The Top 10 Most Hated Football Players

Updated on April 10, 2020
Thomas Swan profile image

Thomas Swan has been an avid fan of the English Premier League and European football for more than 20 years.

John Terry is a hated figure in England. Here he arrives for his trial to face accusations of racism.
John Terry is a hated figure in England. Here he arrives for his trial to face accusations of racism.

Who Are the Most Hated Footballers?

On and off the field, the players on this list have demonstrated profound deficiencies in character and morality. Whether through perpetual diving on the pitch or cheating on their wives off it, they need to be named and shamed to set an example for all upcoming sportsmen and women.

This list only includes currently active footballers. It also includes many players from the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga. With the largest audiences in the world, these leagues include the most hated players.

Occasionally, the hatred might be undeserved. For example, footballers who play for some of the biggest teams in the world are more likely to be hated by rival fans. If a number of players from the team you support are included here, take it as a compliment that your team riles the opposition!

To help justify the entries on this list, I have endeavored to find videos showing their most despicable acts. Enjoy, be outraged, or feel disgusted, for here come the shameful!

10. Ashley Young

Poor Ashley Young has a lot of trouble staying on his feet. Perhaps he has an enduring inner ear infection? More likely he has a disgusting inclination to cheat whenever the opportunity arises. The stats speak for themselves. Young won 11 penalties in 200 Premier League games before the end of 2012, and he's continued 'losing his balance' since then.

There is nothing wrong with winning penalties when you're genuinely fouled, but even Alex Ferguson said he fell dramatically for one of the penalties he won for Manchester United in the 2011–12 season. In the 2013–14 season, he was also warned by David Moyes about his diving. Other managers and pundits have been less careful with their words, blatantly calling him a cheater and diver. He has been booked at least four times in his career for diving.

9. Dani Alves

The antics of Dani Alves may be motivated by something far worse than merely winning penalties. Being a full back, Alves doesn't find himself in the opposition penalty area too often. Thus, Alves has adapted by feigning injury and exaggerating tackles in order to get opposition players sent off or booked.

One of the most notable examples was against Real Madrid in a Champions League encounter. The video shows how Alves perfectly timed the movement of his leg to look as if he was brutally fouled. The Madrid player was sent off, and Barcelona progressed to the next round. His formula of feigning injury until the referee reaches for a card has been repeated numerous times, and he damages the reputation of his great club, Barcelona.

8. Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos has had a long and distinguished career as Real Madrid's most dirty player. At the time of writing this entry, Ramos has 22 red cards and holds the La Liga record. With several years to go before he retires, that number will surely rise. Ramos is a notoriously hard-tackling defender with a nasty temper and a penchant for kicking and elbowing his opponents. This has made him a widely hated player, resulting in tirades of laughter when he happens to balloon a penalty into the stands.

7. Ashley Cole

There are so many reasons to despise Ashley Cole. Where do we start? He allegedly cheated on his ex-wife Cheryl Cole numerous times until she divorced him. He left the team that developed him into a quality player to get more money from a richer club.

When he joined Twitter, he faced a torrent of abuse from the thousands of people who hate him and responded by trolling them in ways that only a nasty little brat could imagine. He was convicted of speeding in a residential area, and his lawyer attempted to argue the police speed gun was faulty. He was fined for swearing at a police officer, and he shot a work-experience lad with an air rifle. This list will no doubt get longer and longer.

6. Ronaldo

Other than his perpetual diving to win fouls and penalties and his tendency to be a petulant whinger, Ronaldo hasn't done a huge amount wrong. Three things may have acted to exaggerate his faults, though.

  1. First, he played for Manchester United, which always earns you a bad rub of the green.
  2. Second, he looks like a Ken Doll by wearing earrings and using hair gel, so there is a lot of scorn for this preening boy-band look from football fans.
  3. Third, he's just a very good football player who will draw fouls from the opposition.

Despite this, he achieved notorious levels of hatred during his time in the Premier League, although his diving antics have cooled since coming to Spain.

5. Sergio Busquets

Much like his Barcelona teammate Dani Alves, Busquets takes simulation to a new level of ruinous disgust. The two of them have made many football fans despise Barcelona, and that is unforgivable. His antics are worse than Alves' for the simple reason that he dives far more often and for far more innocuous challenges. In the video, you can see him actually in the process of cheating.

4. Patrice Evra

There are many words to describe Patrice Evra, and most are quite unpleasant, so let's try to fit them all in! He is an angry, petulant, immature, whinging toad for his abuse of the captaincy of France's World Cup 2010 team. He had an argument with one of the coaches and subsequently led a protest of all the players against the coaching staff that ultimately led to his nation's elimination from the tournament. In 2012, he wiped his behind with a French football jersey.

He is a nasty, vindictive prat who did more than his fair share in the Luis Suarez racism scandal by goading Suarez into the abuse. He makes trolling, caustic comments in the press about other football teams, notably calling Arsenal an "academy team" and a "load of rubbish". He mocked ex-teammate Dimitar Berbatov on the pitch and celebrated in front of Suarez. In 2017, he kicked a fan in the head before a Europa League game (see video).

3. Luis Suarez

Where do we begin with this wretch? For most fans, Luis Suarez first came to hateful prominence when he hand-balled on the goal line to prevent a certain goal against Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup. With Ajax, he bit an opponent.

Since his move to the Premier League, he has been accused of diving after winning a number of penalties for Liverpool. Then there is his ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra. In April 2013, Luis Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovich in a match against Chelsea. Shockingly, this Uruguayan vampire then bit Giorgio Chiellini in a 2014 World Cup match against Italy.

2. John Terry

For John Terry, there really is no end to the scathing headlines, and most of it is well deserved.

  • Beginning in 2001, he taunted American tourists in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
  • In 2002, he urinated in a beer glass which he then dropped to the floor of a nightclub. In the same year, he was charged for assault and affray outside a nightclub.
  • In 2008, he parked his expensive Bentley in a disabled parking space.
  • In 2009, he allegedly gave tours of Chelsea's training ground in return for bribes.
  • Then in 2010, it was revealed that he cheated on his wife and two children by having an affair with a teammate's girlfriend.

As if this wasn't enough, he went to trial for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a 2011 football match. He was cleared of the abuse as it could not be completely proven. However, the Football Association only needed to prove that abuse was likely to have occurred, giving John Terry a 4-match ban.

1. Joey Barton

Among football fans, there is no greater hatred than that reserved for Joey Barton. He is the biggest thug of them all and acts like a criminal on the pitch. He has received numerous red cards, has committed atrocious fouls, and continues to do so despite the attention his thuggery has received. What makes Barton such a hated figure is the way he loses his temper and strikes out at other players. One of the clearest examples came at the end of the 2011-12 Premier League season, as can be seen in the video.

Hatred of Manchester United?

While this list is heavy with Manchester United players (past and present), a notable exclusion is Wayne Rooney. He is still regarded as a hero by many fans for being England's best player. Despite cheating on his wife with prostitutes, he is probably hated less than the 10 players on this list due to his perceived lack of intelligence and the fact that his wife forgave him. While I don't endorse hatred of Manchester United, their players don't do the club any favours.

The Darker Side of the Beautiful Game

This list of the most hated football players was compiled from the opinions of numerous football fans on many internet forums. The darker side of the beautiful game deserves as much attention as the goals, skills, and celebrations that make us smile. There is little hope of stopping fan violence and racism with these players providing such a hateful example.

Which Is the Worst?

In your opinion, what cheap shots are most worthy of your hatred?

See results

Which Is the Most Hated Football Team?

See results

© 2012 Thomas Swan


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    • profile image

      The black panther 

      4 months ago

      Where is tevez

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      Neymar does a lot of diving therefore he should be on the list

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      wheres mario balotelli

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      This list is such a joke.

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      This is very biased. Neymar does a lot of drama. Just watch all Brazil matches in the 2018 world cup

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      Pepe and Marcelo???

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      What of ibramovic

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      How is Pepe not on the list

    • profile image

      Diego Maradona 

      2 years ago

      He handballed against England Cheater

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Why does this list miss out on Diego Costa

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I don't see how being a tough tackler can make you a bad person, all you Giggs haters, did you know that he never got a red? As has Carrick, with his testimonial today.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      we all know costa should be first on the list

    • NoelSphinx profile image


      4 years ago from Sweden

      Pepe of Real Madrid

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Diego Costa and his arrogant attitude should be on the list

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      because they hold on to the ball the opponent will leave them playing until they loose they ball as soon as the opponent begin to possess the ball they started playing foul

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      No Mario on the list!!! I'm truly shocked!!!!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      ronaldo is a diver

      no wonder why people call him penaldo

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Glad you agree worldsoccer! Thanks for commenting.

    • worldsoccer profile image

      Kamrul Hasan 

      5 years ago from Dhaka

      Two Sergio (Ramos & Busquets) definitely deserve this list. Ramos for his brutal fouls and Busquets for his acting ability.

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the nice comments Sumo, louisprejean, and freebettingtips.

      I'm thinking about who I might add. Robben, Zlatan, Neymar, Rooney, Costa, and Balotelli are all candidates. Lots of possibilities.

    • freebettingtips profile image

      George Compton 

      5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Great List. Loved it!

    • louisprejean profile image

      Louis Prejean 

      5 years ago from Lafayette, Louisiana

      Cool article! Would appreciate if you checked out some of my sports articles!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nicely done bro. Make the list a bit bigger and accommodate Rooney and Diego Costa. ;)

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks dondarko. Robben is a good choice. The World Cup further established his reputation as a diver and the headlines since then haven't been good either. If I take someone out, Robben will probably be the one to go in.

    • dondarko profile image

      Darko Atanasov 

      6 years ago from Skopje

      This list is quite good, I would only add Robben in the list. Some of his last falls were pretty amateur and irritating.

      But the Champions League and national leagues in Europe already started, so let's see what they would bring to us :)

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      I've updated the list slightly. It now includes Sergio Ramos. I've removed Ryan Giggs who recently retired. Giggs has also salvaged his reputation somewhat since I first wrote this.

      I'm considering Neymar and Balotelli, but don't know who to take out. Also, Balotelli is still considered a sort of `loveable clown' in England, so I'm not sure he's hated as much as the others.

      The World Cup might prove educational though!

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for commenting Brendon. It's good you recognize that. I like your idea, though updating this hub is first on my list.

    • brendonthomas profile image

      Brendon Thomas 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I am a Chelsea FC supporter but would always acknowledge the fact that Terry and Cole did some serious damage to the growing Chelsea brand.

      This is just a thought. We all know that Mourinho is a coach you would love to hate. How about a "Top 10 Most Hated Coaches" hub?

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the comments guys. Balotelli, Ramos, and Neymar are all really good choices. Perhaps I will update this soon.

    • FutbalTube profile image


      6 years ago

      It would be nice if you can update this list often or might as well create a new one every year.

      You may like to add Neymar on top of that list!

    • john942008 profile image


      6 years ago from India

      What about Mario Balotelli.He's the player I hate the most. out this video

    • ronakbhatia profile image


      6 years ago from Mumbai, India

      I'm a Man United fan, but I still hate Ashely Young for diving. Other than him, I hate Saurez. He is easily one of the best footballers, but I would have been his fan if he was a better human being.

      Sergio Ramos is the only name I feel is missing from this list, all the others are spot on!

    • pmarinov profile image

      Blogger at Best 

      7 years ago from Detroit MI

      I would include Ibrahimovic, don't get me wrong I like him a lot, but he is a pretty hated player and considered racist. I like the article great job!

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Good point Gauldur. His red card rate is pretty abysmal too. I think Neymar may deserve a place soon as well. After his Confed Cup appearances, he seems like a prolific diver.

    • Gauldur profile image


      7 years ago

      Great list, I would agree with most of them. I might add Sergio Ramos though, the guy is always complaining and always fouling the opposition. I can't contest the fact that he is one of the best defenders in the world, but I can affirm that he always plays dirty. Never mind all the times he drops his trophies as if they don't actually mean anything...

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Yea Ronaldo was the hardest to place. He was probably hated more while at United. I think he grew up a bit after that... but not by much. Thanks for commenting.

    • pmarinov profile image

      Blogger at Best 

      7 years ago from Detroit MI

      Pretty good list of hated players lol. I do think that in recent times Ronaldo has gone up in this list as the most hated players in the world. He has won his reputation by always whining and crying about stupid things. Don't get me wrong I really like Ronaldo, but I think he is in the top three hated players. Great post :)

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      United is probably the most hated team in the world. Certainly in England they are. That's because they're also the best team in the country. Comes with the territory. You should be asking why Rooney isn't in there.

    • adcasey profile image

      Adam Casey 

      7 years ago from MANCHESTER

      Clearly not a big fan of Man Utdyourself! Name the whole squad why don't you! lol

      You missing a few that should replace Evra and Giggs.

      Mainly Balotelli, Tevez, El-Hadji Diouf

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Bergkamp and Vieira are retired, so they can't be in the list. As an Arsenal fan I despise RVP and Nasri, I just don't think they're hated enough by everyone else. As for Fabregas, I've heard loads more praise than criticism about him, so he can't be hated that much. I didn't put Spurs or Man City players in there because this is an objective look at who is hated the most, not my personal blacklist.

      You want to know what my most recent article was? Top 10 best football managers in the world. You want to know who was number 1? Ferguson. I guess that kills your comment dead. Thanks for taking the time to read my "pure venom" though.....

    • maharg1956 profile image


      7 years ago from UK

      Then, of course, we have Van Persie, Fabregas, Viera, Nasri, Bergkamp, to name but a very few, all current or very recently past players, who would easily make many people's top 10 disliked players. I am sure there are just as many Arsenal or ex Arsenal players who could make the list.

      I am not really sure that your list accurately reflects popular opinion. There are several unpleasant players from clubs not hated by Arsenal fans who are missing. It seems to me that it is a list of the pure venom which filters through in your writing, as an Arsenal supporter and, with the exception of Barton, the list comprises the teams you probably have most reason to dislike; Barcelona, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool (Ronaldo having been a Man Utd player for so long). I am surprised you didn't include Gareth Bale and several other Spurs players in the list too.

      Given that Man City are also a thorn in Arsenal's side, I am very surprised you didn't include Balotelli in there, even though he is now in Milan.

      Perhaps a list of the top ten most hated managers next? I am sure it would begin with: Ferguson, Mancini, Redknap, Villas Boas, Guardiola, Mourhino, Benitez, Allardyce . . . . . . . .

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      I don't watch football but I'm curious as to why they're roundly hated. It turns out to be a very interesting piece. Good job. :)

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Yea, I didn't want this to turn into a United-hating article, but they bring it on themselves. Giggs, Ashley Young, and Evra are in this list, as is ex-United player Ronaldo. Then there's Rooney, and even Beckham comes in for a lot. Before them there was Cantona. Rio Ferdinand's drug test. Ex-player Tevez could be on the list. No doubt the list could be longer, and will get longer. Could even write a hub about the top 10 most despised United players.

    • geminimishy profile image

      M. Yepez 

      7 years ago from Norfolk, VA

      This was absolutely fantastic. And I am going to sound snippy here but it's Man U's own fault for getting so many of their players on lists like this. They always seem to mistake the box for a swimming pool, don't they? Happens too often with too many of their players to convince me it is, at the very least, not frowned upon by their trainers.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Luis Suarez is know where near deserving of his reputation,its because he`s so good that people get annoyed with him,because he makes them look like fools all the time because he`s totally unpredictable,the worst thing he did was bite someone and oh no the victim was smiling about it.Its not like he "Cantona" esc kungfu`d someone in the head and when he came back from suspension its made out to be a "return of the king" type celebration because of the MUTD bias in the press,but when it comes to Saurez he`s a hot ticket for the slaughter.The only way they can respond is by slandering him,not that it affects him on the field.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Luis Adriano take the 1st place

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the comments RM, JV, PN, DC. Looks like I missed them when I was away!

      RM, legends will certainly be hated when it's not earned. I suppose the love for these great players cancels it out mostly.

      JV, I do think Terry is loathsome, but then again, the media jumps on everything he does because they know it will become a big story. If it was another player doing the same thing, it would get less publicity.

      PN, I'm glad you loved it! Unfortunately, it's the world we live in. Although, a lot of people get enjoyment out of football, so maybe their respect is earned, or at least something to expect. Rooney is certainly a simpleton, but I think that generates a certain amount of pity too. He does need a handler though!

      DC, Ah yes Giggsy does seem to get around. There is so much respect for him, and the media is so dominated by United fans, that his misdemeanors get less publicity in the long run. Nani is certainly a diver, but not quite in Ashley Young's class; at least not in the penalty area. Not sure why you picked RVP, other than him leaving Arsenal in the way he did; although Nasri and Cole were surely worse for that.

    • Donnacha C profile image

      Donnacha C 

      8 years ago from Ennis, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland

      Good, comprehensive list, well done. Must add that not only did Ryan Giggs cheat on his wife and kids with a reality start but also had a 7 or 8 year affair with his brother's wife! yet he is still hailed as a legend and icon, which is beyond me... Me personally, I would have added Nani, Van Persie and one of the Silva "sisters" too, all pitiful cheats!

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 

      8 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      Ha ha ha! I loved this! I loathe the fact that ignorant thugs are hailed as hero's because they are rather deft on their feet and good at kicking a ball around. The amount of money they earn is obscene. I particularly loved the Wayne Rooney addition at the end. He lives near me in Cheshire, bought a beautiful house, ripped it down and turned it into an ostentatious monstrosity. If they had brains, they'd be dangerous!

    • James Vernon profile image

      James Vernon 

      8 years ago from UK

      Good stuff Thomas. Voted up and shared. There are a lot of these types of players who i can see putting me off football. Overpaid,overhyped and only setting the worst example. Probably Terry stands our as all theat is bad about the sport

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @Thomas, good point

      When I said hasn't earned it I meant, legends always get hatred because their great, Busquets and Barton are fools who can do no better:)

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the comments Richard (and Charmike, full response above). Violence and bias won't be stopped, but if the players learn to control themselves, it should have a magnified effect on the number of fans who do it. For every player that kicks someone, a hundred fans may be influenced to imitate the action at some future point.

      Barton and Busquets have definitely earned the hatred directed at them. I suppose it was a factor though. Ronaldo may be more hated, but hasn't earned it quite as much. I think hatred for him has waned somewhat, so I still think the list is accurate enough.

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      I know what you mean about Bellamy. I used to hate him for his fouling, diving and whining. Sometimes he would really lose his temper too. However, I think he has matured quite a bit in the last few years. A good example was for Team GB in London 2012; he was hacked down and should have got a certain penalty, and though he was raging at the ref and linesman, he seemed to control himself and acknowledge the decision, raising his hand in a friendly gesture.

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the comment Der Meister. I know what you mean, I would be very tempted to kick Busquets for real. The guy has no scruples.

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the nice comments and shares internpete and mmsu.

      As for Iniesta, he still commands a huge amount of respect from people. I haven't noticed him diving too much, but maybe his skills and temperant make it more forgiveable, or possibly he is very good at making it look like a foul. Most of the Barca players do go down quite easily though, so it could be that there are far worse divers in the team that take the attention away. As well as Alves and Busquets there is Pedro, and then there is Mascherano who hounds the ref for every dive. I would say them two are hated almost as much.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      outside of Busquets and Barton , all of these players are legends. So, hated, well. Lebron James is hated too.

      I think you should do a hated and hasn't earned it list:) 10. Busquets 9. Joey Barton

      to your last comments,

      violence and bias can't be stopped.

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 

      8 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      You got this list right Thomas. All deserve to be on the list. I think opposition players don't like Craig Bellamy...he could be your #11! I saw him play at Newcastle a few years back and when he started back chatting the ref the crowd all went Shhhhhh! to him, made him think! Cheers Michael

    • Der Meister profile image

      Der Meister 

      8 years ago from Virgo Supercluster

      It's seeing players like Busquets that make me wish someone would give divers a real injury to roll around about.

    • mmsu profile image


      8 years ago from Pakistan

      good hub,definitely this list will have varied opinion from others.voted up and shared!!

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 

      8 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      Ha, nice list. I have not heard/seen some of these people in action, but you have a great section for each that describes why they are on this list, so I must agree with you!

      If I were going to add anyone, it would be Iniesta for his blatant diving, mot notably in the 2010 World Cup Final against Holland. He took an obvious dive, that caused the dutch player to get a yellow. Lost all respect for him in an instant.

      Great hub, voted up and shared!


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