“Football is a beautiful game. It should be played beautifully,” said legendary manager Brian Clough just after being appointed by Leeds United.
That was an era when Leeds United were dominating English football on all fronts. Their physical style of play left many teams bruised and battered.
Nearly every man outside of Leeds hated them.
They had a team full of superstars with exceptional qualities, yet they chose to cheat, dive and even punch opponents to win games.
Spearheaded by inspiring captain Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Norman Hunter, Leeds were a bunch of thugs, yet magnificent in their own right.
Brian Clough was sacked from Leeds United just 44 days after his appointment for wanting to change their style.
Nearly 50 years have past that incident, yet there are players who absolutely disgrace this beautiful game. In this article, I’ve made a team of 11 players who are not only known for their brilliance on the pitch but also for their illegal approach to the game.
GOALKEEPER: Jens Lehmann
The dirtiest goalkeeper there ever was. The former Arsenal man has a history of play acting. I never rated him worldclass. His form was patchy all his time at Arsenal. Lehmann was renowned for his foul play.
RIGHT BACK: Dani Alves
A dirty XI without a Barcelona player ? That’s just impossible to make. Alves is a strong man with blistering speed, yet he fumbles to the ground with the slightest of touches. He has amassed over 61 cards in the last 5 years or so. That just speaks volumes of his sportsmanship.
CENTER BACK: Pepe
An absolute disgrace of a player. Pepe is more famous for his thuggery on the pitch rather than his decent football skills. His stamp on Lionel Messi’s hand was an embarrassment for a club of Real Madrid’s stature and to the world of football. Pepe is at his criminal best when playing El Classicos. His football is more brutal than MMA.
CENTER BACK: Sergio Ramos
Partnering Mr.Thugster in the heart of defence is his Real sidekick Ramos. Another dirty cheat of a player. For me he is the dirtiest defender alive. Surprisingly, he gets away with his childish acts every game. Had it been in the Premier League, he’d have been banned for months. Play acting, diving, cheating, bruising players, Ramos is a near complete package. I make him captain of these lot.
LEFT BACK: Jordi Alba
Jordi Alba revived his Barca DNA just days after joining his former club. Looks like training alongside Dani Alves has made him strong on all fronts. Excellent defender, good crosser + an embarrassingly dirty player.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER: Roy Keane
Manchester United's former captain fantastic Roy Keane did his fair share of dirty work on the field. He was known for his excellent leadership and a superb work ethic, but also for his physical game which have left many battered and bruised on the field. He never dived or cheated, but keeping him out of a dirty XI just didn't feel right.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER: Sergio Busquets
Another Barcelona player on the list. Search Busquests on Google and you’ll get countless videos of his play acting. The ‘peek-a-boo’ he did a few years ago are still doing rounds on social media. Some people say hes a better swimmer than a footballer. Talk about turning dirty playing into an art.
RIGHT MIDFIELD: Arjen Robben
One of the best players of recent years, Robben is a notorious flopper and loves nothing more than to ball up and cry when getting fouled. His dives and antics in the 2010 world cup were hilarious to watch. He is also known for creating feuds in the dressing room.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Steven Gerrard
A surprise inclusion ? Hardly. Gerrard is known for his excellent leadership, goal scoring and his sheer dictatorship of the midfield. But do you know how big a diver he is ? Calm down and Youtube it. You’d be very shocked.
LEFT MIDFIELD: Luis Suarez
This man needs no introduction. Diving, cheating, hurling racial slurs at opponents and he recently picked up a new trait. Biting. Suarez lives a troubled life. His intentional handling of the ball at the World Cup sent Ghana back home. Hes a ballerina inside the d-box. Players like Suarez is what is plaguing our beautiful game.
STRIKER: Didier Drogba
Drogba is a big game player but hes also a big game thug. His slap on Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic in the Champions League final in 2008, his ‘peek-a-boo’ against Napoli, his play acting against Arsenal, I can write a book about it really. And don’t get me started on that embarrassing dive he did against Liverpool in the Champions League SF in 2007.
MANAGER: Jose Mourinho
Mourinho makes full use of his players “exceptional” talents on the pitch. Tactically there’s no one better than him. And he uses the right player at the right time. Need a goal ? Send Drogba in to dive in the d box. Intimidate players ? Send Pepe to beat the living shit out of the opponents. And the list goes on.
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