Those involved in team sports understand the camaraderie and bond that develops between teammates. It doesn’t matter if it is at the professional level or the beer-league level, team chemistry is often just as important as a team’s overall talent. There is a long list of very gifted athletes who have let ego and a ‘me first’ attitude ruin a team. Randy Moss is a prime example of an athlete who oozed talent but was a cancer in the locker room. The same could be said about Terrell Owens and, more recently, Percy Harvin. All of these players were incredible athletes but they alienated themselves from their teammates and coaches which caused divisions in the locker room. They wore out their welcome on several different teams and, in some cases, actually set their teams back.
There are certain rules, both written and unwritten, that players must follow. Don’t throw your teammates under the bus. Be reliable, committed, and be respectful. But one of the golden rules in sports is that your teammate’s wives and girlfriends are strictly off-limits. No ifs, ands, or buts. Nothing will divide a team and ruin the clubhouse atmosphere like an affair with a teammate’s wife. Of course, professional sports have seen its fair share of this over the years and sadly it will most likely continue to occur. One sport that has seen plenty of these shenanigans is soccer. There are many examples of players that have broken the golden rule and they have usually been deservedly met with stiff consequences. Here are 11 soccer players who slept with a teammate’s wife.
11 Jean-François Larios
In 1973, at the tender age of 17, Jean-François Larios signed with Saint-Etienne.After hitting his stride and finding a spot on Saint-Etienne’s roster during the 1979 season, Larios was teamed up with Michel Platini and Johnny Rep to form the fearsome and talented core of the Saint-Etienne squad. Larios’ star was on the rise but it crashed and burned prior to the 1982 World Cup with allegations that he was canoodling with Platini’s wife. Tsk tsk.
This didn’t just affect Sainte-Etienne, it also affected the French national team that was expecting Platini and Larios to be an important part of. After Platini issued a “me or him” ultimatum, Larios was sent packing and played out his career as a soccer nomad.
10 Jose Altafini
Regarded as one of the most complete strikers and greatest players of his generation, Jose “Mazzola” Altafini played for both the Brazilian and Italian national teams during his remarkable 22-year career. Altafini also gained notoriety in the 1960s when he bedded the wife of Napoli teammate Paolo Barison. Not only did he do the dirty deed, Barison’s wife actually left him and moved in with Altafini. We know the 60s was a time of ‘peace and love’ but this crossed the line. The Italian media had a field day with the controversy and even 50 years after the fact, this story is still widely talked about and will likely never be forgotten.
9 Thibaut Courtois
What goes around comes around. Nobody knows this better than Belgian national team and Manchester City’s midfielder Kevin de Bruyne. It seems that Kevin got caught with his lady's best friend. So, what is a scorned wife to do? Well, Caroline Lijnen sought revenge in a very serious way. She allowed herself to be wined and dined by de Bruyne’s teammate, young stud goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. She then took it to the next level by sleeping with the young Belgian star.
It had the intended results. De Bruyne was ‘devastated’. Mission accomplished.
Courtois and de Bruyne have reportedly patched things up and continue to both play for the Belgian national team. There’s no word if the trio has been approached by Dr. Phil.
8 John Harkes
A couple of months before the start of the 1998 World Cup, US national team head coach Steve Sampson stunned the soccer world by dropping team captain John Harkes from the squad. There was a lot of secrecy surrounding the circumstances although some speculated that Harkes’ drunken buffoonery off the field and broken curfews were to blame. ‘Leadership issues’ was the vague official explanation. The real reason later surfaced and it was much worse. Harkes had been having an affair with US national teammate Eric Wynalda’s wife. The affair didn’t immediately spell the end of Wynalda’s marriage, but it was doomed. Wynalda and his wife called it quits in 2003.
7 Christian Keller
Jonas Borring recently announced that he would not be playing another game for Superliga’s Randers FC despite recently extending his contract with the team. He probably has good reason in light of the fact that his teammate and team captain Christian Keller was dating his wife. Now, the fact that Borring and his wife were separated might make this a little less scandalous, but there’s more to the story. Despite being separated, Borring and his estranged wife still live in the same house where they are raising their two children. Either way, Keller should have known better. Getting involved with the current or ex-spouse of a teammate is never a way of promoting solidarity in the locker room.
6 Mauro Icardi
This isn’t the first story of a good friendship falling apart over a woman and it won’t be the last. Mauro Icardi was a close friend and teammate of Maxi Lopez who was married to Wanda Nara. Yes, Wanda is hot, and yes, Wanda and Maxi’s marriage was on the rocks but that does not excuse Mauro from making his move while the married couple was on the outs. To top it off, Mauro quickly married Wanda and is constantly touting his love and admiration for his new wife on social media.
Lopez and Icardi now play for different teams and have played against each other. Lopez has refused to shake Icardi’s hand during the pre-game ritual. How can anyone blame him?
5 Tommy Docherty
Tommy Docherty was a colorful guy and a fixture in soccer for well over 40 years. He was with many clubs over his career as a player and a manager, but he will always be remembered for his managing stint with Manchester United between 1972 and 1977. It isn’t unusual for a coach to get sacked but the reason for Docherty’s well-publicized dismissal in 1977 was a little unique. He was having an affair with the team physiotherapist’s wife. On top of getting the boot from Manchester United, the indiscretion caused his marriage of nearly 30 years to dissolve.
Luckily for Tommy, this scandal did not end his career. He would continue to manage for another 10 years before retiring in 1988.
4 Jordan Ayew
Aston Villa striker Jordan Ayew was recently given a red card, fined, and suspended for three games for elbowing a West Ham player in the face. That might be exactly what he needed to shift the focus away from his four-year affair with Ghana national teammate Afriyie Acquah's wife. Acquah’s wife Amanda was recorded on tape talking candidly about the extramarital activities. The tape was somehow leaked onto YouTube and the media have had a field day.
Acquah could have had his suspicions all along. In the tape, Amanda states that Afriyie would get furious whenever he saw Ayew and Amanda ‘having a chat or hanging out’.
3 John Terry
Center back and Chelsea team captain John Terry is no stranger to controversy. His history of scandal is well documented. Racial abuse, assault, and illegal gambling are just the tip of the iceberg. Add to that list that he slept with his teammate’s wife and it is plain as day that John Terry isn't always a great guy.
Wayne Bridge, Terry’s friend and teammate, had apparently just ended his relationship with his wife Vanessa Perroncel when John Terry weaselled his way in. When the affair became public, a media circus ensued.
Bridge was furious and refused to shake Terry's had in the pre-game line the next time they faced. He also refused to play for England in 2010 due to the affair.
2 Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil and Christian Lell aren’t club level teammates, but they have both played for the German U21 national team. In 2014, Christian Lell, who was playing for Levante at the time, accused German national team and Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil of ‘muscling in’ on his woman. Lell apparently accessed his girlfriend’s cell phone and discovered the infidelity despite her attempts to erase the evidence.
Ozil and his girlfriend, Mandy Capistro, appear to have weathered the storm but Lell’s relationship with his allegedly cheating girlfriend, Melanie Rickinger, is definitely not going as well. Police arrested Lell in January 2014 following a complaint that was filed by his wife.
1 Paul Terry
Paul Terry is the brother of the previously mentioned home-wrecker John Terry. Like his brother, Paul is a first-rate dirtbag who slept with his teammate Dale Robert’s wife in early 2010. When the details emerged, Terry’s teammates were disgusted and rallied behind their grieving goalie by refusing to play if Paul Terry remained on the team. Terry was quickly released by the team, but the damage was done. Unfortunately, this affair has a tragic ending. The 24-year-old goalie fell into a depression and was unable to cope with what he saw as a personal embarrassment. Dale Roberts tragically hanged himself in 2010.