After going through the list of artists who make this game beautiful, it’s only natural to create the list of the ones in charge of stopping the artists. These players don’t ask nor give any mercy. They are ruthless, dirty, punching below the belt, and they will do anything to win. They are the five dirtiest players to grace the stadiums of the Premier League.
- Vinnie Jones
The absolute champion of the category, Vinnie Jones is as dirty as they get on the football pitch. Proud owner of the record for fastest booking in the Premier League, Vinnie only took 3 seconds to get off the mark. With that, he did his best to beat his previous record of 5 seconds. His almost admiring statistics are enhanced by the fact that he received 12(!) red cards in his career. Vinnie Jones wasn’t alone in his quest. Just like Messi was surrounded by Xavi and Iniesta, Vinnie Jones was surrounded by “The Crazy Gang”. The purpose of the team was to play football, but almost equally, to harass opponents to the point that they lose their heads. A good fight was as respected as a good free-kick in this team, but it landed them a lot of success, too. “The Crazy Gang” from Wimbledon managed to win the most prestigious honor in English football – the FA Cup.
- Ben Thatcher
You only need to see him once to understand – Ben Thatcher is the one you want to avoid on (and off) the pitch. His first two clubs symbolically tell the story; Milwall known for its violent fans and Wimbledon with their “Crazy Gang”. After elbowing Nicky Summerbee, he was sanctioned with a two-match ban. However, elbowing was his specialty and he wouldn’t give up so easily.
At the start of the 2006/07 season, Thatcher did the worst thing imaginable. While charging on his left side, he ran into poor Mendes with his elbow thrown out. Result? Mendes had a seizure on his way to the hospital, where he had to spend the night under medical supervision. Just look at this silky run and the graceful elbow.
Thatcher was punished severely, with City delivering a 6-match ban, followed by FA’s 8-match suspension. He played a couple more seasons before Roy Keane out of all people terminated his contract in 2010.
- El Hadji Diouf
After presenting himself to the world in the 2002 World Cup, Liverpool’s €10 million signing fee seemed like a bargain. However, reality would prove otherwise. After spitting in the direction of a Celtic crowd in UEFA Cup, he was fined with £5,000. After basically fighting an inner war with Carragher and Gerrard, Diouf was loaned out to Bolton. After a successful start, the deal was made permanent, and Diouf was ready to make his mark. Diouf actually played some good football, scoring some important goals. However, that wasn’t the full story. Diouf became notorious for spitting after he repeated the accident by spitting directly into de Zeeuw’s face. He was bombarded with critics even before social media became big, which really is an accomplishment. Diouf remains as one of the dirtiest players to play in the Premier League, further confirming his status after swearing at Jamie Mackie for supposedly faking an injury. Mackie was diagnosed with double leg fracture.