The world of European football is truly a thing of beauty, that is until you meet this lot! All the money in the world can’t help these players. They were gifted a great first touch, hitting the ball on the volley and threading the needle to make the perfect pass. But as far as their aesthetic is concerned – keep them away from the red carpet at all costs!
Simon Lazarus gave us all an indication in March how the Big British Book Of Smiles leaves a sour taste. Since 1992 the English Premier League has some of the best contenders for ugliest players around the globe. Whether it’s the cold and wet conditions, lack of sunlight or easy access to alcohol, the UK is building a reputation for hosting a myriad of disturbing faces.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The way Frank Ribery glides past defenders and the majestic touch of Luka Modric finding his teammates in tight spaces speaks volumes about their standing in the game. The problem for these guys is off the pitch because if they wanted to cash in on their talent then unfortunately their face won’t be able to sell anything.
The saying “good face for radio” might apply to some of these players post retirement, so long as they can articulate a match for broadcast. In 21st Century society our biggest role models are expected to not only act the part, but look the part. This is easier said than done in these cases.
Looking back in history and around the world, this is the essential top 20 ugliest soccer players.
20. Phil Stamp
Phil Stamp could best be described as “robust” as a holding midfielder plying his trade in England. After playing over a hundred games for Middlesbrough in the North East of the country, his career dwindled down with short stints at Millwall, Hearts and Darlington. With a very round body shape and a face only a mother could love, Phil did put his “Stamp” on a number of games by looking the most out of shape man on the pitch. Unfortunately sliming down would only solve one of his issues.
19. Luka Modric
Fashion-wise Luka tries he best. After all, the Real Madrid playmaker earns a cool US$182,000 a week! For all his talent (and boy does he have talent) Modric’s facial features look akin to a rat with bucked teeth, sharp pointy nose and hair that seems to poke out from every angle. The Galaticos have enough pretty boys to fill a warehouse so they won’t be too worried and given his performance in El Classico last weekend, he is one of the few players who can hold their head up high. We suggest Luka does that in his own time though, not a good look otherwise.
18. Steve Lomas
People understood once the fever died down for the Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten’s look would be quite silly for 21st Century society. Nothing is more sad than an aging punk rocker and for former English football Steve Lomas the same principles apply. The Northern Irishman was an admirable midfielder in the top flight before the end of his career with non-league team St Neots Town began a brief stint in management. No wonder it didn’t work out for Steve because it’s difficult to take orders from a man in his 40s with a ginger buzz cut and beady little eyes.
17. Luke Chadwick
From the sunken cheekbones to the tiny teeth, there isn’t a lot of outer beauty former Manchester United player Luke Chadwick can cling to. A 5-year spell with the Red Devils was book-ended with loan spells out at Reading and Burnley, eventually finding his level lower down with 3rd tier club Milton Keynes Dons. At 35 he’s just been released by the club and is still out as a free agent, but players in this situation are usually better off putting the boots up for good. The vast majority of professionals would love to have 25 games for Manchester United and by that measure he’s achieved more than most. Hopefully he can take care of number one in retirement because his playing pictures aren’t one’s you would want to hang on the wall.
16. Francis Jeffers
One of the worst players to ever lift the Barclays Premier League trophy, unfortunately the bad news doesn’t end there for English striker Francis “Frannie” Jeffers. As a youngster with Everton he was one of the hottest properties in the country and when Arsenal picked him up from his giant ears it was expected he would fulfill the price tag. 3 years later and booted out the door, Jeffers became a genuine journeyman. Complete with the big ears, balding fringe and long pointy nose, Jeffers is literally an ugly reminder of what Arsene Wenger wasted his money on.
15. Robert Earnshaw
Veteran Welsh striker Robbie Earnshaw keeps on keeping on with the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS and at 34 shows little sign of slowing down. He made a wise choice in the mid 2000s to shave off his poor excuse for hair, getting rid of a curly mess of clumpy black locks that stood out like a sore thumb. Throw that in with two bucked front teeth and the overall picture wasn’t one to admire for Earnshaw. The good news is that he appears to be looking better with age, becoming something of the footballer’s George Clooney. He still has a way to go to get to Clooney level though.
14. Wayne Rooney
He’s the leader of Manchester United and England, but it’s all been in spite of his looks. Whereas his old teammate Cristiano Ronaldo was a marketers dream, Rooney has made the most of his gift by cashing in on the field. Sure he’s made a lot selling his brand on FIFA video games, but it’s usually the whole package photographed at a reasonable distance. When he decided to go the full balding look it did draw comparisons to Shrek. What on earth was “Wazza” thinking?
13. Rory Delap
They’re the set of ears that makes Dumbo the elephant jealous. The Irish footballer stood out from the crowd on this count and for his giant throw-ins, turning a mundane soccer activity into a weapon for monster strikers to get their heads on in the box. Under Tony Pulis Stoke City were an unfashionable side at the best of times and Delap was the chief architect of their physical, direct play that unnerved many of their opponents visiting the Britannia Stadium. Most images of Delap capture the moment he stresses his face to exert as much elevation on the throws as possible, and the tension shows.
12. Joleon Lescott
It’s one thing to have a forehead the size of the Great Wall of China, it’s quite another having to live with a strange looking scar in the middle of it. At 5 years of age Lescott survived a terrible car crash which left an indelible mark, appearing like a Japanese insignia. It gives the makers at FIFA a bit of extra work to do to create lifelike features on the player, but given the fact he’s alive and well making a living out of kicking a ball around, we think that’s the last thing Lescott will be worried about.
11. Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is one of the premier players in the sport right now and arguably the best in the English Premier League as it stands. The German wizard is renowned for assisting goals out of nothing, in fact he leads the top 5 leagues in Europe for assists. However, the playmaker with Turkish heritage has a unique look with eyes that poke out from a distance. It’s not too dissimilar to a fish and given his passing range it must be a secret weapon for him.
10. Scott Gemmill
Scott Gemmill’s usual expression looks like someone who has just smelt the worst fart ever smelt. It is not an endearing image and those are mostly the better ones taken of Gemmill. The former Scottish international, now in charge of the country’s under 17 team, could be a top contender for an extra on The Walking Dead, complete with a pointy nose, sullen cheeks and graveled face of a man who has lived a life of stress and anxiety. Perhaps some time traveling abroad from Scotland will allow Scott to get a tan in his later years, God knows he needs it.
9. Gabriel Paulista
The undercut isn’t fooling anybody. Perhaps he’s trying to get some beauty inspiration from the spunky Frenchman Oliver Giroud, but Gabriel Paulista doesn’t deserve to borrow his moisturizer. Manager Arsene Wenger brought in the Brazilian from Villarreal last January to shore up his defense. The tough tackling center half has been a welcomed addition, yet his rough exterior tells you everything about the way he plays the game – physical and unrelenting!
8. Peter Crouch
The towering 6ft 7 striker gave a famous response when asked what he would be if he wasn’t a professional footballer. “A virgin,” he said. The English striker has a distinctive look and stands out from the crowd for obvious reasons. At 34 his best days are past him and he doesn’t get as much game time for Stoke City as he used to, but it’s fair to say Crouch has made the most of what God has given him. The teeth, the haircut and even at one stage a dodgy moustache make this lanky forward an unusual man to look at.
7. Marek Hamsik
The bizarre haircut is used as a decoy to distract from what’s underneath because one look at Slovakian international Marek Hamsik and just makes you … well … sick! At 28 the Napoli playmaker is entering his prime and after being linked with a host of other clubs in England and Spain, the midfielder’s career has somewhat plateaued. You can see why potential suitors were turned off with the mohawk, shaved sideburns and mouth that opens way too far when he celebrates a goal.
6. Iain Dowie
One image has stood out in the pantheon of ugly faces in the late 1980s. Playing as a striker for Luton Town, Iain Dowie pulled what can only be described as a confused or puzzled expression which to this day is one of the most disturbing stills ever captured on camera. Dowie made the most of a limited career in Britain as a player and struggled to solidify himself as a manager, but you have to doff your cap to a man who puts himself out there as much as he does. Poor Iain has never been blessed with handsome looks.
5. Phil Jones
Never before has a defender looked so frightened at the prospect of having to touch or tackle. The many faces of Philip Anthony Jones, or Phil to his mates, is something to behold. At 23 the England international is one of the most promising center/right backs in the country and while the likes of Chris Smalling and John Stones have usurped him in the national pecking order, Jones still has a healthy standing in the game. That face though, it doesn’t help his cause.
4. Carlos Tevez
Street footballers often make the best professional soccer players. From Lionel Messi to Alexis Sanchez and Carlos Tevez, South Americans growing up in slums learn to fight for themselves to gain every inch on the field. But for Tevez living in Buenos Aries, a series of altercations and third degree burns gave him a massive scar across his neck. It makes for a unique personal feature, but not something to gallivant at VIP events.
3. Charlie Adam
He has a habit of scoring a spectacular goal every once in a while and at one stage playing for Blackpool he was linked with a move to Manchester United for his brilliant dead ball delivery. Yet his reputation for hacking down players with crude challenges is met by the ugly aesthetic of his jaggered teeth and weathered look. He has to be one of the oldest looking 29-year olds going around and the Scottish international only makes things worse when he cracks out a smile. He has to warn people next time he does it.
The infectious character that is Ronaldinho is a joy to football. His silky skills and once-in-a-generation ability to score with ease puts him in the top bracket of Brazilians to have ever played the game. In almost every picture he is smiling brim to brim and his party lifestyle off the field illustrates that he’ll never suffer from depression anytime soon. For all this, those teeth are way too visible. If his football was on another planet, then so are those choppers.
1. Franck Ribery
French international Franck Ribery opened up about the scaring that has stayed with him since the tender age of 2. A car accident required over a hundred stitches and Ribery proudly asserts that it has forged character in him and he is even proud of it! The committed Muslim who plays for Bayern Munich is one of the best in the game right now, starring for a team that boasts some of the biggest superstars in the sport. For all of this, Ribery lives a quiet personal life and it’s easy to understand why. He looks as though he’s just come out of surgery and combine that with a huge nose and cluttered set of teeth and it makes quite the scene.
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