Love and hate are just a few of the factors that influence an individual's appreciation of any game. The beautiful one, football, is no different and boasts its own cast of heroes and villains. Although there are a few players who give their all on a field, while some others do it the hard way, by trying everything to gain an advantage, a small bunch of players cross the line on occasion and become villains.
Check out the list of the ten most hated footballers of 2011.
Number 10 – Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City and England):
Shawcross known for the notorious tackle that broke the leg (both tibia and fibula) of Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey, in 2010. Unsurprisingly, he received a red card for his actions, although he was later defended by both team mates and manager, Tony Pulis. True to his spirit, Shawcross has not let the 2010 incident change the way he tackles.
“He's a committed player, but he's never going to go into a challenge looking to hurt someone, Stoke player Rory Delap said, on Shawcross' tackle and sending off, Everyone knew straight away what had happened. The referee [Peter Walton] said it wasn't meant, but because of the injury he had to send Ryan off.”
Number 9 – Sergio Busquets (Barcelona and Spain):
Known as one of the toughest defensive midfielders in the modern game, Busquets, through 2011, has been referred to by supporters and fans as the one who does all the dirty work for his team. Some people believe that Busquets is very fond of faking injuries and complaining to get opponents into trouble. He may be one of the sole reasons why many fans are resentful about Barca’s gamesmanship.
Number 8 – Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham and Togo):
Adebayor has always been one of those players who has had burning issues with both club and supporters. After Arsenal signed him in 2006, he produced an excellent run of form and the Gunners were even close to winning the league but the success must have gotten to him and he started considering offers from other clubs in 2008, reportedly looking to move to one of Europe's elite clubs.
After he left for Manchester City in 2009, in a game where Arsenal met City, Adebayor created a furore by running almost the full length of the pitch to the Arsenal supporters and celebrating in front of them after scoring his goal. This was later criticized by Arsenal supporters. In addition, he stepped on Robin van Persie's face, in the same game. The player is now currently on loan with Tottenham Hotspurs, after failing to reach any agreement over playing time at parent club Manchester City.
Number 7 – Carlos Tevez (Manchester City and Argentina):
There are probably very few footballers who have courted controversy so consistently as Argentinean Carlos Tevez. The player earned such a tag as this by always staying in the news, for all the wrong reasons. Although he did keep former club, West Ham United, in the Premiership single-handedly when he first arrived in England, supporters seemed to agree that he became rather too greedy and was never happy with what he had.
Now with Manchester City, Tevez declared last summer that he did not want to play for the Citizens any longer and even refused to come on as a substitute, in a recent Champions League game against Bayern Munich. The player was promptly suspended (and is still suspended) by the club.
Number 6 – Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid and Portugal):
Ricardo Carvalho has a rather strong relationship with compatriot and manager Jose Mourinho. In fact, the central defender followed Mourinho from Porto to Chelsea and the pair are now together at Real Madrid, having tasted remarkable success at all three clubs. However, his knack, some supporters feel, of fouling opponents whenever the referee is distracted, makes him less than likeable. A few experts have similar opinions and believe that the player spends half his time on the pitch fouling opponents at opportune moments. What makes it more infuriating for some fans is the fact that he gets away with it most of the time.
Number 5 – Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers and England):
Joey Barton is usually acknowledged as one of the roughest players around. It always seems that Barton rarely thinks twice about attacking anyone, on or off the pitch, whether his unfortunate opponent is a team mate or an opposing player. In fact, when he used to play for Manchester City, he attacked team mate Ousmane Dabo and almost took his eye out!
The club considered sacking him in December 2004, after an incident at their Christmas party where he stubbed out a lit cigar in youth player Jamie Tandy's eye. He was fined six week's wages (£60,000) following the incident. Barton, who is often regarded as one player who could use extended spells of behavioral management at the Sporting Chance clinic, which was set up to help troubled sportsmen and women, was sent home from a pre-season tournament in Thailand in 2005, after assaulting a 15-year-old Everton supporter.
He has served 77 days in prison for beating up a man on a night out with friends. The latest incident was one where he was involved in a scuffle with Arsenal's Gervinho.
Number 4 – Wayne Rooney (Manchester United and England):
While Wayne Rooney is not quite in the same class (in this instance!) as Barton or Tevez, he does often make himself appear as a public enemy, thanks to foolish antics on the field. Supporters and pundits have often criticized him for faking fouls and theatrical dives.
In addition, Rooney made it something of a point to be in the news, usually for his extra-marital flings. According to reports, he had several meetings with Jennifer Thompson, believed to be a prostitute, in 2009, while his wife Coleen was five months pregnant with son Kai. Another reported prostitute, a Helen Wood, also stepped forward, saying she had been offered $1,000.
Rooney even threatened to leave United last season, unless he was given a wage increase. After the increase, he declared his immortal love for the club.
Number 3 – Marco Materazzi (Italy):
A player with a record of more than 60 yellow cards and 25 red cards is bound to have problems with authority and discipline. Italy’s Marco Materazzi, who is currently a free agent, has certainly lived up to those expectations. Entire videos have been dedicated to this hot-blooded Italian, who is infamous for his style of play, which is actually impaling or destroying the opponent. According to the latest fan reactions, he will use any part of his body – hands, legs, elbows – to hurt the opponent. He became famous during the 2006 FIFA World Cup when he was head-butted by Zinedine Zidane, following allegations that the Italian had foul-mouthed the French midfielder's sister. Fans believe that there is no place for a player such as he and his current dry spell as a free agent may well be his farewell to football.
Number 2 – Mark van Bommel (AC Milan and Netherlands):
Van Bommel is often referred to one who made his career by kicking out at his opponents and then escaping any kind of penalty. He played a major role in a game against Portugal and became the first of many players who were booked in the game. The press later called the match as “The Battle of Nuremberg”. The 2010 FIFA World Cup, some supporters would have you believe, was his crowning achievement; he ran amuck amidst the Spanish in the finals, making a number of dangerous tackles, all of which were missed by the referee.
Number 1 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal):
Arguably one of the most talented footballers in recent times, Ronaldo is believed to have a bad attitude towards most people on the pitch and is universally derided for faking fouls and theatrical tumbles. In addition, his stubborn arrogance can also be irritating for others on the pitch. While with Manchester United, he was sent off in the Manchester derby at the City of Manchester Stadium in January 2006 for kicking City's former United player Andrew Cole.
He played a notoriously major part in the quarter-final match against England in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, when Ronaldo's United teammate Wayne Rooney was sent off for stamping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho. The English media reported that Ronaldo had influenced referee Horacio Elizondo's decision by insistently complaining, after which he was seen in replays winking at the Portuguese bench following Rooney's dismissal.