In football, and sports in general, crazy can be good. If you are a player that has a little bit of crazy in you, it can give you the edge over the competition as they will always be on their toes and unsure on what you will do next. A crazy player is more likely to stick their head in dangerous areas to win the ball, put in tackles that others would shy away from and of course try audacious efforts that are so crazy, that they might just actually work. A slightly wild player will also be able to fire up the dressing room, pump up the crowd and get into their opponents head. This is one side of the coin.
On the other side, crazy can be bad. Crazy players are volatile and will often get themselves into trouble. This could be lunging into a challenge that should have been left, lashing out at an opponent, saying something not too kind to the referee or making an inappropriate comment in the press. Crazy players can be a manager's nightmare as they are unpredictable and more likely to question authority, plus their eccentricities will often extend off the field of play too. These players will often face suspensions and fines, as well as ostracise themselves from a club and fall out of favour with management.
For fans, crazy is entertaining. The unpredictable nature of these characters means that often you will be watching them even if they are not part of the action. If they play for your team, these crazy players have the ability to thrill, as well as cause despair and frustration. The sport is much improved with these characters in the game, and they can turn the dullest of matches into a game full of drama and spice in the blink of an eye. As this list will demonstrate however, sometimes these players are violent and their actions cannot be condoned.
Here are the 15 craziest players of all-time.
15 Rene Higuita
Nicknamed El Loco, or “The Madman”, Rene Higuita was an obvious choice for this list. The Columbian keeper is perhaps the most unreliable and unpredictable goalkeeper of all time, which of course only endeared him more to the crowd. Usually teams will want a disciplined, level headed player between the posts, but this was not his style. He loved nothing more than to evacuate his goal and take attackers on with his dribbling skills, meaning that the team was often playing with 11 outfield players.
14 Stuart Pearce
13 Jens Lehmann
Your goalkeeper should always instil confidence in the back four and be a calming presence, which certainly was not Jens Lehmann. Despite his craziness, Lehmann enjoyed a successful career and was a part of the famous Arsenal “Invincibles” side, so he must have been doing something right. He did have a habit of making calamitous mistakes however, meaning that you never knew what you were going to get with the German. A few of “Crazy Jens’” best moments include his wild challenge which resulted in a red card during the 2006 CL final, pushing players over, diving and then immediately getting up once realising he isn’t getting a free kick and the craziest Lehmann moment was during a CL tie.
12 Ron “Chopper” Harris
For a man with the nickname “Chopper”, Ron Harris was unsurprisingly one crazy character on the football pitch. He is considered to be one of the toughest defenders to ever play the game and has made more appearances for Chelsea than anyone else (795). His craziness on the pitch struck fear into opponents, as he would always put in a heavy challenge when others would shy away and this consequently saw him injure a player or two.
11 Paolo Di Canio
Paulo Di Canio recently showed that he still has some crazy in him during his stint as Sunderland manager, and this brought back many fond memories of the eccentric Italian’s playing days. A player of unquestionable and mesmerizing talent, this was often overshadowed by his fiery temperament and moments of madness on the pitch.
10 Antonio Cassano
9 Kevin Muscat
8 Paul Gascoigne
7 Roy Keane
6 Eric Cantona
4 Diego Maradona
3 Vinnie Jones
2 Mario Balotelli
1 Joey Barton
Similarly to Balotelli, Joey Barton has a knack for making the headlines for some pretty crazy behavior. Barton also has a nasty violent streak in him that makes him crazier than most, and this disgraceful acts such as assaulting a man and a teenager, assaulting a teammate that resulted in a detached retina, attempting to beat up three Man City players and putting a cigarette out on a youth player. His ramblings on Twitter or something to behold as he sees himself as some kind of philosopher, but as entertaining as he can be, it is important to remember that Barton has acted despicably in the past and he has a lot of bad crazy in him.
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