Football is all about passion. You get players who are happy to be living their dream every time they are on the pitch and fans who would do just about anything to be able to watch their team live in action. Some lucky players get to play for their favorite teams, thus the games have more resonance to them. However, it doesn’t really matter where one comes from or who they play for, the fact is that players have to give their all for the team. The problem with passion is that it’s solely hinged on emotion, which causes people to act in a way they normally wouldn’t. This leads to a lot of regret in retrospect. The competitive nature of sport puts players under a lot of pressure and most of them are usually on a short fuse during matches. A slight provocation could start a fracas among rivals. Some teams have such intense rivalry that there’s always an undercurrent of animosity everytime they meet. However, it’s not always the rivals who clash and you’ll occasionally find teammates having a go at it.
No one is safe, for if you mess up, it’s not only the fans who’ll be mad but your teammates too. Some of these feuds are usually petty and could take place anywhere, including off the pitch. They are commonly referred to as ‘handbags’ and are not to be taken seriously. The ones that do take place on the pitch are bound to be distressing to the team’s fans but highly entertaining to opposing ones. This is because some players single-handedly sabotage their team’s prospects when they gang up against each other. It’s not always a laughing matter though, because some players take things a little too far and have even gotten themselves in trouble with the law. Having said that, it can’t be denied that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the show. Here are the teammates who decided to forego the opposition and duke it out among themselves.
15 Emmanuel Adebayor vs. Nicklas Bendtner - Arsenal
What do you do when you’re trailing 4-1 in a League Cup semi-final that also happens to be a derby? Fight of course. In 2008, Adebayor headbutted Bendtner while playing away to Tottenham after the latter allegedly showed him the finger. However, the main reason for their feud was Bendtner’s refusal to take off his shoes in the Arsenal dressing room, which was a requirement for everyone.
14 Arjen Robben vs Franck Ribery - Bayern Munich
13 Jens Lehmann vs. Marcio Amoroso - Borussia Dortmund
12 Jamie Carragher vs. Alvaro Arbeloa - Liverpool
11 Ricardo Fuller vs. Andy Griffin - Stoke City
10 Steve McManaman vs. Bruce Grobbelaar - Liverpool
9 Graeme Le Saux vs. David Batty - Blackburn
8 Craig Bellamy vs. John Arne Riise - Liverpool
7 Joey Barton vs. Ousmane Dabo - Manchester City
The name Joey Barton is synonymous with thuggery. His temperamental nature has gotten him a couple of convictions mainly for assault. In 2007, Barton punched Dabo several times after they argued during a training session. Dabo had to be hospitalized after sustaining a detached retina and proceeded to press charges against Barton. Barton received a four-month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay compensation.
6 Eyal Berkovic vs. John Hartson - West Ham
In 1998, Hartson gained the distinction of being the first player to be charged with misconduct for a training ground incident after his antics were caught on camera. During the training session, a strong tackle from Hartson left Berkovic on the ground. When Hartson attempted to help him to his feet, Berkovic punched him in the leg. Hartson swiftly responded with a powerful kick to the head knocking him back down while leaving him unable to eat for two days.
5 Freddie Ljungberg vs. Olof Mellberg - Sweden
4 Oguchi Onyewu vs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - AC Milan
3 Kevin Mirallas vs. Leighton Baines - Everton
2 Fernando Ricksen vs. Vladislav Radimov - Zenit St Petersburg
1 Craig Levein vs. Graeme Hogg - Hearts
Tensions ran high during a pre-season friendly against Raith Rovers in August 1994. Raith were leading 1-0 and almost scored an equalizer just before half-time. The two centre-backs argued over who should have been marking the Raith player who also happened to have scored the first goal. Fists flew and Levein landed a clean punch that broke Hogg’s nose.
They were both dismissed with Hogg shown his red card while being stretchered off. Hogg got a 10-game ban while Levein was suspended for 12 and stripped of his captaincy. If this was just a friendly, you can’t help but wonder what would have happened in an actual league match.
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