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Top 20 Most Hated Premier League Players

The Premier League has a long and illustrious history that stretches back nearly 25 years. Having seen its inaugural campaign begin with the 1992-93 season, its fabric has been added to time and again

The Premier League has a long and illustrious history that stretches back nearly 25 years. Having seen its inaugural campaign begin with the 1992-93 season, its fabric has been added to time and again with some wonderful memories - as well as some contentious characters.

Adding excitement, wonder and awe, some of the biggest names to ever grace its stage have really helped mould it into the spectacle it has become. Whether it has been through their on-field brashness, their locker-room disruptiveness or their dubious extra-curricular activities, they have soured public opinion about them.

For some, these personalities are part of what makes the league such a riveting event. Explosive, reactionary and controversial, these players have rarely steered clear of the limelight - and it has often been for negative reasons.

Of course, another reason some of these athletes have been so passionately disliked by so many stems from sheer club loyalty and blind opinion; inciting abhorrence with some of their behaviour, they have, for many, crossed the line too many times with their actions and words.

That's not to say they don't have their fans, but there is often a large volume of collective voices who simply cannot stand these players. Because while they entertain, delight and excite their own supporters, they equally irk and annoy so many others.

Often times, the anger channelled by certain spectators towards these performers can be irrational and borne out of plain intolerance, but there have been more than a few occasions where the dislike has taken root because of some grave miscarriage of justice, perpetuated by the footballers. It's a sticky situation for so many reasons, but one thing that is for sure is the fact that it adds drama, intrigue and delirium to the narrative of matchday.

So, have a read of our selection and make sure to have your say in the comments.

20 Marouane Fellaini

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Far more a figure who has been goaded and teased than he has been passionately hated, Marouane Fellaini has attracted taunting chants, scornful tweets and more than a few laughs during his playing career.

The Belgium international has shown some real promise under Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United, but he had to work hard to achieve some level of respect after a long string of underwhelming displays left him disliked by so many.

19 Raheem Sterling

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Certainly one of the most loathed players in the Premier League, his antics, perceived petulance and lack of club loyalty have cost him dearly. Some think his treatment has been harsh, while others have viewed his actions as a sign of strength. No matter, there remains a strong seething hoard of football-followers who intensely dislike the young starlet.

Having discarded the red of Liverpool for the money and objectives of Manchester City, he has been slapped with an unwanted label as a selfish money-man only out for himself. So far, however, he has been a real team player for Manuel Pellegrini's men and looks at home alongside Sergio Aguero and the rest.

18 Wayne Rooney

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Recently, Wayne Rooney has been the toast of the English national team. Having finally surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton's impressive goal-scoring record, the Manchester United star now has a whopping 50 international goals. That said, he continues to receive criticism, whether it's been from the media, the fans or certain opponents.

Sometimes, his indiscipline has gotten the better of him, with red cards sprinkled throughout his career, and although Everton fans have had their reasons to dislike him, Rooney's appearance during Duncan Ferguson's testimonial seems to have laid those feelings to rest. However, it's Liverpool fans who have hated him most of all, especially after he publicly expressed his hatred towards the club in his younger years.

17 Roy Keane

via irishmirror.ie

Over the top. Crazy. Rash. Just some of the words that have been used to describe "Keano" in the past. A footballer who was unafraid to get stuck in, there were times when he went too far in tackle or when he allowed his passion to colour his judgement - something he has admitted to in the past. In short, the ex-Manchester United captain made quite a few enemies in his Premier League playing days, not least Sir Alex Ferguson and a whole host of angry fans.

Indeed, most strongly of all were the Arsenal fans whose hatred matched that spewed by Keane whenever the two faced each other in the heat of battle. A real warrior who gave his all for the Red Devils, it was shame to see him leave the club on such a sour note.

16 Steven Gerrard

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

A figure of great respect at Anfield, "Stevie G" has cemented his place as a club legend. Despite never managing to win the Premier League he will be forever immortalised for this contributions to the Merseyside club, managing to forge an incredibly strong bond between himself and his adoring fans.

Equally, however, he has been exposed to the uglier side of the game, too, and when he slipped against Chelsea to all but relent their grasp on the Premier League trophy during the 2013-14 campaign, the hatred towards him was unleashed like never before. Memes, videos and hate-filled tweets plagued the internet as he became an undeserving laughing stock.

15 Cristiano Ronaldo

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

When the current FIFA Ballon d'or holder left Old Trafford for the Bernabeu to play for Real Madrid, it wasn't set in stone that he would flourish. However, he has since dispelled all doubt with a series of wonderful performances from one campaign to the next. A veritable goal machine, he takes no prisoners with defenders. Another aspect of his reputation that has not changed much has been how passionately he has been hated - though those reasons have changed.

During his time in England, he had so much natural talent, but diving, plaguing the referee with complaints and a bad boy attitude led so many neutrals to question whether he had what it took to be a true great. We can all thank our lucky stars he decided to put all of that behind him, because he's now a legend in his own right, for sure.

14 Ashley Cole

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

You don't make many friends by switching from one direct rival to another - it rarely works out well. Having to cope with so much abuse and vitriol, it's undoubtedly difficult to handle. Credit to Ashley Cole, though for toughing it out and getting to grips with it when he transferred from Arsenal to Chelsea in 2006.

So many looked at his move and thought: 'He's in it for the money!' Since then, the nickname that has stuck has, unimaginatively, been "Cashley". A footballer who valued money more than he did loyalty, he was painted as the epitome of the bad which can stem from the modern-day, money-grubbing football system. Ultimately, he proved his critics wrong - winning the Champions League and so much more.

13 Samir Nasri

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Yet another star who departed Arsenal to further his career, Nasri's fate is no different to any of the others who did the same. When he left the "Gooners" to join the Citizens, it was clear his sights were set on winning silverware and conquering Europe. Although he hasn't quite dominated across the continent, he has become a key member of the City team.

That success has merely fuelled the hatred spewed by his former employers, though, as he's been on the receiving end of more than his fair share of angst. Of course, a lot of it has had to do with Nasri's unflinching attitude. Unafraid to provoke them, his words have added fuel to the fire on so many occasions - once he even had a run-in with them outside the Emirates Stadium. If that's not brave, then what is?

12 Lee Cattermole

via ultimecalcionapoli it

It's little wonder Cattermole features on our list, having clattered and battered his way into the record books with some ferocious challenges. Indeed, it's little surprise his moniker has become "Clattermole". With as many as 80 yellow yards and seven red cards to his name, the current Sunderland player has certainly incited hatred on more than a few occasions.

Opposing players, you can imagine, feel a mixture of dread and resentment whenever they're on the receiving end of one of his infamous tackles, while so many managers continue to see his abhorrent actions as something that needs to be completely eradicated from the game.

11 Jonjo Shelvey

via theweek.co.uk

When you have to shut down your own Twitter account due to receiving so many vulgar and disrespectful tweets, you know something's gone wrong. That's exactly what Swansea City's star midfielder Shelvey had to do back in 2012 after his performances for Liverpool sparked a huge amount of horrible reactions.

He has even been subject to some comical, but still disrespectful chants from opposition fans, who continue to mock him for his likeness to Harry Potter character Lord Voldemort. It might not be the worst insult he's ever received, but it just goes to show how disliked he truly is by so many, especially considering how good a footballer he is.

10 Luis Suarez

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Currently a La Liga player with Barcelona, Suarez has seen his career go from strength to strength ever since he left Liverpool a few seasons ago. Now, he forms one-third of the greatest attacking trident in European football alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. However, there was once a time when he was one of the most despised players in the English top flight.

Getting embroiled in a despicable racism spat with Patrice Evra, the Uruguayan international was banned for eight league matches. Although he contested the ins and outs of the whole situation, there remained an intense feeling of negativity towards Suarez in the aftermath, to say the least. That wasn't all either. Infamously, he also bit Branislav Ivanovic, another ludicrous action that saw him receive a torrent of abuse from so many quarters.

9 Didier Drogba

via performgroup.com

He complained, he moaned, he was a pest for the referees. He did a lot wrong throughout his career in England. Perhaps worse than all of this was his penchant for flinging himself to the floor in search of free kicks, penalties and in an effort to see his opponents booked or - worse still - dismissed from the field of play.

His diving was a real point of contention and it turned quite a lot of people against him for so long. His slap on Nemanja Vidic (though occurring in the Champions League) angered more than just Manchester United fans, something that followed him for months. In his later years, he redeemed himself to a certain extent by playing with a higher degree of professionalism, but it's hard not to think about the Ivorian international without reflecting on his roguish streak.

8 Diego Costa

via theguardian.co.uk

Undoubtedly, the most controversial player in the league at present, he is doing his best to continue Chelsea's tradition for harbouring angsty stars. Disliked for his physicality against defenders as well as his preference for starting fights and unnerving his marker, the Spain international has had little trouble settling into the English game.

He often does a fantastic job for the Pensioners, but his flair for the controversial, though always simmering, has not yet landed him in a huge amount of trouble, despite being accused of rough-housing and stamping. Nevertheless, one feels as though it's probably only a matter of time before sparks start to fly.

7 Nicolas Anelka

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Dubbed "Le Sulk" in the early part of his Premier League career, the current Indian Super League player/manager had a real reputation for being an inconsiderate, tetchy character who only looked out for himself. In truth, it took him several years to truly discard the tag, especially following his numerous personal drawbacks.

Perhaps most well-known of all his foibles was when he was judged to have produced the highly-controversial "quennelle" gesture while celebrating one of his goals for West Bromwich Albion. Of course, his murky past goes a lot deeper than that as he also fell out with coaches, teammates and seemed to feed off the hatred thrown at him by so many opposing fans.

6 Gary Neville

via mirror.co.uk

Current Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville was certainly not the most admired of footballers in certain sections of England during his time with Manchester United, even if some of it was of his own making. A man who hated Liverpool with as much force as he could muster, the Reds' fans felt mutual about the former defender.

It all reached a head back in January 2006 when he celebrated vigorously in front of the Liverpool fans after the Red Devils had secured a late, late winner against them. His actions were provocative to say the least, and he continues to be on the receiving end of so much abuse even to this day.

5 Craig Bellamy

via talksport.com

A toxic figure who knew how to stand up for himself in some of the most vile ways imaginable, Bellamy made a real habit of getting himself into some serious trouble down through the years. Whether it was his fracas with John Arne-Riise where a golf club was wielded, or his fall-out with Graeme Souness during his time with Newcastle United, there was rarely a dull moment with the Welshman.

Now retired, he's no longer a figure of disdain on the field of play and looks to have resolved some of his personal issues, having worked with a psychiatrist to help him steer his life towards a far less noxious state. Indeed, anyone who once considered him an enemy in the past might just be able to reflect on his career now with a little more respect and understanding. After all, he pocketed a considerable 81 top-flight goals.

4 Emmanuel Adebayor

via BigStockPhoto.com

Swapping allegiances between two teams in direct competition for the league title is never a move to make in haste. In fact, some might even go so far as to say that it's not a transfer that should ever be undertaken - at all. An inflammatory undertaking, it can spark so much hostility towards oneself, because no matter the real or hidden motives, fans will always see it as a great betrayal of trust that can never be healed.

That's precisely what happened when Adebayor discarded the red and white of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal in favour of the Sky Blue of Manchester City back in 2009. Of course, the towering Togolese international certainly didn't endear himself to his former Gunners fans by celebrating in front of them when he scored against them in a crunch game. It was beyond silly and earned himself a great deal of vitriol for a very long time.

3 Joey Barton

via eurosport.com

He might well be removed from his playing days, but Barton continues to sour opinion. A regular Twitter user and a constant critic of all aspects of modern football, the ex-Queens Park Rangers midfielder certainly hasn't lost his touch for riling people up and getting under their skin. Though he often views the over-riding opinion about him as a mark of respect, one feels he could be mistaken.

Having received a 12-game ban for violent conduct and dismissal back in 2012 against Manchester City, it's as clear as day that Barton has it in him to become a venomous presence in the game - although, thankfully for the image of the game, he certainly toned down his behaviour in recent years and looks a redeveloped character, which can only be good for everyone, including him.

2 John Terry

via mkalty.com

A captain and a leader at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea, Terry has long been one of the best central defenders in the English game. However, his stint at the top has often been affiliated with personal indiscretion which has led to his image being tainted drastically in the public eye.

Although he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the alleged racism claim involving himself and Anton Ferdinand, it has long remained clear that the England international does not hold a positive cachet with many of football's regular spectators. More revealingly, perhaps, is the notion that his peers do not respect him either. After all, he was omitted from the PFA Team of the Year in 2014 despite being one of the league's best defenders.

1 El Hadji Diouf

via telegraph.co.uk

When a player courts controversy and hatred so many times it's difficult for the tabloid media to keep track, you know they've certainly gone well beyond the bounds of getting the benefit of the doubt. For Senegalese trouble-maker Diouf, that is most definitely the case. At the centre of bust-ups time and again, the 34-year-old currently plies his trade with Sabah and looks destined to play out the remainder of his career in the looming shadow of his own pat ignominy.

Whether it has been his disgusting desire to spit at fans and opponents, fall out with managers and teammates or his need to put his own selfish desires before the team, there has rarely been much saving grace for this particular footballer. A journeyman who was once the desire of so many top clubs, he looks destined to be remembered as a recalcitrant figure who fell out of love with the beautiful game one too many times.

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Top 20 Most Hated Premier League Players