Steph (zimraphel) wrote in ontd_football,
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Mark van Bommel & The 10 Players Fans Love To Hate

A rundown of football's most infuriating characters



Football is supposed to the beautiful game, but Mark van Bommel's snarling performance for the Netherlands at World Cup 2010 never made it look as ugly.

The Bayern Munich hatchet man fouled his way through the tournament as the Dutch came within minutes of lifting the trophy. Such cynicism is nothing new, however.

For every Pele there has been a van Bommel or Juergen Klinsmann eager to hack or dive their way to success. Some of the sport's finest ever players have been more than happy to lean on the dark arts to claw themselves to the top.

Goal.com UK looked at the star men who are loved and loathed in equal measure...

ETA some videos!



11. JUERGEN KLINSMANN | Germany



Dirtiest moment: Serial play-acting at the 1990 World Cup

Famous for provoking Argentina's rage in the 1990 World Cup final after rolling his way to a red card for Pedro Monzon, his reputation preceded him as he moved to Tottenham Hotspur four years later.

His position as a terrace villain was quickly eroded as he charmed his way into the hearts of English supporters with his famous 'diving' celebration on his debut.

This show of personality helped his feats as one of the most feared strikers of modern times come back into focus and this was only helped by the swashbuckling Germany team he crafted as head coach for the World Cup in 2006.



10. CLAUDIO GENTILE | Italy




Dirtiest moment: Using every trick in the book to mark Diego Maradona in the 1982 World Cup

No nation has become more adept at underhand tactics than Italy and Gentile was the enforcer in one of the greatest sides in the nation's history.

Flitting between midfield and defence, the Juventus icon put the blood, sweat and tears into the 1982 World Cup-winning side.

Such was his quality, that he was able to shut Diego Maradona out of a group meeting in the tournament and his return for the final against West Germany was crucial. Despite only receiving one red card in his career, the shin bones of most attackers bore testament to the physical nature of his play.




9. GARY NEVILLE | England




Dirtiest moment: Celebrating wildly in front of Liverpool fans after a last-minute winner for Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2006

As the image of Sir Alex Ferguson on the football pitch, Neville has made few friends outside of Old Trafford during his glittering career. From celebrating in front of Liverpool supporters, to winding up opposition players at every opportunity, he has carved a niche as the Premier League's pantomime villain.

Decried by opposition supporters and booed at every away ground for his partisan nature, his quality as a right-back has often been overlooked. A plethora of trophies, 85 England caps and recognised as one of the best players in the world in his position during his pomp pays testament to his enduring quality.



8. CRISTIANO RONALDO | Portugal




Dirtiest moment: Winking at Wayne Rooney's expense at World Cup 2006

While Lionel Messi is universally adored, the equally talented Ronaldo has faced as much ridicule as acclaim regardless of his world-class quality. Capable of soaring to the heights of breathtaking goals and sinking to unacceptable play-acting in the same minute, the Portuguese splits opinion like no other.

His position as the holder of the record transfer fee of £80 million when he moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United proves his talent. Being booed by supporters in the World Cup 2006 semi-final against France after the infamous 'wink' at Wayne Rooney in the game before showed his propensity for intolerable gamesmanship.



7. DIEGO MARADONA | Argentina




Dirtiest moment: The Hand of God. Enough said

Never before or since has a player so regularly shown touches of the divine and devilish as Diego Maradona.

Rightly heralded as the only challenger to Pele as the finest player in history, his regular bouts of controversy have hindered his claims to be the greatest.

The defining moment in his career came in Argentina's World Cup 1986 quarter-final victory against England. After pulling off the most controversial goal in the tournament's history with his 'hand of God,' he then produced its most beautiful as he cut his way through the entire team to seal the result.




6. PATRICK VIEIRA | France




Dirtiest moment: Being sent off in the first game of the 2000-01 season for Arsenal. And the second

Arsenal have forged a reputation as purveyors of wonderful football, but Vieira added the steel necessary to make them champions. As the fighting spirit in the undefeated Premier League winning 'Invincibles' side in 2003/04, the 107-times capped France international was the finest defensive midfielder in the game.

This ability saw him boss matches with ease and the Gunners have not won a single trophy since his exit in 2005. The current Manchester City player is less fondly remembered for his pitch battles with Manchester United's Roy Keane and 12 red cards throughout a career that has also taken him to Cannes, AC Milan, Juventus and Inter.





5. GRAEME SOUNESS | Scotland



Sorry, I'm just LOLing too much at this picture to keep on going right now. Give me a moment.

Dirtiest moment: 'Marking' his Rangers debut with a thigh-high challenge on a Hibs player and getting sent off after just 34 minutes. "My boot ran up his leg," was the defence

As the hard man for Liverpool's all-conquering side of the 70s and early 80s, Souness showed a propensity for the vile and sublime. The sport was war for the Scottish international and he took no prisoners once he stepped onto the pitch.

While the knee high tackles and studs up challenges left their mark on any player that got in his way, his ability as a midfield general was unsurpassed. Liverpool's 15 major honours during his time at the club pay tribute to his inspirational quality.



4. BILLY BREMNER | Scotland




Dirtiest moment: Getting involved in an unseemly scuffle with Kevin Keegan in the 1974 Charity Shield. Yes, a charity match

Late tackles and slanging matches with referees were his forte as the Yorkshire club stamped their influence on the sport in the 1960s and 1970s.

For all the scandal, his quality as one of the first box-to-box footballers cannot be disputed. From the heart of a side that came from the Second Division to claim two top flight titles, he snatched 90 goals in 587 league appearances and is a member of the Scottish and English Hall of Fames.




3. MARK VAN BOMMEL | Netherlands




Dirtiest moment: Clattering through Andres Iniesta in the World Cup final. And that was just for starters

The Netherlands' charge to the World Cup 2010 final surprised many, but the real miracle was the fact van Bommel didn't get sent off along the way. Despite an endless series of fouls and arguments with referees, it took until the semi-final stage for him to even receive a yellow card.

In the final alone, the Bayern Munich man committed four fouls that could have brought red, but step away from the controversy for a second and his inspirational qualities were invaluable. With the nation sliding towards a quarter-final defeat against Brazil, his fearsome display showed the quality that has earmarked a lengthy career at the top level.



2. STEFAN EFFENBERG | Germany




Dirtiest moment: Not content with leaving his wife to be with the wife of Thomas Strunz (a team-mate), he then went public with explicit photos of the two of them. John Terry, eat your heart out

Away from the controversy, the German was the beating heart of a Bayern Munich side that dominated the sport at the turn of the Millenium.

Voted UEFA Club Footballer of the Year after the side's Champions League and Bundesliga successes in 2001, he dominated midfields across the continent. The only regret came as his explosive personality denied him a lengthy international career after he swore at Germany fans at World Cup 1994 leading to a lengthy spell in the wilderness.



1. MARCO MATERAZZI | Italy




Dirtiest moment: Provoking that headbutt from Zinedine Zidane. Few can be headbutted and still be the villain

Carved from the same stone as Italy's most feared centre backs, Materazzi has fouled and clattered his way through a fine career. Given the nickname 'The Matrix' due to his unpredictable personality, the veteran was sent off four times in just one season at Everton.

After returning to Italy, he helped form the backbone of Inter's successful side and became a vital member of the national set-up.

This quality and controversy reached its height at the World Cup four years ago when he fitted in seamlessly for the injured Alessandro Nesta, scored an equalising goal in the final and then wound up Zinedine Zidane to unleash the most famous headbutt in football history.



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