occasions and their clash as managers over the past few weeks is the remarkable one.
As a manager of Serbia, Sinisa Mihajlovic had not shield away from making headlines after banning a young midfielder Adem Ljajic from the Serbian National side for not singing the national anthem.
7: Harald Schumacher
He is very much remembered for the incidence that took place in the 1982 World Cup semifinal.
Schumacher deliberately took out the French defender Patrick Battiston when he was running towards the goal. He left Battiston unconscious with damaged vertebrae and three cracked ribs. Schumacher’s challenge on that day is still remembered as one of the worst in the history of football.
6: Luis Suarez
The Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez is quite familiar of being the news headlines very often. At World Cup qualification match, Suarez threw a punch at Chilean defender Gonzalo Jara in Santiago. His Patrick Evra incident at EPL was another memorable mishap. Last FIFA World Cup was widely remarkable for him, biting Italian defender Cheillini. The handed the ball by Suarez is another one to remember in 2010 world cup against Ghana. Luis Suarez is full of controversies. We put him at 6 in our list of top 10 most controversial footballers of all time.
Once Edmundo was named as the “most hated player in Brazil”. During his career, Edmundo ‘O Animal’ was a one-man wrecking the ball with temper. Besides his unusual acts on the pitch, he never ever managed to control his emotion for the team.
In his club Vasco Da gama, he was treated as a legend, although his time at the club was divided into five separate spells. In 1995, the drunk Edmundo crashed three people in Rio. However, he has never been sentenced for the incident.
For Brazil, he capped in total 39 games and was a great attacking midfielder for the country. There was no doubt for his abilities as a player. But, he was a tough figure to handle.
4: John Terry
England and Chelsea defender John Terry is very much prominent figure for so many controversial conducts. From an affair with his teammate’s partner to mocking Americans in a Heathrow hotel, the Chelsea captain never made his life easier.
It is thought to be the lowest point of Terry’s career when he racially abused the QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Later in court of justice, the case was postponed due to lack of enough evidence. However, the FA later ruled that John Terry was found guilty of breaking their own rules.
3: Eric Cantona
Several on this list will testify that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Eric Contana is closer to the line than any other footballer. His Kung-fu-kick attack on a Crystal Palace supporter in 1995 is regarded as the most infamous incident in his tumultuous football career.
The incident earned him an eight-month ban from football. On contrary, Contana has shown remorse over that event and he describes as “a dream” to his fans. The forward left French football under a cloud followed by an event when he threw a ball intentionally at referee during his time at Nimes. His other mishaps include kicking a ball into the crowd, tearing his jersey off having been substituted as well as insulting the coach Herni Michel, and many more. The controversial French forward prematurely announced his retirement at the age of 25.
2: Paolo Di Canio
The former Italian has gained his reputation (!) as both player and manager. His controversial acts always took the attention of Italian media by getting a repeated newspaper headlines. In 1996, his Milan career was ended due to an argument with manager Fabio Capello. He also had to leave Juventus for creating problems with the manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
His most controversial moment took place at English Premier League when the Italian shoved referee Paul Alcock to the ground after being sent off in a match against Arsenal in 1998. The incident cost him a 11-match ban from football. Besides his football career, his political career have been well known for causing much controversy. De Canio provoked controversy with a trademark fascist salute to his supporters, while playing for Lazio.
1: Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona is rated as the best footballer of all time in soccer. Besides, he is also the most controversial of them all. The most memorable incident took place in 1986 FIFA World Cup, Mexico. It was a quarterfinal match against England and the no. 10 scored the two most historic goals in football- including his infamous “hand of God” goal and a magical goal from his own half later known as “the Goal of the Century”.
Finally, the ’94 World Cup brought an end to his international career. He was sent home after two games in the tournament announcing that Maradona has failed a drug test. During his time at Napoli side, his spell was again blighted by a lengthy suspension for cocaine misuse.
Our list tops Diego Maradona as the most controversial footballer of all time. He may be a great player in football, but while the fairness of football is concerned, he is the villain who is leading the list of top 10 most controversial footballers of all time.