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5 big clubs that are universally hated by the fans

FC Dynamo Kyiv v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League
Jose Mourinho is unsurprisingly linked with three of the sides on this list!

Every football team has its rivals, whether it’s due to a local issue such as which team is the best in a certain city, a rivalry between clubs from opposing nations – English clubs vs. German clubs for example - or something more longstanding, like a bad refereeing decision in an important game from years in the past. There’s no denying, however, that some clubs just garner hatred from practically anyone they come up against – and even fans of sides they might never end up facing.

Whether it’s down to jealousy of a lot of success, a perceived arrogance, a willingness to buy players that they don’t really need, or the housing of overtly dirty players, the following five teams are basically universally hated, and here’s why.


#5 Bayern Munich

Juventus  v FC Bayern Muenchen  - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
Bayern Munich love to weaken their rivals, a move that makes them despised

The common theme on this list is that the most hated clubs are the biggest ones, and so it doesn’t come as a coincidence that the most hated club in Germany are also the biggest one. Step forward Bayern Munich - or ‘FC Hollywood’ as they’re known by opposing fans in Germany, due to their arrogant attitude and willingness to spend insane amounts of money on players to guarantee success.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Bayern is what they’ve done to the Bundesliga. Once known as one of Europe’s most well-supported and competitive leagues, Germany’s top division is now basically a foregone conclusion at the start of every season, and it’s a conclusion that always ends in favour of Bayern Munich. How has it come to this, when just a handful of seasons ago, the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg were able to capture the league title?

Money, of course. Where Real Madrid focus on buying the world’s best players, no matter the cost, and the likes of Man United and Chelsea are quite willing to spend insane amounts, Bayern have been slightly more savvy.

Their biggest tendency is to simply sign away the best players from their German rivals – recent seasons have seen them sign the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels away from Dortmund for instance, completely killing their biggest challenger dead in the water.

Add in a tendency to use football’s ‘dark arts’ at the drop of a hat – again usually when facing English opposition in European ties – as well as the classic Teutonic air of arrogance, and it all comes together to make Bayern Munich one of the most universally hated clubs in the world.

#4 Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - Copa del Rey
More than a club? Maybe to their own fans, but not to their opposition!

Barcelona might be one of the biggest clubs on planet earth, but despite having millions of fans spread all over the world, they also have their fair share of haters and are basically despised by fans of any opposing sides. Why? It’s that ‘A’ word again. Barcelona are one of the most arrogant clubs in the world and their famous motto – mes que un club – meaning “more than a club” sums up their absolutely massive self-important streak.

They’ve made their fair share of enemies on the pitch, too. While the Barcelona side that Pep Guardiola built in the late 2000s was arguably the greatest club side in the history of the game, that didn’t mean that they were always squeaky clean. The likes of Pedro, Sergio Busquets and – yes – even Lionel Messi – were equally fond of simulation and diving as they were of playing the perfect pass, and the possibility that referees were favouring the Catalan giants – particularly in Champions League ties against English clubs – didn’t exactly help their case.

Throw in a bunch of transfer scandals – who’s actually sure how much Barca paid for Neymar, for instance? – and the shady business surrounding their sponsorship (Barca once prided themselves on never having a shirt sponsor, making an exception for charity Unicef, until suddenly announcing a questionable partnership with the controversial Qatar Foundation....) and it just seems like despite portraying themselves as a club for the Catalan people, Barcelona could be as bent as it gets.

Do they pride themselves on playing pretty football? Sure. But that doesn’t stop them from being universally hated.

#3 Chelsea

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League
Chelsea have become more hated since the arrival of Roman Abramovich and his billions

While Manchester City seem more willing to splash insane cash these days due to their Qatar-based bankroll, no club sums up the idea of nouveau riche quite like Chelsea. Even before the Roman Abramovich era, fans in England had become suspicious of the London club due to the sheer amount of foreign talent they were bringing into the Premier League, but since the Russian billionaire’s takeover back in 2004, they’ve shot up the charts and now challenge Manchester United as England’s most hated side.

Chelsea pretty much do everything that you’d have on a list to make them hated. Stockpiling players by abusing their financial strength? Check – they’ve even bought players before seemingly just to stop rivals from getting them, such as Willian and Mohamed Salah.

Abusing the loan system? Check – they currently have an insane 33 players out on loan across Europe, while in the same breath blocking the pathway for their young talent by spending so much money. Their fans? They’re well-known for having a heavy hooligan element and have recently been accused of racism and anti-Semitism.

Throw in the strong links with the unlikeable Jose Mourinho – he’s not with the club any more of course but Chelsea are the first side that comes to mind when you think of him – and completely detestable players like John Terry, Didier Drogba and Diego Costa who have called the club their home in recent seasons, and it becomes clear why nobody really likes Chelsea outside of their own fanbase.

#2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid CF v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
Real Madrid - the world's most successful club are also perhaps the world's most hated

Nobody likes a team who basically buy themselves into success, and it’s even worse when that side have such a rich history that somehow, every player seems to see them as the pinnacle of a career despite that not really being the case most of the time. Say hello to Real Madrid, the biggest side in Spain and arguably the world, and probably the most despised by neutrals and fans of other teams too.

Unlike some of the sides on this list, the hate for Real Madrid goes back a long way – back in fact to their ties with the Spanish dictator General Franco during the 1930s. Real have always been the side to represent the Spanish establishment and essentially the dice have always been loaded in their favour, right down to recent years that saw the Spanish government help them to buy land for a new training ground at £15m less than the market value. And when you’re talking about Real Madrid, you’ve got to talk about their finances.

Real are basically rich enough to buy any player in the world and frustratingly for the fans of other clubs, once they have a player in their sights they usually end up at the Bernabeu. Even giant clubs like Manchester United, Barcelona and Juventus have seen their best players stolen by Los Blancos, although usually, they come at a huge price, naturally.

The ‘Galactico project’ that brings the world’s best players to Madrid has been successful – they’ve won three of the last four Champions Leagues – but it’s made them somehow even more hateable than ever before.

#1 Manchester United

Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League
Man United are England's biggest - and most hated - club

Let’s start with perhaps the biggest team on this list. Despite Manchester City stinking of nouveau riche there’s almost something that’s still cool about a side that were relegated to League One in the recent past suddenly rising up to become powerful. There’s nothing cool about Manchester United, who have been one of the most powerful clubs in both England and Europe since the Premier League era started back in 1992.

An aura of arrogance? Check. Manchester United seem to think it’s their god-given right to win trophies, and of course, during the reign of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson that was almost correct, as they ran roughshod over the Premier League and captured the trophy a record twelve times.

At times under Ferguson, United were almost likeable due to their never-say-die attitude, but it never quite rang true due to the way their players and manager used to harangue officials over seemingly every decision and some of their players – Roy Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo for instance – were simply detestable.

Since Ferguson retired in 2013 United have fallen from grace somewhat – never coming close to winning the Premier League – but somehow it’s made them even more hated, mainly because despite now being only one of around six top English sides, they still continually flex their financial muscles to the point where it feels unfair, for example, their world-record £89m signing of Paul Pogba in 2016. And they’re also arrogant enough to believe they can sign anyone, as their fans consistently talk about them being able to buy Harry Kane as if he’s a toy in a very expensive store.

To add to all of this, right now they’re managed by Jose Mourinho, one of the most unlikeable and arrogant men in the football world. It’s a match made in heaven, especially in terms of making them universally disliked.

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