In order for any athlete to have made it to the professional level, they will have to be full of self confidence. On their journey they will have encountered dozens of people who put them down and tell them they're not good enough, and this could even be those closest to them. Here many people would fail, but the best athletes will know that they have the ability and work ethic to reach the top. This means that sports such as football are packed with self assured, confident individuals, and there is nothing wrong with this.
It also means that there are many players whose self belief seeps over into arrogance. The key difference being that an arrogant player will think that they are better than everyone else and therefore they are entitled to act and play how they wish. This will mean they often try to do too much themselves, they are unlikely to pass, they may ignore what the manager has to say, talk down to those around them and be rude to the media (and sometimes even fans). As this list will demonstrate, often these arrogant players are in fact the best players on the pitch, but their actions and attitude will often cost them and in many cases hold them back.
Being self assured and confident is encouraged and important in sports. This will often lead to arrogance, and these arrogant players are often impressive but not particularly likeable. They typically often clash with management and their teammates as they feel they are better than the team, and their interviews and media appearances are usually something to behold.
Here are the top 15 most arrogant football players in world football.
15 Wojciech Szczesny
Out of favour Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczsny exudes arrogance, but now he finds himself on the bench he may have to re-evaluate his attitude. His self assuredness between the posts does not always work out as he anticipates, much to the frustration of Arsenal fans and his teammates. His arrogance extends to social media, where he will often air his views and come across as someone a little too confident. He was benched after two poor decisions led to two goals against Southampton, and he was then bizarrely caught smoking in the showers. This shows immaturity and a lack of respect, but perhaps the young Pole has learnt his lesson and will return humbled by losing his spot.
14 Dani Osvaldo
Each club that Dani Osvaldo turns up at he seems to become ostracized shortly after, and this is down to his arrogance. He has a history of clashing with teammates and management, and this is because he thinks he is larger and better than the team. He was fined and suspended after punching teammate Erik Lamela whilst at Roma after not receiving a pass, he shouted at caretaker manager Andreazzoli after he was only given 15 minutes of playing time, and Osvaldo then consequently refused to attend the awards ceremony in protest. He picked up a suspension for a touchline fight for Southampton, and then just three weeks later he left teammate Jose Fonte with a suspected broken nose after a training ground spat.
He has since gone on loan to Juventus, Inter Milan where he has been suspended for not showing up for training and has fallen out with Icardi and he now finds himself at Boca Juniors.
13 Nicklas Bendtner
For a player that has not achieved a huge amount in his career, Nicklas Bendtner’s level of arrogance is remarkable. In addition to his silly haircut and ridiculous boots, Bendtner has also claimed that he “will be better than Zlatan” and that he is “one of the best”. He has displayed plenty of immaturity and arrogance off the pitch, and this has ultimately led his reputation to plummet as he was once a top prospect at Arsenal. He famously clashed with teammate Adebayor during a game, with the Togolese striker claiming that Bendtner showed no respect to the club or his teammate and this was evident through Bendtner showing the middle finger to his strike partner.
12 Joey Barton
So full of self belief is Joey Barton, that he feels the need to chime in on all kinds of matters, from football to music to politics all the way through to philosophy. Whilst this can be amusing, it should not be forgotten that Barton has also acted despicably over the years. He has clashed with managers, teammates, opposing players, fans and even those on the street, and some of this is down to arrogance but a lot of it stems from anger management. He has criticised the England team and has just one cap to his name, but he believes if he was Northern Irish, Welsh or Scottish he would have “100 caps” and he also claimed “I think I’m the best” when talking about midfielders in England. For a player that has not achieved a tremendous amount and bounced from struggling club to struggling club, Barton is particularly arrogant.
11 Didier Drogba
You do not have to watch Drogba for too long before realising how arrogant he is. He may be impressive and have scored some key goals in his career, but outside of Chelsea he is not a very popular player due to his arrogance (as well as a penchant for diving despite his strength). He has criticised his manager, complained and thrown tantrums about minor things, hinted at leaving clubs and has a particularly noticeable smug aura when on the pitch. This is also reflected in his irritating goal celebrations, and like many players on this list it is frustrating to see such a talented player act in such a way.
10 Carlos Tevez
Tevez’s arrogance seems to have subsided in recent years, which is good to see as there is no denying his phenomenal talent. Earlier in his career he threw a tantrum at being substituted and left the ground before the game had finished, hinted at moving away from United before the season had concluded and then gone on to join fierce rivals City, which is where his most famous moment of arrogance came. In a game against Bayern Munich in 2011, Mancini called upon Tevez to come on as a substitute but the Argentine reportedly refused; this sparked a frenzy and Mancini claimed Tevez was finished at City. When he was ordered to return to training, Tevez did not show up and was instead in Argentina. These incidents show that Tevez thought that he knew best and showed a lack of respect for the man in charge.
9 Samir Nasri
One look at Nasri and you can sense his arrogance, and this is because he has a certain smugness which rarely disappears. The City midfielder has even admitted himself that he can be “an arrogant little jerk”, and he has developed this reputation for throwing tantrums, speaking out against management and showing a bad attitude. Nicknamed “The Terrible Child”, Nasri’s most blatant display of arrogance came in Euro 2012 when he swore and clashed with reporters. His attitude that he can say what he wants ultimately cost him a place at last summer’s World Cup, and Nasri has now claimed he has retired from international football. He is disruptive, disrespectful and smug, and this has unfortunately held back his career for club and country.
8 Adel Taarabt
Adel Taarabt has clashed with just about every manager that he has played for, and he frequently has spoken out about how he should be playing for the biggest clubs in the world despite the fact that he has only shown glimmers of elite talent. He certainly has shown potential, but he has also been labelled lazy and his clashes with management show disrespect and arrogance. This is most evident with his clash with Harry Redknapp after Taarabt showed up to training overweight, causing Redknapp to bench him. Taarabt then fired back that Redknapp was using him as a scapegoat for QPR’s poor run of form.
7 Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole lost the respect of many when he turned his back on the team he had been at as a boy (Arsenal) after a discrepancy about wages. Cole stated when he learnt he was being offered £55,000 a week instead of £60,000 “I almost crashed my car (in disgust)”, and he then joined rivals Chelsea. His mercenary approach, self entitlement and arrogance earned him the nickname “Cashley”, but this is not the only story of his arrogance. Cashley has also cheated on his wife Cheryl Cole, further tarnishing his reputation and showing his sense of self entitlement. Steve Nicol also labelled Cole arrogant last summer after Cole made comments about the MLS being an “easy ride”.
6 Arjen Robben
Another player that polarises, Robben is one of the more decorated players and has proven his credentials time and time again. He is also extremely arrogant, and his tendency to dive does him no favours. This is apparent in his style of play where he is often selfish, his goal celebrations and comments made in the media. He has stated that he would “pick myself” if he was the coach and he has also told Holland coach Bert van Marwijk to “shut up” during a game in Euro 2012. He is the type of player you would dislike to play with, hate to play against and cause nightmares as a coach. Despite this, his abilities are unquestionable.
5 Antonio Cassano
Another player that has shown incredible talent over the years but been held back by their attitude, Cassano has caused a lot of controversy. He has clashed with a number of top coaches; always a tell tale sign that a player believes in themselves perhaps a little too much. This includes disrespecting Luciano Spalletti when Cassano stated “you’re not coaching those useless players you had at Udinese. This isn’t your house, it’s my house”. He has also shown disregard for authority by flashing the “sign of the horns” at the referee after being dismissed.
Upon arrival at Real Madrid, Cassano gained a lot of weight and led a lavish lifestyle that hampered his play. As fantastic a footballer as he is, Cassano’s arrogance and disrespect for authority has overshadowed his abilities (which is saying something).
4 Francesco Totti
Whilst Italy and Roma legend Francesco Totti has been mesmerising to watch over the years, he has also displayed plenty of arrogance and moments of madness on and off the pitch. His style of play could be described as arrogant as he will often look to embarrass opponents through lobs, back heels and fancy footwork. His goal celebrations are also notorious and come across as arrogant, but there are also incidents such as spitting at opponents which cannot be condoned and have lost Totti a lot of respect.
He has remarkable ability but his arrogance and temperament make him a polarising player. He is much like Balotelli in a lot of respects, but the key difference being that Totti has consistently shown brilliance on the pitch which is why so many love him (particularly Roma fans).
3 Mario Balotelli
Balotelli is perhaps the most infuriating player on this list, and the reason for this is that his arrogance is holding him back from becoming a great player. Countless managers have attempted to tame Balotelli and help him see how he can be great, but this never seems to work and he will resort to wild off pitch antics and arrogant play on the pitch. Jose Mourinho claimed he was “unmanageable” and he famously had a training ground spat with Roberto Mancini, and now he is out in the cold at Liverpool you wonder how many chances he has left.
Occasional moments of brilliance are interspersed with immature arrogance both off and on the pitch, including lazy and selfish play, ignoring instructions, ridiculous quotes, flaunting his wealth and an irritating swagger. Balotelli’s career has nosedived in recent years and this is all down to his arrogance.
2 Cristiano Ronaldo
No points for guessing this one, as Ronaldo is one of the most obvious cases of arrogance in football as he is such a high profile player and closely watched athlete. It is rare to read through the sports news without his name appearing somewhere, and with so much media attention it seems inevitable that the Real Madrid and Portugal superstar would have an ego. If you have ever watched Ronaldo take a free kick before then you can clearly see his arrogance, but he also has a cocky demeanour, throws tantrums and of course will take his shirt off at any given opportunity. His gelled hair, diamond earring and fact that he had his own museum opened certainly do not help his cause either.
Although his arrogance can be frustrating, there is no denying that Ronaldo is one of the all-time greats and breathtaking to watch.
1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
They say that speaking in third person is a sign of narcissism or exhibits delusions of grandeur, and this could well be the case for Zlatan. The PSG striker has become famous for his outlandish quotes and astonishing self belief, and his referral to himself in third person has seen the phrase “to Zlatan” become a verb, which means to dominate or do something with extreme skill. Zlatan has been quoted as saying things such as “Wenger asked me to have a trial at Arsenal when I was 17. I turned it down. Zlatan doesn’t do auditions”, “a World Cup without me isn’t worth watching” and when asked what he bought his wife for her birthday he replied “nothing. She already has Zlatan”.
Despite Ibrahimovic’s astounding arrogance, he is still a much loved personality because his arrogance is so extreme and his quotes are so entertaining.