Let’s face it, whilst footballers are among the most loved, adored and even worshipped people on the planet, it’s no surprise that lots of other people – normal people shall we say – might love the game but they sure as hell don’t love the players.
I mean, what’s not to hate about people who earn more in a week playing a game than nurses earn in a decade? Throw in the fact they’re often arrogant, obnoxious, playboys and you have a heady mix. Here our five players who’ll be on show in Brazil who we’d quite like to see sent to the front line. Naked. With their hands tied behind their backs and a big target attached to their foreheads.
Pictured here in a rare moment where he was standing up, Arjen Robben is one of the world’s chief divers. Fine player though he is, his love of throwing himself to the ground – what some would call, blatantly cheating – earns him his place on this list. Gains bonus marks for being petulant, moody and having a face you just want to kick.
Okay, perhaps I might just be a tiny bit jealous of the physique. But even so, the preening, poncey, Portuguese superstar is still mighty annoying. Greasy hair, eyebrows better suited to a girl in Essex and a petulant, sulky attitude make Ronaldo one of the world’s most hated players, despite skills that also make him – paradoxically – one of the most loved and respected. Also partial to a dive, Ronaldo got then-teammate Wayne Rooney sent off at the 2006 World Cup and even celebrated with a cheeky wink. What a winker.
Uruguayan legend Suarez may, just may, have turned the corner somewhat but with previous that includes two incidents of biting, continued racist abuse, endless dives, numerous snide tackles, elbows and kicks and a wild celebration when sent off after an opponent missed a penalty granted for the handball he committed at the last World Cup, we’re in no mood to forgive and forget. Suarez had a knee injury recently and may miss the England game. We hope it gets infected, Luis!
Some people like Balotelli’s antics and think he’s a lovable rogue. Why always you, Mario? Because you’re an overpaid, overrated prima donna with the attitude of a 14-year-old boy with violent tendencies. And shit hair. Really shit hair.
Pepe is an aggressive footballer. He’s the sort of footballer we’d love to leave in a locked room with Arjen Robben and a baseball bat (or two). Being a bad loser and a highly combative defender can be worthy qualities but in Pepe they just make him a liability and kicking, stamping and punching opponents are all regular features of his repertoire. Don’t be surprised to see him sent off in Brazil – let’s just hope it’s for breaking one of the four above player’s leg. Or face perhaps.