Players have immortalized themselves both on the pitch and off it. You see great players mixed in scandals that you would think is not really possible, given their recent performances. How bad are the baddest boys of the beautiful game today? This is my English Premier League Bad Boys XI.
GK - Jens Lehman
Class goalkeeper, no doubt, but a wee bit hotheaded you could say. Jens has stamped players, thrown water over the referee and has been involved in a war of words with his team mates and opposition players. He once said that the then Arsenal 2nd choice goalkeeper, Manuel Almunia, was “not in his class”, which is not what was expected of him, as senior players are expected to be role models. His infamous “Drogba diving pantomime[pictured]” was viral once upon a time and his eccentric acts will never be forgotten.
RB – Gary Neville
Another legend to his club but hated by his opposition. You might think differently of him now, after him being appointed into the England coaching staff. He has always been eccentric and always had a very cocky attitude when it came to facing Liverpool as it can be seen in the picture. He might be idolized by his fans but the chants and nicknames brought by other fans bring out the real story of how Gary Neville used to be before he became a Sky Sports pundit.
CB – John Terry
You don’t even have to guess, do you? Just like everyone, he is adored by his fans for the fantastic defensive display and leadership qualities that he shows on the field but he has been quite a superstar off it as well. From sleeping with his team-mate’s ex-girlfriend to kneeing someone in the back in a Champions League semifinal [pictured] are just some of the antics of this Chelsea legend. The most hated figure in London and all of England is what they call him, with hilarious chants about him from other fans as well.
CB - Ryan Shawcross
Unknown to many but a murderer to Arsenal fans. He is known to place harsh and crunchy tackles and not afraid to dive into a fight. The Stoke City captain is a hated figure in London with the main cause being his horror tackle on Aaron Ramsey which broke the young lad’s leg in two places. It might not have been intentiona,l but the sight of a 6foot 3 inch defender coming at you can scare the daylights out of anyone.
LB – Ashley Cole
Considered by many as the greatest left-back in the world, his life is also not shy of scandals. The man who found himself in a dream relationship with Cheryl Cole had three affairs while he was with her, which led to a largely publicized divorce after 4 years of being together. Bringing out your autobiography at the age of 26 is pretty unorthodox and another infamous incident would be the shooting of a young sport science student with a .22 air rifle at the Cobham training ground while believing that it was not loaded.
CDM – Nigel De Jong
The original Kung Fu master. Legend has it that Muhammad Ali learnt his trade from Nigel himself (I kid, of course!). De Jong has made himself infamous after his kick on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final [pictured] and went on to make more horror tackles for his club and country. Someone who is just not afraid of a good fight and ready to prove that he has the biggest cojones out there. Why is he on this list? He is good as a defensive midfielder and he is eccentric both off the pitch and on it!
CAM – Joey Barton [Captain]
The worst of the worst and the man from who you can expect the unexpected. No Bad Boys list is complete without the Joey Barton. The amount of fights he has gotten into has surpassed the amount of trophies won by Manchester United. His most recent one which brought him in spotlight was the elbow on Tevez and kick on Aguero which got him a red card and a fine from the QPR management. He is also a twitter philosopher along with Rio Ferdinand, who believe they know a lot on life and other people but usually get a laugh or two.
CAM – Ryan Giggs
A legend and the real inspiration of John Terry. Adored by his fans, he himself has played more top-flight games than Manchester City itself! One of the few people out there who have forgotten about playing for money, he has had his fair share of scandals as well, with the most sickening one of him sleeping with his brother’s wife and having an affair spanning over 8 years which became even more publicized when 3 more women claimed that they had affairs with him, which makes John Terry look like an amateur in front of him.
CAM – Roy Keane
A more subtle version of Joey Barton, Roy Keane led Manchester United through their most successful periods but will always be remembered for his fights and real bad boy image. Paul Scholes would have made it for all his mistimed tackles but Roy Keane is just another bully in the playground who demands respect. He caused a stir in the footballing world when he admitted in his biography that he wanted to intentionally injure a player with a nasty tackle. Another legend gone bad.
ST – Mario Ballotelli
“When I score I don’t celebrate, because I do my work. When the postman delivers your letter, does he celebrate?”
Where should I even begin. Shooting to fame since his move to Manchester City, he is a force to be reckoned with on the field but his hot headiness and constant fighting habit has seen him in the wrong end of the spotlight. Roberto Mancini frequently claimed that, Balotelli has admitted that he “sometimes does strange things” but that also earned him a cult status among the fans. Jose Mourinho said that Mario was someone who you could not handle but Prandelli would think different, as Mario found himself in good form for the Azzurris.
ST – Carlos Tevez
Manchester City strikes have dominated the attacking lineup with the Argentinian also being a formidable part of it. “I refuse to play”, is what he said to Mancini when he was asked to come on for the Citizens against Bayern Munich in their group stage match. Even though he went on to tell the press that he only refused to warm-up, its not like they are going to believe him. He once again came under criticism for holding a RIP Fergie banner during their Premier League trophy parade.
Bench and honorable mentions :
Didier Drogba, Kevin Davies, Lee Cattermole, Karl Henry, Andy Carroll, Brainslav Ivanovic, Paul Scholes, Jose Bosingwa, Djibril Cisse and Cheik Tiote
This my list of the English Premier League Bad Boys XI. You might definitely differ in opinion. If you have your own thoughts, do leave a comment!