Despite making 225 Premier League appearances in his career, former England international midfielder Kieron Dyer is largely remembered for two things: his terrible luck with injuries and the on-field fight between himself and Newcastle colleague Lee Bowyer during a Premier League clash with Aston Villa in April 2005.
In recognition of Dyer’s 43rd birthday, GIVEMESPORT has decided to take a look back at that infamous scrap, as well as nine other examples where teammates have come to blows down the years.
Some of these confrontations have started for the most random reasons.
1. Kieron Dyer v Lee Bowyer (2005)
It seems only right that we start at St. James’ Park, where both Dyer and Bowyer saw red after a sensational bust-up.
3-0 down at the time, the Magpies pair lost all control in the centre of the pitch, brawling with each other until separated by colleagues.
The duo were later hauled in front of the press to explain themselves, with manager Graeme Souness clearly still furious with them.
The Scotsman told reporters he’d “never seen anything like it on a football pitch before” – and it still makes for incredible viewing today.
2. David Batty v Graeme Le Saux (1995)
Dyer and Bowyer, however, were far from the first Premier League teammates to have a mid-match tussle.
Graeme Le Saux and David Batty, both representing reigning champions Blackburn, got into a heated exchange during a 1995 Champions League tie with Spartak Moscow, resulting in Le Saux throwing a punch at Batty.
3. Jermaine Beckford v Eoin Doyle (2016)
Things haven’t got better with time, either, as Preston duo Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle were both given their marching orders in the final moments of a December 2016 Championship fixture for violent conduct towards one another.
Preston were losing 2-1 at the time, but that’s no excuse for this kind of behaviour.
4. Emmanuel Adebayor v Nicklas Bendtner (2008)
When Adebayor and Bendtner came face-to-face during a League Cup tie for Arsenal against Tottenham, it was the Dane who came off worst – sustaining a bloody nose.
Although the Gunners were losing 4-1 to their arch-rivals at the time, it wasn’t an incident during the match that led to their confrontation.
Rather, it was Bendtner’s refusal to follow Arsenal team rules, as Adebayor explained to The Telegraph the following year (subscription required).
“There was a rule at Arsenal where no one is allowed to come into the dressing room with trainers or house shoes on. I cannot understand why Nicklas came every day with his shoes on.
“Nicklas, you are a footballer, I am a footballer,’’ Adebayor told him. “Maybe I am better than you, maybe you are better than me but you have to respect everyone. There are rules saying you cannot come into the dressing-room with your house shoes. Take them off.’’
Bendtner refused, ultimately leading to ugly scenes on the pitch between the pair.
5. Neymar v Nelson Semedo (2017)
Shortly before Neymar became the most expensive footballer on the planet by moving from Barcelona to PSG for €222 million in August 2017, he had a furious bust-up with Barca colleague Nelson Semedo in training.
Believed to be upset over a meaty challenge from his teammate, cameras caught Neymar squaring up to Semedo during a session in Miami.
The Brazilian forward had to be restrained by Sergio Busquets, before angrily storming off the pitch.
6. Naby Keita v Diego Demme (2017)
While Busquets may have been able to play peacemaker in the above example, nobody was able to prevent Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita from getting revenge for a stiff training ground tackle during his time with RB Leipzig.
Having been nailed by teammate Diego Demme, the Guinean international swiftly got his own back.
Demme easily came off second best, as Keita’s robust reply left him clutching his knee in agony.
The training session had to be halted, but thankfully neither player was badly hurt. The pair agreed to put the matter behind them a few days later.
7. Thomas Gravesen v Robinho (2006)
Thomas Gravesen is not a man most of us would fancy our chances against. That didn’t seem to matter one bit to Robinho, though, as the diminutive Brazilian forward squared up to the fearsome midfielder following a poor challenge during a training session while at Real Madrid.
Thankfully (for Robinho), other players and staff quickly stepped in to prevent any further physical interaction between the pair.
8. Craig Bellamy v John Arne Riise (2007)
When John Arne Riise was caught cheating during a round of golf with some of his Liverpool teammates ahead of a Champions League tie at Barcelona, his ‘punishment’ was that he would have to get on stage and sing karaoke before the end of the trip.
Riise, though, apparently didn’t fancy the idea of performing in front of a crowd – and so swerved the singing engagement.
Teammate Craig Bellamy was furious over this decision. When he eventually tracked down the Norwegian full-back in his hotel room, the Welsh forward started attacking Riise with a golf club.
After scoring against Barca, Bellamy famously celebrated by pretending to swing a golf club. However, in a 2019 interview, he admitted that he is now “embarrassed” by the incident.
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic v Oguchi Onyewu (2010)
Another man the majority of us would probably rather avoid getting on the wrong side of, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is hardly known for backing down from a confrontation.
American centre-back Oguchi Onyewu wasn’t phased by Ibra’s reputation though and willingly went blow-for-blow with the Swede after a training ground disagreement during their time together at AC Milan.
Ibrahimovic remembered their confrontation in his autobiography.
“I headbutted him, and we flew at each other,” wrote Zlatan, per the Daily Star.
“We wanted to tear each other limb from limb. It was brutal. We were rolling around, punching and kneeing each other. We were crazy and furious — it was like life and death.
“I was stopped by my teammates, and I suppose that was a good thing. It could have turned out nasty. All the time, I was thinking: ‘S***, my chest hurts’, so we had it checked out. I’d broken a rib in the fight.”
10. Wilfried Zaha v Ravel Morrison (2013)
Throughout his controversial career, former Manchester United prospect Ravel Morrison has rarely found himself far from trouble.
Perhaps nowhere is this better summed up than when he decided to shove Wilfried Zaha in the face during an England Under-21s match with Lithuania.
The Three Lions’ youngsters coasted to a 5-0 win, but Morrison clearly had a problem with some of Zaha’s decision-making during the match – and chose to express his frustration physically.
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