One of the most important things we expect from the team that will represent us in Russia this year is for the players to play fair. After all, we’re not a nation of brutes – and, as one of the biggest names in world football, we should be an example for others. Although players don’t always play entirely fair – it’s easy to get carried away in the heat of an intense game – even the dirtiest players in the Premier League have a record of keeping their cool and not resorting to dirty tricks in the field. Even Duncan Ferguson, one of the most aggressive players in Premier League history, has only collected eight (nine in total) red cards during his career (and a three-month prison sentence for assault in the field). This is, in turn, nowhere near the “impressive” record some other nations’ and teams’ players have.
While correlation is not equal to causation, there is still something behind the fact that four out of the five football players with the most “impressive” collections of red cards are of Latin origin. They are known to be more temperamental than most other nations – and this seems to show in their play style, too. This doesn’t make them any less “professional” – it just means that they lose their temper easier while playing the game.
Paolo Montero has the fifth worst career record when it comes to red cards – but this didn’t stop him from becoming a manager at Argentina’s Rosario Central. His career is impressive – during his active years, he played for Juventus, Atlanta, and the Uruguay national team 61 times. He was, in turn, a pretty temperamental player, collecting 21 red cards during his career – and still holds the record for the most red cards in Serie A history.
Spanish player Alexis also has impressive names on his resume – Málaga, Getafe, Valencia, and Sevilla, among others. He stepped in the field 381 times so far during his career and scored 18 times for his teams. But his negative record is also impressive – he was sent off 22 times for a variety of fouls.
The €27 million invested by Real Madrid in 2005 into a local teenage player has paid off: Sergio Ramos appeared in 378 games with the team and 149 ones for Spain, scoring a total of 62 goals in the process, reaching the rank of captain for both. But he also collected 24 red cards.
Cyril Rool doesn’t have such an impressive career as a footballer – during his more than 360 games he only scored four times. But he will always be remembered for his temper: he collected 187 yellow cards and 25 red cards, a confirmed record for the French championship no other player has come close to break.
Last but not least, the worst of the worst: Colombian footballer Gerardo Bedoya. During his two decades as an active player, he played in more than 550 matches and scored 52 times. But he has also proven to be the most aggressive player ever – he was even called the “Beast” – with no less than 46 red cards collected during his career. He managed to make the headlines even after his retirement – he was sent into the stands 19 minutes into his first game as an assistant coach for Independiente Santa Fe.