Football

Top Five: Player Rivalries

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Wright and Schmeichel kissed and made up (©GettyImages)
Wright and Schmeichel kissed and made up (©GettyImages).

This could be the start of something big. No sooner had Charlie Adam hacked away at Gareth Bale’s ankle ligaments like a beaver furiously working his way through a log before the rainy season arrived had the Welshman lashed out; spewing bile in the direction of his Scottish opponent who had displayed all the timing of Paul McCartney at an opening ceremony.

These two have previous after all; Adam was responsible for Bale sitting on the sidelines for ten weeks two seasons ago have snapped, quite literally, at the Spurs winger’s heels, while he also lunged wildly at Bale to earn the first of two yellows at White Hart Lane last season. Fall out they may however, but these boys are mere squabbling toddlers compared to this lot of hissing hardmen.

Roy Keane v Patrick Vieira

Two hard-tackling midfield enforcers at the peak of their game playing for the two biggest clubs in the country at the time – what could possibly go wrong?

Neither Vieira nor Keane had a backwards gear, and that shone through when the two came head to head on the pitch. Perhaps the most famous bust-up off the pitch between the two came when Keane took offence at Vieira’s bothering of Gary Neville in the tunnel, with the Irishman eyeballing and bickering with the Arsenal player as if he had walked in on Mick McCarthy interfering with his dog.

Ian Wright v Peter Schmeichel

Continuing on in the rich tradition of Manchester United and Arsenal rivalries, Ian Wright and Peter Schmeichel came close to trading blows on the pitch after a rather wild two-footed lunge from Wright left the Danish bacon-flogger clutching his ankle during a game back in 1997.

Afterwards there was a good-old-fashioned tunnel scuffle during which Wright accused Schmeichel of racially abusing him. The two had also clashed in November 1996 after which Schmeichel faced the prospect of criminal charges over a racial slur aimed at Wright. Luckily the game has moved on since then.

An FA investigation could find no evidence to substantiate Wright’s claim and the two are now golfing chums.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Lionel Messi

Do the like each other? Do they hate each other? Would it stop endless mountains of comparison articles even if the got married and loved each other with all their hearts?

They are unquestionably the best players in the world, standing head and shoulders clear of the rest, and it would seem that does cause at least a bit of animosity.

When quizzed on his early poor performances at Euro 2012, Ronaldo snapped back at a reported who persisted with questions about Messi, saying: 'You know where he was at this time [last year]? Do you know? He was being eliminated in the Copa America, in his own country. I think that’s worse, no?'

Oliver Kahn v Jens Lehman

You don’t have to be on opposing teams to be fierce rivals, as our next couple show. With both men vying for the same spot, and by that we mean Lehman sitting and watching Kahn getting the spot, there was always bound to be arguments.

Throughout their playing years the pair sniped at each other, and it even continued when Kahn had hung up his gloves to finally allow Lehman a moment in the spotlight.

Lehman said that Kahn considers to be ‘himself to be so important’ in a magazine article to which Kahn replied, seemingly dying with laughter that Manuel Almunia was above him in the pecking order at Arsenal: "Instead of showing no style in having a go at his former colleagues, he should be thankful that he even has the chance to play for the national team when he is not playing for his club."

"This scenario has never arisen in the history of German football."

Andy Cole v Teddy Sheringham

For a long time, nobody really knew why Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham didn’t like each other. Playing up front for Manchester United in their pomp the pair seemed to get on fine; they’d celebrate each other’s goals, offering a high five and a pat on the bum, but they really didn’t like each other.

Luckily a couple years ago, Cole revealed the real reason. Apparently, Sheringham blanked Cole when he came on for his England debut as a substitute. A bit harsh, but surely not enought to inspire hatred?

But it was for that very reason he wrote: “I would rather sit down and have a cuppa with Neil Ruddock, who broke my leg in two places in 1996, than with Teddy Sheringham, who I've pretty much detested for the past 15 years. “ Seems a bit OTT, Andy.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Charlie Adam
Football
Premier League
Gareth Bale
Liverpool
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