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Top 20 Soccer Players with Attitude Problems

It has become a common critique and borderline cliche to brand a footballer as having a 'bad attitude'. The phrase, or one of similar meaning, is often thrown about merely after a player has had a disagreement with a player/coach, rejected a contract or acted foolishly on or off the pitch. In truth, most players do not have bad attitudes, as if they did, it is unlikely they would ever make it in the fiercely competitive world of professional football.

As always though, there are some exceptions, and some of the most notable of these feature on this list. Given that making it as a pro tends to requires an incredible amount of sacrifice, hard work and mental toughness, it is noticeable that those who have managed to play at the highest level despite having poor attitudes are often blessed with large amounts of skill, technique and natural ability.

In bygone eras it was possible to reach the top with ability alone, but not in the modern day. Many of these players have failed or are failing to reach their true potential because of their attitude. Here are the top 20 footballers with attitude problems:

20 Royston Drenthe

via dailymail.co.uk

19 Carlos Tevez

via espn.com

18 Adriano

AP Photo/Luca Bruno

17 Zakaria Bakkali

via ibtimes.co.uk

16 Ricardo Quaresma

via skysports.com

15 Emmanuel Adebayor

via BigStockPhoto.com

14 Nicklas Bendtner

via espn.com

13 Jermaine Pennant

via eurosport.com

12 Pierre van Hooijdonk

via thedaisycutter.co.uk

11 Joey Barton

via lifestyleuncut.com

10 Hatem Ben-Arfa

via mirror.co.uk

9 Mido

via bleacherreport.com

8 El Hadji Diouf

via thisisanfield.com

7 Nile Ranger

via lastwordonsports.com

6 Amr Zaki

via amazonaws.com

Another Egyptian, Amr Zaki is often considered a Premier League one-season wonder, when in fact he is more accurately a half-season wonder. The fiery forward lit up the Premier League when he first joined Wigan, but soon faded away as controversy took over. After taking part in international duty, Zaki failed to return to England for club football, without informing manager Steve Bruce.

5 Nicolas Anelka

via picpicx.com

4 Ravel Morrison

via theguardian.co.uk

3 Antonio Cassano

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

When your short temper is so notorious it creates a phrase which becomes common parlance, you know you might have an issue, and that's exactly what happened with Italian playmaker and second striker Antonio Cassano. The phrase 'Cassanata' was the term in use, and all too often as a result of Cassano's antics. As is the case with so many of the players on this list, technically Cassano was simply magnificent.

2 Adel Taarabt

via mirror.co.uk

1 Mario Balotelli

Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

Mario Balotelli is still young, aged only 25, but having had more lives than a cat, one wonders how many more opportunities the Italian has to prove that he isn't a petulant, egotistical child. Roberto Mancini is widely considered to be the man who got the best out of Balotelli, coaching him at both Inter Milan and Man City, but even he couldn't tame Mario, pictured clashing physically with him in training on one occasion. Balotelli's lack of professionalism and discipline is clear, both on and off the field.

Ballotelli returned to English football and the Premier League with Liverpool in 2014, but was a spectacular flop. He looked disinterested and ineffective in almost the entirety of his season at Anfield, and was immediately loaned back to AC Milan this summer. Since the return, Balotelli has scored once in three games, and will have to prove his attitude has improved to make Italy's team for the 2016 European Championship.

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Top 20 Soccer Players with Attitude Problems