Top 10 Craziest Premier League Players
The Premier League has been graced by some of the finest footballers the World has ever seen over the years. From the likes Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry to present days stars such as Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero. But it's fair to say the league has also had it's fair share of 'characters'. Diego Costa continues to bring controversy to the English Top flight and here at FREEbets.org.uk we take a look at some of the players who have been a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
10. Diego Costa
Most memorable outburst: A stamp on Liverpool's Emre Can that saw him receive a three-match ban
The inspiration behind this list, Diego Costa is arguably the greatest wind-up merchant in world football. Though his offences are not quite as bewildering as some of the others set to feature on this list, the frequency in Costa's offences see him well worthy of his spot. An undeniably world-class striker, the aggression that goes with Costa's game is quite staggering. Constantly battling and baiting defenders, he always looks as if he is on the verge of getting himself sent off. He was criticised for taunting Everton's Seamus Coleman after the defenders own goal in Chelsea's 3-6 win at Goodison Park in 2014 and in the same season received a three-match ban for a stamp on Emre Can in the Capital One cup and also was accused of stamping on Martin Skrtel in the same game. His supposed fall out with Jose Mourinho was well documented and it is little wonder really, for Costa could probably start a fight with his own shadow and is almost certainly the league's most disliked player at present.
9. Tomas Repka
Club: West Ham
Most memorable outburst: Sent off on his debut against Middlesbrough
When you arrive at a new club, players will always want to impress on their debut, to really make an impression on their new manager and fans. Well Tomas Repka really did set the tone for his spell when he was sent off for two bookable offences away to Middlesbrough. Repka went on to receive three more red cards during his spell with the Hammers and a career total of 19. The former Czech Republic international was immensely popular during his spell at Upton Park due to his no-nonsense style and was reduced to tears after his final appearance for the club in 2006. Don't think this makes him a softie however, Repka was amongst the most intimidating looking players in Premier League history.
8. Vinnie Jones
Clubs: Chelsea and Wimbledon
Most memorable outburst: Booked just three seconds into a game between Chelsea and Sheffield United
Though you could argue some of Jones' most infamous moments came prior to the Premier League era, his second spell with Wimbledon sees him earn his spot. One of the key members in the formation of Wimbledon's 'Crazy gang' in the late eighties, Jones' reputation was immortalised in a picture of him grabbing Paul Gascoigne by the testicles. Jones was sent off six times prior to the Premier League's inception in 1992 and was sent off a further six times in the Premier League era. After hanging up his boots, the ex-Welsh international became a Hollywood movie star where he was unsurprisingly regularly cast as a 'hardman'.
7. Paulo Di Canio
Clubs: Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic.
Most memorable outburst: Pushing over referee Paul Alcock
Paulo di Canio arrived in the Premier League with a fledgling reputation as a combustible character. His spell north of the border with Celtic had ended on sour note after he was involved in a mass brawl in an Old Firm match against Rangers. At the end of the season he wanted a large pay-rise and when Celtic refused to meet his demands, he went on strike. His most infamous moment came in September 1998 in his second season at Sheffield Wednesday, when he was sent off at home to Arsenal. After referee Paul Alcock showed Di Canio the red card, the Italian shoved the referee to the ground an action that saw him receive an 11-game ban. Di Canio later transferred to West Ham where he became a cult hero and after a season with Charlton returned to his native Italy in 2004. Di Canio returned to the Premier League in 2013 as manager of Sunderland in a controversial appointment. However the spell was short lived and Di Canio was sacked after just 13 league games in charge.
6. Duncan Ferguson
Clubs: Everton and Newcastle
Most memorable outburst: His 'chokehold' on Leicester's Steffan Freund
Another who had already established a reputation up in Scotland, 'Big Dunc' had served a three-month jail term in Scotland for head-butting an opponent whilst playing for Rangers. Ferguson was sent off a record eight times in his Premier League career and received a four match ban for grabbing Leicester midfielder Steffan Freund around the throat. He later received another four match ban for punching Wigan's Paul Scharner. Ferguson's fearsome reputation was cemented after it emerged that burglars who had broken into his home required hospital treatment for injuries inflicted by the big Scotsman.
5. Mario Balotelli
Clubs: Manchester City and Liverpool
Most memorable outburst: Involved in a training ground bust-up with then Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini
Perhaps not guilty of the acts of violence committed by many on this list, but it simply would not be complete without Mario Balotelli. If this list was charting off-field behaviour then Balotelli would undoubtably rank far higher. Balotelli was sent off four times during his spell at City leading to him missing a total of 11 games in all competitions. Never has a footballer been the subject of more newspaper columns than Balotelli, from fighting with team-mates to visiting a women's prison to disappearing from Liverpool training to get a new Iphone, a truly crazy character.
4. Eric Cantona
Clubs: Leeds United and Manchester United
Most memorable outburst: That kick
The mercurial Frenchman will go down as one of the greatest players in Premier League history. He is widely regarded as the catalyst for Manchester United's spell of dominance in the early years of the Premier League that saw the club win four titles in the five years he was there. Cantona had left his native France in order to escape the controversy that surrounded him in his homeland. He had been involved with numerous bust-ups and was renowned for his short temper. His temperament was first questioned during his spell at Old Trafford when he was sent off in consecutive games against Swindon and Arsenal, however his nadir came at Selhurst Park in 1995. After being sent off for a kick on Crystal Palace's Richard Shaw, Cantona was being escorted off the pitch when he was confronted by a Crystal Palace fan. Cantona reacted angrily to the fans abuse and launched himself into the stands in a 'kung-fu' style kick. The incident saw Cantona receive a nine-month ban from the FA and remains one of the most shocking moments in Premier League history.
3. Roy Keane
Clubs: Nottingham Forest and Manchester United
Most memorable outburst: An awful foul on Alf Inge Haaland that Keane later admitted was pre-meditated.
Another former Manchester United captain and once more it should also be stressed how important Keane was to Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United side (Despite what Fergie may say these days) If Cantona was the catalyst of the success then Keane was the beating heart of that Manchester United team. A combatative central midfielder whose on-pitch rivalry with Patrick Viera has gone down in Premier League folklore. The two regularly squared up when Manchester United and Arsenal clashed, with the infamous bust up in the tunnel at Highbury in 2005. Seven Premier League red cards, the most famous of which came against Manchester City in 2001. Keane went in with his studs knee-high on Alf-Inge Haaland, in a revenge attack when Haaland had mocked Keane after he had suffered a serious knee injury in 1997. The foul saw Keane sent off and receive a three match ban but upon the publishing of Keane's autobiography when he stated he had purposely intended to hurt Haaland, he was given a further five match ban. The Irishman remains a controversial figure in retirement and has developed a ongoing feud with his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, after his acrimonious departure from Manchester United.
2. Joey Barton
Clubs: Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR
Most memorable outburst: Attempting to fight half the Manchester City team in 2012
Joey Barton has never been far from controversy since his Premier League debut in 2003. From stubbing a lit cigar out in a youth players eye to assaulting a 15-year-old on a pre-season tour to Thailand, the Liverpudlian has a rap sheet that far exceeds one that lists his honours. Barton has seen the red mist descend on him probably more so than any other Premier League player and has been charged with violent conduct by the FA on three separate occasions. First for assaulting his former Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo after a training ground dispute. His second charge came whilst playing for Newcastle in 2010 when he punched Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen in the chest. His final charge came on the final day of the 2011-12 season in the famous Manchester City 3-2 QPR game. Red carded after clashing with City's Carlos Tevez, as he was leaving the pitch Barton then kicked out at Sergio Aguero, attempted to headbutt Vincent Kompany and topped it all off with attempting to square up to Mario Balotelli in a farcical scene.
1. Luis Suarez
Most memorable outburst: Biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, how could anyone forget?
Steven Gerrard said the Uruguayan striker was the best player he ever played alongside. On the Kop read a banner saying 'Make Us Dream" as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to within touching distance of their first league title since 1990. Since leaving Liverpool, Suarez has gone on to form a devastating striking trio alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi at Barcelona and cement his place as one of the greatest players in world football. However Suarez may well just be the very definition of a flawed genius. His use of racially offensive language towards Manchester United's Patrice Evra saw him banned for eight games. Despite his obvious talent, Suarez's conduct was routinely questioned with accusations of diving and play acting often aimed at the striker. However it is for one of the most bizarre incidents the Premier League has ever seen for which Suarez will always be remembered. In April 2013 Liverpool hosted Chelsea and late on in the game Suarez bit the shoulder of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. The incident went un-noticed by referee Kevin Friend and he was later handed a ten match ban by the FA. Remarkably it was not the first time Suarez had bitten opponent. Upon his arrival in England, Suarez was serving a seven match ban for biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal whilst playing for Ajax. Full bloodied tackles and fighting with opponents? Yeah of course they can cause serious injury but biting an opponent? A truly strange thing to do. Incredibly Suarez bit a third opponent in the 2014 World Cup. In Uruguay's group game with Italy, Giorgio Chiellini became his latest victim. The third bite saw Suarez banned from all football activity for four months, though that summer he did depart Liverpool for Spain as he joined Barcelona and closed the chapter of the craziest player in Premier League history.
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