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5 footballers with the worst disciplinary record

These players do not always enjoy playing clean football.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal is tackled by Lee Cattermole of Sunderland during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on April 24, 2016 in Sunderland, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Cattermole has the lowest ratio of games per card in PL history

Due to football being a high-intensity game, emotions tend to boil over on the pitch. You often see players giving it their all in the 90 odd minutes they are on the field – fighting for every header, going in for 50-50 tackles and not giving their opponents any space to breathe.

This, therefore, opens up the possibility for altercations, with the players often clashing when any of the aforementioned incidents get out of control.

As a result, they are often disciplined and receive yellow and red cards on a common basis. While it might be something that is most definitely a necessity, some players have built a reputation around having an incredibly poor disciplinary record.

Also read: 5 players who were never booked

On that note, take a look at the five most ‘dirty’ players in the game.


#5 Lee Cattermole

Lee Cattermole is the archetypical English player – strong, aggressive and hard in the tackle. His preferred role as a defensive midfielder also sees him regularly having to contest for 50/50s in the middle of the park, with his role often crucial in protecting the defence.

Coming up through the ranks at Middlesbrough and then Wigan Athletic, it was with Sunderland in the Premier League that Cattermole truly began to make a name for himself, albeit for his increasingly poor disciplinary record.

While you can’t often criticise his performances for the team, his ill-judged tackles and rash all-or-nothing attitude have seen him be booked 32 times and receive four red cards.  Take into account previous infractions and he’s been red-carded a total of eight times already, which is also the number of goals he’s scored at senior level. 

Also, considering that he’s still only 28, he could easily surpass the Premier League record for most number of red cards. He also holds the unfortunate record of being the player with the lowest ratio of games per card, receiving a booking every 2.9 games on average.

During Gus Poyet’s reign as Sunderland boss, the hardman also managed to get under the Uruguayan’s skin, resulting in Poyet benching the player and criticising him for his ‘really, really stupid’ on-field behaviour.

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