The 7 Biggest Villains In Soccer

A poll was done by ESPN UK to determine who are considered the biggest villains in sports history. The list include seven soccer personalities: four current players, two past players and one coach.

Lets take a look at each of these villian’s careers and determine how their actions put them on this list.

7 Biggest Soccer Villains

Roy Keane

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Keane was an absolute bully on the field. Known for his dangerous tackling, the Manchester United man would break up the opposition's tempo in the midfield by any means necessary.

While there are many instances that could demonstrate his villainy, the best example was the high tackle he had during the Manchester Derby on Alf-Inge Haland, which was done as an act of vengeance for comments Haland had made seasons earlier about Keane faking injuries on bad tackles to avoid punishment. While the tackle itself was horrible, what makes Keane a true villain as that he seems to have no remorse for the foul, even though the tackle likely played a role in Haland’s early retirement.

Diego Maradona

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Diego Maradona is both one of the greatest players of the time and one of the most controversial. The maestro is known for incredible dribbling and footskills, but the moment that cements him as a villain doesn’t involve his feet, it involves his hand. In the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals against England, Maradona was awarded a goal for what at first glance looked like a header goal, but was actually the result of a Maradona punching the ball past the keeper.

England has never forgiven Maradona for his dishonest goal, which resulted in England being eliminated from the tournament. Maradona’s attitude issue also played a role in his negative perception, with his temper tantrums, arrogant behavior and drug use making him generally disliked among soccer fans.

Sergio Ramos

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The first current player on the list, Sergio Ramos has proven he’s a winner at Real Madrid. He has also proven that he will do whatever it takes to win. Ramos has a history of dirty tackles, dives and is often one of the whiniest player on the pitch.

One of his more recent moments of controversy was his aggressive takedown of Mohammed Salah in the 2018 Champions League final. Not only did Ramos dislocate Salah’s shoulder, the injury was so serious that Salah was unable to keep playing in the match, giving Madrid a much easier path to victory.

While the center back is undeniably world class, it's no surprise that we see him on this list.

Diego Costa

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Diego Costa’s on- and off-field antics made him a shoo-in for this list. Whether it's cutting defenders down from behind, getting into the ref's face or feuding with his teammates and coach, Costa certainly makes a lot more enemies than he does friends.

Unsurprisingly, nobody seems to set Costa off more than Sergio Ramos, with one interaction escalating enough to the point of Costa throwing his spit at Ramos.

Jose Mourinho

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It seems fitting that a man who calls himself “The Special One” would be on this list. The manager is one of the best coaches in soccer right now, having won eight league titles during his illustrious career. However, he is also considered as one of the hardest coaches to play for.

Mourinho has had relatively short tenures at clubs despite his success, because his philosophies and pretention tends to create issues in the locker room. In his most recent managerial stint with Manchester United, tensions between Mourinho and the younger players, particularly Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, played a significant role in his eventual sacking last year. Mourinho’s arrogance when talking to the media is likely what put him on this list.

Joey Barton

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Widely considered one of the dirtiest players in professional soccer, Joey Barton has gotten in trouble so many times that Independent made an entire timeline of his bad behavior.

While his tackling can certainly be dodgy on the pitch, it's his fights off the field that get him onto this list. Barton has been banished from training grounds on more than one occasion for hospitalizing teammates. After leaving Manchester City in 2007, the midfielder was a career journeyman, playing on teams until they could no longer tolerate his behavior and then moving on. He now manages Fleetwood Town in the third tier of the English league.

Luis Suarez

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Finally, the player who was voted the most largest villain in sports history is none other than Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan forward is known for his inability to control his temper on the field. Suarez’s most notorious antic, and likely what puts him on the top of this list, is his history of biting the opposition when the ref isn’t looking. This was put on full display at the 2014 World Cup, when the Barcelona man was sent off and suspended for biting into Georgio Chiellini's shoulder in a group stage match against Italy. 

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Although Suarez has seemed to mellow out since then, he still makes dirty plays on a consistent basis, which is why fans consider him the most villainous player in sports history.

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