As many of you know, I (Jabu) am a massive fan of football. In all things good about football, there are also many bad and most notably, many weird! So I enlisted the help of two of my football team mates and have come up with a list of the ultimate craziest footballers to grace the planet. The panel are made up of the following:
Jabu – That’s me:) (ATJ)
Dirk “El Matador” Vale: Motoring editor for www.runridedive.com (our stuff is syndicated there!), Marketing manager for SA Le Mans team. Man City and Sundowns fan (he loves the money!) (DV)
Sergio “SP7” Ronaldo: Music Journalist for www.musicreview.co.za, leading goal scorer for the Cannons Football Club, Man United and Real Madrid fan (we both hate Barca) and knows how to dive. (SP)
In no particular order, here are the planets craziest footballers:
Vinnie Jones (SP)
The Welsh midfielder would grab you by the bollocks (literally), if you got in his face. Heck, he probably taught Roy Keane and Joey Barton all he knows on the controversial Soccer’s Hard Men video, where Vinnie provided some invaluable advice for other mad…err….hard men. Also played himself as a complete hooligan in Eurotrip.
Joey Barton (DV)
There are so many moments of Joey Barton madness to choose from. His temperament has meant he’s fun to watch, but definitely only and always from a distance. You only have to look back to last season where he punched Blackburn’s Morten Gamst Pederson in the stomach whilst the ref’s back was turned in a wonderful moment of unprovoked violence. The season before that he was guilty of taking the then Liverpool player Xabi Alonso in a brutal foul by the corner flag. There have also been some other tackles worth remembering like the Tyne-Wear derby where he took out Sunderland’s Dickson Etuhu.
This was all after his time at Manchester City where he was even worse. On the 20th of May 2008 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for common assault and affray during an incident outside a McDonalds in Liverpool. He served 77 days of this sentence. Also while at City he stubbed out a Cigar in the eye of an academy player. In 2005 he was sent home from a pre-season tournament in Thailand after assaulting a 15-year old Everton supported who provoked him by verbally abusing him and kicking his shins
Jens Lehman (ATJ)
When David Seaman retired, Arsenal fans panicked. When Arsenal signed Jens Lehmann, Arsenal fans panicked again. That was quickly dispelled with a host of epic performances, but Jens Lehmann had a screw loose. He was the most red carded keeper in Bundesliga. He became the first keeper to ever be sent off in a Champions League final. He often went on a walkabout out of his box. He had a tendency to push anyone who got in his space. And many people will remember the humorous interaction between him and Didier Drogba. Some of his tumbles under attention from strikers was comical, and he was never one to shun a physical challenge, leaving a leg or keenly pointed elbow to anyone who dare invade his space. His temperament landed the German in hot water, too. In 2006/07 Lehmann collected eight yellow cards, a record for a goalkeeper in a single Premier League season. Even after he left Arsenal, Lehmann still found ways of making the nation laugh. In one incident at his final club, Stuttgart, the stopper took it upon himself to exact revenge for what he thought had been an earlier foul. Despite having possession of the ball within his penalty area, he decided to stamp – with all the subtlty of a charging rhinoceros – on Mainz striker Aristide Bance. Bance fell to the floor and referee Wolfgang Stark showed Lehmann the red card, awarded a penalty, which was dispatched. It was the 89th-minute. Typical!
Fabien Barthez (SP)
The eccentric French goalkeeper equally delighted and infuriated fans with his strange ways. Whether he was doing step-overs in his own box, or saving crucial penalties that he’d initially caused, Barthez made sure that he was always memorable, to say the least. Apart from spitting on referees, Barthez also had this weird habit of pulling up his shorts randomly. Crazy Frenchman.
(Jabu – I love him for the goals he used to let Henry score against him!!!)
Diego Maradona (DV)
Maradona is arguably the best and craziest footballer that has ever lived. His moments of absolute brilliance were mixed with moments of absolute crazy. Like just before the 1994 US World Cup, he was being hounded by press and his form was in a dip. He decided to deal with the privacy invasion by firing an air-rifle at reporters.
Maradona didn’t just aim his frustations at reporters. While Maradona was a Barcelona play in the 1984 season at a very heated Copa Del Ray final against Athletic Bilboa – who was at the time a bitter Barcelona rival club. Athletic won 1 – 0 and Maradona responded to a scuffle by executing a couple of karate kicks at the Athletic Bilboa players
Paulo Di Canio (ATJ)
A native Roman, he joined his beloved S.S. Lazio as a teenager from the ranks of Lazio’s ‘Irreducibili’ on the terraces. In a career that spanned Lazio, Juventus, Napoli and Celtic, it was at Sheffield Wednesday that he made his crazy name. At Wednesday, he received one of the longest suspensions on record, 14 matches, for pushing over a referee. He then got himself in more hot water as he 3 times showed a hand down salute to the crowd. He remarked to Fifa he is a Facist not a racist. He became a manager of Swindon and then started fighting with his players in a manner akin to an MMA fight.
Eric Cantona (SP)
The flamboyant #7 is unquestionably one of the greatest players to have ever laced up his boots at Old Trafford – but King Cantona will probably be most remembered for his ninja moves, after he landed a kung fu kick on an abusive Crystal Palace supporter. And who can ever forget his post-assault quote to the media afterwards: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much”
Rene Higuita (DV)
On the pitch he’s famous for that Scorpion Save against England in 1995 and attempting to dribble past Roger Milla at Italia 90, which he bungled quite hilariously. He missed the 1994 USA World Cup because he was in jail for his involvement in a drug cartel kidnapping and then tested positive for Cocaine in 2003. His nickname was ‘El Loco’ meaning the Crazy One and he certainly lived up to it
Fernando Ricksen (SP)
The Dutch footballer was revered by the Rangers faithful, but he didn’t make things easy for his managers. From kung fu kicks (must’ve had a chat with Cantona) to chucking the chairman into a swimming pool to smashing up a hotel door to assaulting neighbours, Ricksen is probably the reason why Alex McLeish has gone so grey and bald
Ashley Cole (ATJ)
Ashley Cole is a clown, he had a good thing going at Arsenal and he stuffed it up. He had a good thing going with Cheryl Tweedy and he stuffed it up. He was the man that was found in bed with a man and a phone (cue tons of ridiculous songs from the Arsenal Away Boyz. He had a host of sexual affairs that led to Cheryl leaving him and then to top it off decided to shoot a school boy with an air gun. He may be a talented footballer, but he is definitely also a crazy one!
The brilliant and temperamental Brazilian is most famous for his achievements while playing in Deportivo in Spain. He wasn’t one to use his head, except on other people. He struck the nut on his manager, Javier Irueta, square on the chops after a training ground bust up. He also famously gave an air steward the Glasgow kiss, because the steward asked to see his plane ticket
Faustino Asprilla (DV)
There are a few stand out moments. Scrapping with Jose Luis Chilavert, scheming with George Reynolds and staring down his own horse in a photoshoot. He is even more insane when he has a gun in his hand. He turned up to a training session while playing in Chile brandishing a gun and demanding that unless the players start running he’ll start shooting. Then in 2008 he was placed under house arrest after firing 31 machine gun rounds at Security Forces near his home in Colombia
Dennis Wise (DV)
As Sir Alex Ferguson once commented on Dennis Wise, he could “start a fight in an empty house.” In 1995 he was convicted of assaulting a London taxi-driver and given a three month suspended sentence. In 1999 he was accused of biting Marcelino of Mallorca in a Cup Winners Cup tie. While playing for Leicester in 2002 he was send home from Pre-Season for breaking the nose and jaw of team-mate Callum Davidson who was trying to calm a dispute between Wise and another player
The Brazilian-born Portuguese international has been known for his hard tackling and roughhousing, but there was one day when he really went nuttier than a Lunch Bar. In April 2009, during a game between Real Madrid and Getafe, Pepe brought down Javier Casquero and was subsequently sent off. Instead of just arguing with the referee like a good La Liga footballer, Pepe lashed out with vicious kicks and stamps on Casquero and struck another player in the face. Eventually, his actions resulted in him being banned for 10 games and he was forced to attend anger management classes. Even though, he hasn’t reacted in the same way since, there are still hints of The Incredible Hulk lurking inside the defender’s head, particularly when the El Clasico comes around.
Have any others that you can think about? Let us know below!
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