Everybody has a favorite footballer, grown men, children, and women, as there is always that one guy who fills us with pleasure every time he’s on the pitch. We can count a lot of these players and will never end, but there are certain players who will be remembered not for the good things they did or the joy they brought to their clubs, but for other reasons that made them earn the hate and disrespect from the public.
Football is love and passion and sometimes those two factors create another feeling that is not as attractive as the first two: hate. There have been players with great talents and plenty of stuff to offer to a club and its supporter, but their actions both inside and outside the pitch were louder than the good performances they display on the field.
Today, we’re going to see 10 of the most hated players in football history; whether for their antics outside the pitch, statements they have made and immoral things that are unforgivable in the eye of every football fans, these are the most hated footballers of all time.
Honorable Mention: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
10. Dani Alves
Brazilian full-back Dani Alves opens this top with his antics, something that earned him the hate of plenty of people around the world. Alves has been spotted faking injuries in more than one occasion during his times with Barcelona and Juventus, creating a name for himself as one of the greatest actors in football.
It will be always in everybody’s memory that encounter between Barcelona and Real Madrid in the 2010/11 Champions League semi-finals, where Alves made everyone believed that Portuguese defender Pepe tackled him in an awful way, leaving the field in supposed pain to return a few moments later like nothing happened - to him, as Pepe was sent off for that play.
9. Sergio Ramos
The Spaniard center-back has had a very good career with Sevilla, Real Madrid and the Spanish national team, but that doesn’t save him for being highly criticized more than once. Ramos was always controversial ever since his days as a wing-back, playing dirty and pushing other players to lose their control.
Well, none of that has happened, in fact, it has increased; Ramos holds the record for more the La Liga red cards with 25, has been involved in several polemics throughout his career and that doesn’t seem to stop any time soon. He’s very famous for kicking rivals, putting elbows and hands in the face of rivals. Sergio is even some times under attack by Real Madrid fans, who don’t hesitate to show their discontent with the Spaniard when he makes poor choices.
8. Ashley Cole
The list of things why Ashley is extremely hated is very big, as the Englishman has tallied more than one controversial episode ever since his youth days. We can start saying he left the club that developed him in order to go to a richer one; he also allegedly cheated on his wife on several occasions before she decided to divorce him.
Cole was spotted smoking several times, was convicted of speeding in a residential area, and his lawyer argued that the police speed gun was failing. Ashley was also fined for swearing at a police officer, and he shot a work-experience lad with an air rifle. This guy was as talented as undisciplined, setting an example not to follow for the next generations.
7. Marco Materazzi
Materazzi is well known by every football fan since this Italian defender starred one of the most infamous moments in recent history. Used to tackle like it was for free and with no consequences for him and his rivals, Marco made a reputation that accompanied him until the very days of his career.
If injuring players like it was nothing wasn’t enough for the center-back, Materazzi had the guts to insult Zinedine Zidane’s sister back in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, receiving the fury of Zizou in return, creating one of the most iconic moments both in football and World Cups history. For that and more, Marco Materazzi gained a lot of hate at a club and international level.
6. Diego Maradona
One of the most talented players in history is also one of the most controversial, as Maradona is very criticized nowadays, almost on a weekly basis due to his eccentric behavior. Diego’s history of abuse of substances is something that would chase him until the end of his days; his drunk driving appearances and more have made Maradona one of the most hated players of all time.
The infamous “Hand of God” had something to see with this, as he accepted to cheat during the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals in front of England. Plus, his scandals out the pitch during and past his times as a player haven’t help Diego to fix his image; his beliefs aren’t the best in the eyes of many, too, so you have a lot of things to select if you want to hate this guy.
5. Luis Suarez
The Uruguayan striker is a total beast when it comes to scoring, but Suarez has seen himself in more than one scandal on a variety of options. Lucho’s problem with biting rivals and teammates was visible in the Netherlands, England and even with his national side during the 2014 World Cup, where Suarez bite Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in his shoulder, getting suspended by several months after that action and his recurrence.
Before that, Suarez had done the same thing, but the biggest controversy before the Chiellini one were his accusations of racism by French full-back Patrice Evra. During a match between Suarez and Evra, the trash-talking went a bit too far with Suarez shouting racist slurs to Evra, who didn’t doubt to called out the Uruguayan. Luis also got suspended for those actions and that’s where the hatred towards him began.
4. Neymar Jr.
It’s not a secret that people really hate Neymar and sometimes he appears to enjoy that hate, as he doesn’t do anything to change the crowd’s mind. The Brazilian forward had a reputation before getting to Barcelona from Santos, as he used to mock defenders when games were decided, gaining hate from fans and rivals.
Plus, his antics, love for the night, dives and exaggerations of fouls have turned Neymar into a meme. He doesn’t seem to take football seriously when you see him partying in Brazil while his team, Paris Saint-Germain was on the prior days of a Champions League last-16 game. Ney hasn’t been able to thrive with his national side, either, and now even Brazilian supporters dislike Neymar. Perhaps he can turn things around, but we are in front of a very hated player.
3. John Terry
Well, John Terry is quite a character and one surrounded by hate no matter where he goes. The former Chelsea and England national team captain was involved in a scandal with teammate and best friend Wayne Bridge and his wife. Terry was caught cheating on his wife with Bridge’s, something that destroyed his marriage and career.
Terry’s career is full of these episodes. He urinated in a beer glass which he then dropped to the floor of a nightclub back in 2002; later that year, he was charged for assault and affray outside a nightclub. In 2008 he parked his expensive Bentley in a disabled parking space and was also accused of racial abuse by Anton Ferdinand in a match in 2011. He went to trial for that, but was clear; however, the FA decided to ban him four games.
2. Joey Barton
Every place Barton went to play through his career, he became a hated player. Whether in England or France, this guy always made sure to make a headline with his actions on the pitch and outside. It is very well known his encounter with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in some sort of clash of titans when Barton was part of Marseille and Ibra was destroying the Ligue 1 with his PSG.
Just like that has been Barton’s career; he was just a footballer with a thug attitude on the pitch, who had a temper that didn’t hesitate to show it. Joey received various red cards through his career, committed atrocious fouls, and he kept like that despite the attention and hate his thuggery received. He had a reputation of losing control and start strikes out at other players.
1. Adam Johnson
If John Terry did wrong, Adam Johnson re-write the definition of that word. This talented midfielder was entering his prime, was followed by some of the biggest clubs in Europe, as teams like Juventus were set to land him, but all of that fell apart for Johnson and everything by his own fault.
Back in 2015, Adam was arrested on suspicion of having sexual activity with an underage girl, who was 15 at the time. He was sentenced to six years in prison for grooming and sexual activity with a girl aged 15, something that triggered football fans and the public in general. He was set to become a great player in English football, but decided to go through a different path and ended up as the most hated player in soccer.