There are many figures in football that fans just love to hate.
Whether they play for a rival team, did something controversial in their personal life or you despise them for no real reason other than the fact they’re successful, there are plenty of villains in football.
But who are the most hated people in the sport?
Of course, that all depends on which team you support and which country you're from.
However, FourFourTwo have jumped in and decided to rank the 30 most hated people in football.
Let’s check it out:
30. Alex Ferguson
Some of the people in this list are in this list because they’re successful. That’s probably the case for Sir Alex Ferguson, who led Manchester United to 13 Premier League titles.
However, he fell out with star players such as Paul Ince, Peter Schmeichel, Jaap Stam, David Beckham and Roy Keane. He took on journalists and refused to give interviews to the BBC for years, while he had running feuds with many rival managers.
Not everyone’s cup of tea despite his greatness.
29. Mike Dean
The celebrity referee is a bit like marmite. Some fans love his flamboyancy. Some fans hate that he wants it to all be about himself.
28. Joe Kinnear
In 2008, Mike Ashley (more on him later) surprisingly appointed Joe Kinnear as Newcastle manager. One press conference later, the ex-Wimbledon manager called one journalist a “c**t” and swore 52 times. He won four of his 20 matches in charge.
Then, he returned five years later as director of football. But he instantly alienated himself from the players after mispronouncing several players like Charles Insomnia and Yohan Kebab. He failed to make a single permanent signing in two transfer windows before leaving.
27. Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi has been the prime minister of Italy no less than four times and has owned AC Milan for 31 years.
He’s also faced more than 30 court cases. Amongst them are tax fraud, bribery, embezzlement and paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
26. Dennis Wise
Having played for three pretty unpopular clubs in Chelsea, Millwall and Wimbledon during the Crazy Gang era, Wise was never going to be universally loved.
Despite his size, Wise was fierce in midfield. However, he was a little bit too fierce after receiving a three-month prison sentence for assaulting a taxi driver (which was overturned on appeal) and getting sacked by Leicester for punching team-mate Callum Davidson.
25. Roman Abramovich
The Russian billionaire pumped a ridiculous amount of money into Chelsea following his 2003 takeover and changed the Premier League for good.
Chelsea went from a mid-table side to dominating England and Europe.
24. Kevin Muscat
Peter Crouch recently revealed that the only defender who scared him was Kevin Muscat.
“Kevin Muscat scared me. You know people would say ‘I’m going to break your legs’ – when he would say it, you genuinely believed him," Crouch said.
He had previous, too.
In 2004, he broke Charlton Athletic midfielder Matty Holmes’ leg in four places, with the victim being awarded £250,000 by the High Court.
Ian Wright once called him a “lowlife” while his tackle in a Melbourne derby on Adrian Zahra earned him an eight-game ban back in 2011.
He ended his professional career with 123 yellow cards and 12 red cards, and in 2013 was voted ‘football’s dirtiest ever player.’
23. Richard Scudamore
As the Premier League’s chief executive, it seems Richard Scudamore’s sole aim is for the league to try and make as much money as possible.
That includes suggesting Game 39 - an extra Premier League game to be played in a far foreign land.
The leaks of several sexist emails in 2014 probably didn’t win him many fans, either.
22. Graeme Souness
Paul Pogba likes this.
Whether it was as a player, manager or now as a pundit, Souness isn’t afraid to upset people.
He almost sparked a mass riot when planted a Galatasaray flag in their centre circle after their win against rivals Fenerbahce.
As a pundit, he often upsets fans with old-fashioned views on modern players.
21. Andoni Goikoetxea
Nicknamed the ‘Butcher of Bilbao.’
Goikoetxea produced a disgusting tackle from behind to break Diego Maradona’s ankle. He met Maradona again in the 1984 Copa del Rey final and kicked him in the chest during a mass brawl - an incident that earned him an initial 18-match ban.
He also ‘butchered’ Bernd Schuster during another Barcelona match.
20. Paolo Di Canio
A man with questionable political allegiances, who also pushed over a referee a received an 11-game ban for pushing over referee Paul Alcock.
It’s worth remembering he also won the FIFA Fair Play Award for catching the ball with an open goal after Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard had gone down injured.
19. Ashley Cole
One of the greatest full-back football has ever seen. But he really didn’t help himself when he wrote about almost crashing his car in shock when Arsenal only offered him £55,000-per-week. That won’t adhere yourself to everyday folk.
Then there’s the flash celebrity lifestyle as he married and then divorced Cheryl Cole, swore at police outside a nightclub, clocked at 104mph in a 50mph zone and blamed the paparazzi, and shot a work-experience boy with an air rifle.
18. Diego Costa
Defenders from around Europe can vouch for this.
Diego Costa loves a battle but, rather remarkably, has only been sent off five times in his career. However, he’s been banned a whole lot more times than because his sly eye-gouges, elbows and stamps are often missed by officials but picked up retrospectively.
17. Mike Ashley
We told you you’d be hearing more of the Newcastle owner.
From refusing to invest in the Newcastle squad, selling star players and rebranding St James’ Park the ‘Sports Direct Arena,’ Ashley has angered Newcastle fans over the last 13 years. And he doesn’t care one bit, either.
Even during the coronavirus pandemic, he initially declared his Sports Direct stores open before reversing that incredibly questionable decision.
Newcastle fans will be praying he finally sells the club this summer. And the fact they’re willing to overlook the new buyers sums up Ashley’s reign.
16. Luis Suarez
A player who is constantly falling on the floor has been found guilty by the FA of racially abusing Patrice Evra and has been involved in THREE biting incidents.
The Uruguayan is lucky to be 16th in truth.
15. Ken Bates
The former Oldham chairman bought Chelsea for just £1 in 1982 and ended up selling the club 21 years later for £140 million with the Blues in financial troubles.
But whilst in charge of Chelsea, his suggestions included putting up electric fences to deter hooligans while he called a supporters’ group “parasites.”
Then bought Leeds in 2005 but they were relegated to the third tier of English football two years later and went into administrated. He later bought them again before selling to Bahraini investors.
14. Joey Barton
Where do we start with Mr Joey Barton?
How about stubbing a cigar out in a youth player’s eye? Or being imprisoned for common assault and affray? Maybe attacking Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo in training? Or what about being banned from football for breaching gambling regulations?
Then there are some of the tackles he put in on the pitch…
13. Diego Maradona
One of the greatest players of all-time but also one of the most controversial.
English fans will never forgive him for his handball at the 1986 World Cup.
Then there’s the failed drugs test some of the fights he’s been involved in. Since his retirement, Maradona has sadly let himself go and has been seen in some pretty worrying states.
12. Karl Oyston
Fans outside of England may not be aware of the Oyston family.
They bought shares in their local Blackpool side in the 1980s and Karl Oyston took over from his mother, Vicky, in 1999.
All was going well when, helped by investment from minority shareholder Valeri Belokon, they were promoted to the Premier League.
But three relegations in six seasons left the fans furious and they stopped attending matches in a protest against the owners. In 2017, the Oystons were ordered to payBelokon £31 million after being found guilty of “illegitimate stripping” of club assets.
The fans finally won the war when they sold the club last year.
11. Bernard Tapie
Bernard Tapie sold Adidas in 1993 and bought Marseille. During his ownership, Marseille won their fourth consecutive Ligue 1 as well as the Champions League.
However, it soon emerged that Tapie had offered Valenciennes bribes to take it easy - Marseille’s opponents before their Champions League final.
Tapie was sent to prison and Marseille were stripped of both titles before being sent to Ligue 2.
10. John Terry
John Terry is a Chelsea legend but he’s not exactly a favourite among rival fans.
Well, in 2010, he had his England captaincy removed for having an affair with Wayne Bridge’s partner - his former Chelsea and England teammate. After winning back the armband, he was stripped of it again - and then retired from international duty - after an FA inquiry found him guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Then there was changing into his full Chelsea kit when his side won the 2012 Champions League - a game in which Terry was suspended for after booting Alexis Sanchez in the previous round.
While in his final Chelsea match, Terry had the idea of substituting himself off to a 26th-minute guard of honour. Oh dear.
9. Pete Winkelman
The chairman of MK Dons - need we say any more?
Pete Winkelman first got involved in football in 2000 when his consortium made plans to build a retail development in Milton Keynes which included a football stadium, which was offered to several clubs for relocation.
When Wimbledon went bust, Winkelman pounced and MK Dons was founded - despite Wimbledon fans following phoenix club AFC Wimbledon instead.
8. El Hadji Diouf
After impressing at the 2002 World Cup, Liverpool signed the Senegalese talent - but they will be wishing they hadn’t.
Not because the striker only managed six goals in 79 appearances but because of his terrible attitude - which included spitting at Celtic fans during a UEFA Cup match.
After moving to Bolton, he then spat at Portsmouth’s Arjan de Zeeuw. He was also accused of racially abusing a ball boy and taunting Jamie Mackie after he had suffered a broken leg. At the time, QPR manager Neil Warnock described Diouf as "lower than a sewer rat.”
Since retiring, he’s taken on Liverpool legends Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard.
7. Luciano Moggi
Remember when Juventus were relegated to Serie B and stripped of two league titles. Yeah, well they have Luciano Moggi to thank for that.
He decided to influence referees during Juventus matches and manipulated the transfer market during the infamous Calciopoli scandal.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo
Remember when we said that some people are in this list because they’re successful? That’s surely the case with Cristiano Ronaldo - one of the greatest players to have ever played the game.
Ok, he’s a bit egotistical and loves himself a little bit but is there a real reason to hate him? Even Lionel Messi fans must appreciate him and recognise that he’s pushed the Argentine to great heights throughout his career.
Of course, England fans perhaps have a reason to dislike him considering his behaviour to get Wayne Rooney sent off at the 2006 World Cup.
5. Richard Keys
The disgraced Sky Sports pundit was caught making some pretty distasteful ‘jokes’ about female colleagues before moving to BeIN Sports.
He's now football’s Piers Morgan as he attempts to bait football fans over pretty much every topic.
4. Michel Platini
Younger fans may not realise Michel Platini was an incredible player during his career - winning European Footballer of the Year three times in the early 1980s.
But it was after his retirement when he became a hated figure. He was elected UEFA president in 2006 but the power soon got to his head.
A number of controversial moves followed before a “disloyal payment” led to a six-year ban from football.
3. Harald Schumacher
In a French poll, Harald Schumacher came above Adolf Hitler as the nation’s most despised figure. It all stems back to the goalkeeper’s challenge on Patrick Battiston in the 1982 World Cup semi-final between France and Germany, which led to Battiston losing consciousness, several teeth before slipping into a coma.
Afterwards, when hearing the victim had lost teeth, Schumacher said: “If that's all that's wrong with him, I'll pay for the crowns.”
2. Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has never been afraid to upset anyone.
Even in his early days at Porto, he sprinted down the Old Trafford touchline in front of Sir Alex Ferguson during a Champions League tie.
He’s got worse with age, though.
Eye-gouging, screaming at Chelsea physio Eva Carneiro and treating his players with very little respect.
It’s getting to a stage where Mourinho has more enemies in the game than friends.
1. Sepp Blatter
The most hated man in football is…Sepp Blatter.
Like Platini, the former UEFA president has been banned for all football activities for six-years due to corruption and financial mismanagement.
Let's hope we don't see him meddling with the beautiful game ever again.
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