From Bilbao butchers to Italian and British “Gentlemen”, here are the baddest, toughest and probably the dirtiest players in the history of soccer and two more giving the old guys quite a fight.
You don’t get nicknamed “The Butcher of Bilbao” for nothing. Goikoetxea played most of his career for Athletic Bilbao, winning two league titles and earning over 30 caps for the Spanish national team. It was never safe around Goikoetxea who made a few players miss quite a few games over the years, even end a career or two.
His most famous tackles – One on Diego Maradona during his Barcelona days. Goikoetxea severley injured Maradona after a deliberate tackle from behind. A year later, when the two teams met with Maradona back, a famous brawl erupted at the end of the match.
Legend has it Goikoetxea kept the boots he used to destroy Maradona and his ankles.
“I’m the Juggernaut, Bitch” says Jones in one of his more profound roles during his post-soccer career in Hollywood. Jones was tough, aggressive and violent at many times. During his most notorious stage, part of the Wimbledon crazy gang, Jones released a video tape teaching kids how to become “Hard men of the game” and years later was proud of “taking the violence from the trenches and into the game”.
Roy Keane was one of the greatest midfielders in Europe for over a decade. His dedication, aggressiveness and highly competitive character made him one of the more imposing players in England and the continent. He was also one of the more violent defensive midfielders in the land, never too shy giving someone a hard tackle or breaking a leg, most famously with Alf-Inge Haland. Haland was in Keane’s black book after blaming Keane for faking an injury which eventually kept him off the pitches for a long time. Keane had his revenge, breaking Haland’s knee, pretty much ending his career.
Part of Italy’s famous and vicious defending trio during their 1982 World Cup triumph, Gentile played most of his career for Juventus . The serie A during the 1970’s was full of hard hitting defenders, but Gentile was probably the baddest of them all. He man marked Maradona during the Italy-Argentina match in the 1982 World Cup, kicking the S^&* out of Maradona, along with his partners in crime – Bergomi and Tardelli. Later Gentile said – “Football is not for Ballerinas”.
The ‘Captain of the Crew’ led the Leeds team of the Late 60’s and early 70’s to two league titles and two European Cup finals. Alongside Norman Hunter and Johnny Giles, Leeds are now mostly remembered for their dirty play and not for their achievements. Brmener was probably the worst of the bunch.
He won so many titles during his Liverpool and Rangers days as a player and player manager although his manager days during the 90’s and 00’s haven’t been very successful. Besides being one of the greatest Scottish player of all time, Souness was also one of the toughest and most feared man in the middle of the pitch.
A New Age Kind of Brute – Pepe
Physically, he’s got everything a manager wants in his central defender. Problem is with Pepe is his reliance on his athleticism and strength hamper the way he reads plays. The other problem is his temper and dirtiness. A potential sending off every match.
Nigel de Jong
Like Pepe, De Jong’s physical attributes make him a very good player to have. Problem is, he’s a violent f^&%. From the kung fu kick on Xabi Alonso in the World Cup Final and the leg breaking of Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa earlier this season, Nigel de Jong seems to be more and more like menace on the pitch and not just a decent and aggressive midfielder.