8 Yellows, 1 Red, 18 Starts: The Maddest Lad Of Them All 2018-19

We gave Bruno Zuculini the moniker last year, but now it belongs to Domenico Criscito.

It was around this time last year that we introduced Bruno Zuculini to you, our weary audience, as the maddest lad of them all. The Argentine spent the first half of the 2017-18 season at Hellas Verona, collecting three red cards and four yellows in just 15 starts. He was promptly sold to River Plate before he could build on his phenomenal record over the following months.

Now, given the timing and my desire to institute a bit of Pavlovian training amongst the readership, I want to stimulate y’all with the maddest lad of the first half of the 2018-19 season, Genoa’s Domenico Criscito. 

The 32-year-old Italian left back’s numbers aren’t as impressive as Zuculini’s were — Criscito has eight yellows and one red in 18 Serie A appearances, but that still makes him the most aggressive player in Europe’s top five leagues this campaign.

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What’s more, I think he’s a much more apt nomination for our Maddest Lad Of Them All award, and over the course of much research on YouTube and Twitter and other dark realms of the inter web, I’ve grown to love him.

First things first, he’s referred to as “Mimmo” and he’s really quite good. He started at left back for Italy at the 2010 World Cup. He would’ve been included at Euro 2012, but he was omitted due to his investigation in the Scommessopoli match fixing scandal, although he was later cleared of all charges. 

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From 2011-2018, he played his club ball in Russia with Zenit, and this brings us to our first highlight of Criscito’s. Here he is, after being sent off, yelling at the fourth official: “WAKE UP! WAKE UP, MAN! WAKE UP! ...MOTHERFUCKER!” 

He returned to Genoa back last May (the club he first represented as a 16-year-old), and he also made a return to the Italian national team after a three-year absence as Roberto Mancini began looking for answers.

Unfortunately for Mimmo, he was sent off during Italy’s friendly against the Netherlands. “I spoke to the referee and said it was a friendly, he could’ve let it go with a yellow, but perhaps I was the last man,” explained our mad lad. 

Given Mimmo’s nature, it should come as no surprise that he’s friends with Mario Balotelli. In fact, the two were roommates during the October international break. Here’s Mimmo helping Lorenzo Insigne pull a prank on Mr. Mario.

And here’s Balotelli throwing a phone at him.

Now for some mad lad stuff out on the pitch. Here’s Mimmo’s red card this season for a tackling technique that we’ll call “Raking the Weiner.”

Here’s Mimmo pulling off a nutmeg and then subsequently trying to break a man’s foot. Tekkers.

And finally, let’s turn the clock back to 2017 to show you this free kick from training with Zenit, because this is an Italian international we're talking about.

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