Football is generally a man’s game and when men compete, you must expect few bitter exchanges and sometimes blows. In some instances, players become bitter rivals with irreparable damages. Today, we take a closer look at some of these altercations and what exactly caused them. Hate and rivalry may not be acceptable in football but it still happens in one way or another. See seven of the best in history below;
7. Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra
Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is a man who has never fully been free from controversy. In 2014 he was banned for 4 months and fined by FIFA for biting Italian defender on the shoulder during their World Cup group stage clash in Brazil.
In 2011, during his days at Liverpool, he was fined and banned for eight matches for calling former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra ‘Negrito’ several times when the two teams met at Anfield. The Uruguayan later claimed that the name is used in his country all the time and that it means a friend. He was later charged with yet another biting incident involving former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael van der Vaart
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has always been a tough character on and off the pitch. One day he threatened to break Rafael Van der Vaart legs if he doesn’t shut up his mouth. The two were teammates at Ajax but when they faced each other in international level (Sweden vs Holland), Van der Vaart claimed the Big Swede had deliberately injured him. When they met again in Netherland, they had a quarrel that did not end well. They are still enemies as we speak according to close sources.
5. Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann
Nobody can argue that Oliver Khan and Jens Lehmann were among the best of their generation during their time in the German national team. They were both excellent at their job although we can all agree Khan was too serious and Lehmann had dramas.
Now, Oliver was always No.1 until few Months to 2006 World Cup when new boss Jurgen Klinsmann changed that arrangement to allow the two to compete. Things got worse when the former Arsenal man got the nod ahead of the Bayern Munich shot-stopper. Things got nasty between them. They mocked each other and they still do.
4. Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira
Manchester United and Arsenal legends Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira were serious enemies on and off the pitch during their days in English Premier League. They both played at the center of the pitch as ball winners and tacklers and they were both very good at their positions.
Those days, both teams had big lads and formidable competitive ability that sometimes boiled over. Keane is a natural troublemaker and a natural leader who will do anything to defend his teammate. In 2005, right in the tunnel before the match, Roy noticed a commotion at the back and rushed there only to find out that Gunners players were reportedly trying to bully Gary Neville. He exchanged blows with Vieira before teammates separated them. It was no business as usual when the two met on and off the pitch.
3. John Terry and Wayne Bridge
Former Chelsea Captain John Terry is a man who has struggled throughout his career to stay out of controversies. He has been a great servant to the Blues and England but his off-field issues continue to make his career a living hell.
All hell broke out when it emerged that Terry had slept with his closest friend Wayne Bridge ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel only a few weeks after their separation. He had even impregnated her but later paid for an abortion. Things got worse when the story leaked to the media. A few days later Chelsea and Manchester City met at Stamford Bridge and Wayne Bridge refused to shake Terry’s hand. They are still bitter enemies to date.
2. Teddy Sheringham & Andy Cole
Sir Alex Ferguson might have cared less when he heard that his two main strikers Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham did not talk to each other off the field. All that mattered to Fergie was goals and partnership to demolish opponents.
The two England forwards reportedly fell out when Sheringham snubbed Cole when he replaced him during an International duty. Andy thought Teddy had disrespected him and he needed an apology, It never came and for the next four years, they never exchanged a word.
1. Diego Maradona and Pele
Many football fans still regard Pele and Maradonna as the very best footballers of all time. They were both exceptional and if you have watched their videos, what they achieved on the pitch is simply mind-boggling.
The two representing Brazil and Argentina have been engaged in a war of words many times especially regarding who was the best of all time between them, in the same manner, Messi and Ronaldo are rivals.
When Maradona was banned for using drugs, Pele commented about it and the Argentine was not happy, in return he shocked many fans when he said the Brazilian lost his virginity to a man.