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
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.
19 Raheem Sterling
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.
18 Wayne Rooney
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.
17 Roy Keane
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.
16 Steven Gerrard
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.
15 Cristiano Ronaldo
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.
14 Ashley Cole
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.
13 Samir Nasri
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.
12 Lee Cattermole
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.
11 Jonjo Shelvey
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.
10 Luis Suarez
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.
9 Didier Drogba
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.
8 Diego Costa
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.
7 Nicolas Anelka
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.
6 Gary Neville
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.
5 Craig Bellamy
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.
4 Emmanuel Adebayor
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.
3 Joey Barton
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.
2 John Terry
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.
1 El Hadji Diouf
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.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!