Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and the nine players with the most red cards in history

  • Kobe Tong

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos picked up the 26th red card of his career against Manchester City.

Los Blancos’ captain was given his marching orders for a tackle on Gabriel Jesus while tracking back as the last man, rubbing salt in Real wounds just moments after they surrendered a 1-0 lead.

It wasn’t the dirtiest challenge of Ramos’ career by any means, but it nevertheless highlighted just how many times the Spaniard has been dismissed for his brand of defending.

Exiting against City meant that Ramos had been sent off four times in the Champions League, drawing level with the previous record of Edgar Davids and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

But how does his overall tally of 26 compare when you include all top leagues and competitions?

Football’s dirtiest players

Well, using data from – who have cited numerous UK sources – and Goal, we can establish that only two players have seen red on more occasions than Ramos himself.

And while he’s just a single dismissal away from moving up to the second place, Ramos would astonishingly need 20(!!!) red cards in order to secure top spot.

If that hasn’t piqued your interest, we don’t know what will and you can check out the nine dirtiest footballers in history down below: 

9. Vinnie Jones – 12 career red cards

Ah, Vinnie. You know you’re a nutcase when you’re captaining a team called the ‘Crazy Gang’ and Jones was booked as early as five seconds into a match during his time in English football.

It says it all that Jones would later go on to become an actor in gangster films after retiring.

8. Felipe Melo – 14 career red cards

Once sent off during his Inter Milan days for karate-kicking a player in the face, ‘The Pitbull’ was recently involved in a brawl for Palmeiras which resulted in four players being suspended.

7. Yannick Cahuzac – 17 career red cards

The warrior-like French midfielder went viral during the 2016/17 season after picking up three red cards in just four games and was once dismissed for knocking an electronic board out of a fourth official’s hands.

6. Pablo Alfaro – 18 career red cards 

Tied for the second most red cards in La Liga history, Alfaro garnered 18 dismissals for his underhand moves and it would have been 19 if officials saw his infamous stamp on Michel Salgado.

5. Paolo Montero – 21 career red cards 

Once upon a time, Montero said: “Sometimes you have to do anything to win and this is my nature” and his record-breaking number of Serie A dismissals suggests he stayed true to his word.

4. Alexis Ruano Delgado – 22 career red cards 

If you’re wondering how Delgado managed to rack up this many red cards, then watching him punch Mario Mandzukic is probably a good place to start. 

3. Sergio Ramos – 25 career red cards

Ah, Sergio. The reason for this list has the most red cards in La Liga history (20) and being sent off five times alone against Barcelona means he also holds the El Clasico record for dismissals.

2. Cyril Rool – 27 career red cards

Starting brawls, lashing out and pulling off karate kicks worse than Nigel de Jong’s are just bread and butter for a nutcase that’s next on Ramos’ red card hit list.

1. Gerardo Bedoya – 46 career red cards

The brawling midfielder almost made it to a half-century of red cards for damning moments of descent like kicking injured players in the face. Yeh, seriously.

Bedoya has since progressed into management with Colombian side Independiente Sante Fe and, naturally, received a red card during his first game in the technical area. 

Sorry Sergio, you haven’t got nothing on Gerardo. Nobody has.  

To total up 46 red cards in your career is worthy of some kind of medal, especially when it means you’re 20 clear of arguably European football’s most controversial defender.

That being said, although Ramos will never truly be crowned the biggest collector of red cards in football history, he has more than enough Champions League titles to console himself with.

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