Monthly football magazine Four Four Two has revealed it's listing of the 50 most hated people in football with many of the players, managers etc having graced the Spanish league at some point of their careers.
Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Sergio Busquets, Mark Van Bommel, Andoni Goikoetxea, Diego Costa, Luis Suárez, Maradona, Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho all feature in the ranking with the "coveted" number 1 spot being taken by former FIFA chief Joseph "Sepp" Blatter. Manchester United coach José Mourinho takes the second place with former German international goalkeeper Harald Schumacher third following the infamous incident at the 1982 World Cup involving Patrick Battiston.
This is where key LaLiga (past and present) players finished in the Top 50:
50 Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Open a dictionary at the entry for ‘pantomime villain’, and the definition might simply be a picture of Sergio Ramos, perhaps waving an imaginary yellow card at a browbeaten referee. Ramos holds the record for the joint-most sendings off of any La Liga player ever, but he’s a strange kind of hard man in that he is impossible to take seriously.
Rather than a chilling defensive gatekeeper, the Real Madrid defender’s persona is more defined by a kind of larger-than-life recklessness; a shameless supervillain. You could say that Ramos – good looking, cartoonishly ludicrous, lacking any self-awareness and amassing trophies on behalf of a super-rich juggernaut – is the defining footballer of the modern age. (Alex Hess)
46 Pepe (Besiktas)
Portugal’s master of the dark arts is – to English eyes at least – everything that’s wrong with football. He has all the attributes to be a legendary defender – pace, bravery, strength and intelligence – and, after a decade at Real Madrid, the trophy cabinet to match. But it’s the manner in which he’s used his talents that attracts the ire.
Like his long-time defensive partner Ramos, Pepe a is dirty, dastardly and downright infuriating player – the kind who will pull the shirt off your back when he’s defending a corner, and then collapse like a house of cards if you give him the same treatment at the other end. (Amit Kawala)
41 Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
The iron fist inside the velvet glove. Busquets is a fabulous player, that’s not in dispute - he might even be underrated. But he lacks the sheen of many of his team-mates and the perception of him as the physicality behind Barcelona’s grace, hopelessly reductive though it is, makes him the hateable face of his club.
Few dislike Messi and only a philistine would object to Iniesta, so what are you left with? Who provided the outlet for the world’s seething jealousy? The big, awkward looking guy in the middle, of course, with his fondness for theatrics and dalliances with the dark arts. (Seb Stafford-Bloor)
32 Van Bommel (Retired)
Although the Dutch midfielder’s reputation was crystalised in the 2010 World Cup Final – a one-match campaign to obtain a red card that Howard Webb manfully ignored – Van Bommel’s villainy is really a body of work.
Just as it has become fashionable to refer to rudimentary playing positions by their Italian or Spanish equivalent, it’s a surprise that nobody has coined a phrase for his role. A lover of yellow-cards, a purveyor of tactical fouls (which seemed often – amazingly – to go unpunished). Basterde, perhaps?
Van Bommel was also an awfully good player, which – in that Steffen Effenberg sort of way – somehow made it worse. (Seb Stafford-Bloor)
21 Andoni Goikoetxea (Retired)
"I just felt the impact, heard the sound – like a piece of wood cracking,” recalled Diego Maradona of the moment that earned the Butcher of Bilbao his epithet.
Already renowned for his scandalous tackling having left Barcelona’s Bernd Schuster incapacitated for nine months with shredded knee ligaments the previous season, Athletic Club’s towering centre-half zeroed in on Schusters’ team-mate in 1983 for one of the most notorious tackles in football history.
Maradona ankle was shattered, and legend has it that Goikoetxa still keeps the boot that made the tackle in a glass case in his living room. The following year enmities were renewed in the Spanish Cup final, which climaxed with one of the most staggeringly violent on-pitch brawls ever seen. (Alex Hess)
18 Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid)
If Jose Mourinho is a manager who draws his motivation from creating conflict, then it's only appropriate that the talismanic player of his second spell at Chelsea was a striker whose autobiography is entitled The Art of War. Plenty of strikers like a personal battle with their marker but Costa made it his life’s work to amass as many blood-spattered battlefield victories as possible.
Enemies accrued during his time in England include Emre Can, Gareth Barry (!), the entire Arsenal defence and, with Shakespearean inevitability, Mourinho himself. You suspect there’s plenty more to come, given that a reunion with Diego Simeone awaits.(Alex Hess)
16 Luis Suárez (Barcelona)
Unless you played unhealthy amounts of Football Manager in the mid-2000s or regularly watch the Eredivisie (which, let’s be honest, you don’t), your introduction to pantomime villain Luis Suarez was probably the 2010 World Cup and that deliberate handball on the line against Ghana.
Asamoah Gyan smashed his penalty against the bar, Suarez celebrated like a man who’d just been pardoned from death row, and then a year later he pitched up at Liverpool.(Amit Kawala)
13 Diego Maradona (Retired)
Even those who can't stand to look at the stumpy Argentine will appreciate just why Diego Maradona, a joyous attacker who carried multiple underdogs to glory, is also one of the best-loved players of all time.
Yet they have good reason to grit their teeth when they hear his name, too: his foremost crime to British audiences was haymakering the ball past Peter Shilton in 1986 (and then, by his own admission, urging his team-mates to throw the ref off the scent by celebrating as though nothing had happened). (Alex Hess)
However, other offences include a couple of failed drugs tests, some wild-eyed on-pitch violence and booting a fan while coaching in the UAE. It's the media, though, who have bore the brunt of Maradona's wrath: journalists have been variously run over, sworn at, insulted, invited to engage in intimate acts and even shot by the great man. No wonder he divides opinion like few others in the game.
6 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
If the defining battle of Ronaldo’s career has been against Lionel Messi, the other has been against public perception. Put simply, lots of people – be it opposition fans, neutrals and even on occasion his own supporters – haven’t taken to a man who even Sepp Blatter once derided as self-absorbed.
The windows into the less endearing facets of character are neither subtle nor infrequent, be it his pre-rehearsed muscle-man pose after scoring the fourth in a 4-1 Champions League final win he had barely contributed to, or pausing mid-celebration at last year’s Euros to check himself out on the stadium’s big screen.
While few are under any illusions as to his greatness, plenty are put off by his ludicrous narcissism. Of course, he wouldn’t have one without the other, and while his ego is clearly a product of his brilliance, you sense it works the other way too: the unrelenting dedication that has earned Ronaldo his all-timer status is something only a deeply self-obsessed man could be capable of. But that doesn’t make it any less off-putting. A sublime footballer as hard to love as he is easy to admire. (Alex Hess).
2 José Mourinho (Manchester United)
Most people tend to avoid conflict. Some don’t mind it. A tiny few openly embrace it. And then there are those who cannot contemplate life without it; who draw energy, motivation and perverse joy from locking horns with people who despise their very existence.
A strange way to live, perhaps, but in Jose Mourinho’s case it has served him well, as his status as one of the game’s greatest ever coaches would attest. The legendary Broadway producer David Merrick once said: “It is not enough for me to win – my enemies must lose.”
Mourinho operates along similar lines, creating new enemies for himself at each corner, be it Arsene Wenger, Eden Hazard, Pep Guardiola or the entire populations of Merseyside, Catalonia and half of Madrid.
His position as elite football’s pantomime villain, first hinted at with his celebratory sprint down the Old Trafford touchline in 2004, was given a more sour edge two years ago when his treatment of Eva Carneiro crossed the line between siege mentality theatrics and indefensible bullying. It won him few friends. Not that he’ll mind. (Alex Hess)
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