Top 10 dirtiest footballers of the modern era
There’s a reason this article has been limited to footballers of the modern era. If we included footballers of yesteryear, then the article would be big enough to fill a book! The likes of Nobby Stiles, Norman Hunter, Chopper Harris, Ernie Hunt, gGeorge Curtis, Tommy Smith, Jack Charlton and Vinnie Jones would be top of our list, but this list only includes players of the modern era and footballers whose antics are still fresh in the minds of fans.
10) Nigel De Jong
De Jong might feel hard done by the fact that he is number 10 on our list, but then if you kung-fu tackle an opponent on the grandest stage in football, then you must prepare for the backlash from fans of the beautiful game.
The horrendous tackle on Xabi Alonso aside, De Jong’s stint in the EPL was marked by two ferocious tackles that set back careers of two promising footballers, Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa and Bolton’s Stuart Holden. Both players felt the De Jong force, and although they lived to tell the tale, they have never quite been the same.
Here’s a sampling of De Jong’s, ahem, handiwork:
9) Marco Materazzi
Famous, or infamous depending on your outlook towards headbutting, for provoking Zidane and getting himself in trouble in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, Materazzi is one footballer who has never divided opinions – he is unanimously hated.
There are footballers who just can’t tackle properly and there are those who are simply too late into a tackle.
Then there’s Materazzi, a player who knows how to tackle properly, but simply refuses to. Materazzi’s modus operandi is simple – bring the man down, and forget the ball.
Here’s Materazzi at his finest:
(VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED: This video contains horrible, awful tackles that will make you squirm. Also, the background music is System of a Down.)