5 most controversial figures in football history

Florentino Perez is the president of Real Madrid
Florentino Perez is the president of Real Madrid
Abhinav Anand
Modified 21 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

Football is a global game, and many characters have played the sport to varying degrees of success.

While talent on the field is one thing, certain individuals tend to divide opinion by their actions or statements. From footballers and managers to owners and club presidents, these people tend to attract controversy like a magnet.

With so many people keeping a keen eye on the sport, it is hard to escape scrutiny. The recent European Super League once again highlighted this fact.

With all this in mind, we take a look at the 5 most controversial figures in football history.

#5 Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona is a Manchester United legend
Eric Cantona is a Manchester United legend

One of Manchester United's greatest footballers, Eric Cantona's career was often marked by controversy.

Cantona's arrival from Leeds United in 1992 transformed Manchester United. His technical skills, creativity and goalscoring ability were all crucial, but it was his strong personality and leadership ability that proved to be key to the Red Devils' success.

In 1995, the France international attracted intense criticism after kung-fu kicking a Crystal Palace fan who abused him. He was banned for eight months from playing football, and it took some cajoling from Sir Alex Ferguson to make sure that he could play for Manchester United again.

Cantona has made some strange statements throughout his life, including the famous seagulls and trawlers line he said at a press conference after his infamous kick:

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

An enigmatic figure, Cantona is considered a Manchester United legend due to his contributions to the club.

#4 Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho was most recently the manager of Tottenham Hotspur
Jose Mourinho was most recently the manager of Tottenham Hotspur

One of the most successful managers in the history of football, Jose Mourinho has not enjoyed the best of times in recent years.

While the Portuguese has enjoyed a trophy-laden career, he has not shied away from controversy.

As Chelsea manager, he did not enjoy a good relationship with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and once called the Frenchman a "specialist in failure."

As Real Madrid boss, Mourinho once gouged the eye of Barcelona assistant manager Tito Vilanova.

The 58-year-old has often been criticised for not supporting his players and for focussing on winning trophies rather than playing attractive football.

His most recent managerial spell was with Tottenham Hotspur. He was sacked by the club a few days ago.

Tottenham Hotspur are the first club that Mourinho departed without winning a trophy.

Also Read: 5 things that led to the downfall of the European Super League

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Published 21 Apr 2021
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