Which famous World Cup footballers at Russia 2018 wind us up with their behaviour, attitude and antics and make our blood boil?
World Cup footballers are everywhere at the moment from the TV to bottles of Coke and splashed all over Twitter and the internet as a whole. But not all of them are on our Christmas Card list.
There are a few footballers we just love to hate. Similarly, there are a few footballers we hate to love. Then on a more simple level, there are footballers we just love and sadly, because we’re just humans with emotions all over the place as a result of our passion for the game, there are a few we just hate.
So let’s just cut to the chase and talk about the Top 5….
World Cup footballers we love to hate
Sergio Ramos (Spain)
Let’s start in style.
Here are just a few of the people who have good reasons to take issue with the bruising centre-back.
Barcelona fans who have watched him butcher their best players as well as play out of his skin against them over the years.
Some Real Madrid fans who were there when in 2011 during a street celebration, he dropped the Copa del Rey and damaged it after it was run over by the bus. Or watched him miss a penalty in a shoot-out against Bayern Munich in 2011.
Fans of Liverpool and Mo Salah, who saw him intentionally or otherwise, injure him in the 2018 Champions League final.
Fans of fairplay in football who have seen him sent off 26 times in his career, a Spanish record.
People who don’t like tattoos – his torso has more inked skin than ‘virgin’ skin.
Anyone who is opposed to bullfighting – he’s a big fan and good mates with matador Alejandro Talavante.
He has an opinion on everything and is quick to voice it. The latest to bear the brunt of his tongue were Iran and their manager Carlos Queiroz for their tactics and Maradona.
But he’s also arguably the best central defender in the world. If Spain are going to win the World Cup they’ll need him at his best.
Thomas Muller (Germany)
During the 2014 World Cup a friend of the Betting Maestro’s – let’s call him the Betting Tenor – posted this message on Facebook. “Thomas Muller is my favourtite player in the world. Said no-one. Ever.”
Of course to make this list the player has to be one we love to hate rather than just not love. But the case of Muller is a curious one because he actually seems like a pretty decent guy and is famous for his funny quips and self-deprecating attitude. Here are a few of his best comments.
“Well, at least you went the right way mentally.” (after sending Manuel Neuer the wrong way when taking a penalty in training).
“We footballers only think from day to day – from today until yesterday.”
“I’m slowly but surely getting the feeling I can do more with my left foot than just get up and fetch a beer.”
So what’s our issue with him? Maybe it’s because of his awkward playing style, with elbows and skinny legs flailing everywhere, a distinct lack of grace. Or maybe it’s that he couldn’t have been any jammier in terms of the teams he’s played for.
Not only has he only ever played for Bayern Munich after joining them as a youth player his whole career but he also happens to be German and therefore plays for one of the three most successful national sides ever.
Any views on the Euro Millions lottery numbers this week, Thomas?
Muller is 10/11 to score against South Korea with Royal Panda.
If you’re Brazilian, he’s the guy men want to be and the guy women want to be with. He can do no wrong. Hardly surprising. He captained Brazil to 2016 Olympic Gold and his goals per game record for Brazil is only inferior to that of Pele and Ronaldo.
And Brazilians like colourful.
But for the rest of us he’s a little too colourful. The tattoos, the ever-changing silly haircuts, the rapper clothes, the unnecessary flicks, the times he’s far more concerned with making his opponents look stupid and useless than helping his team score a goal. As far as World Cup footballers go, he’s the peacock amongst the other animals.
But perhaps what we really don’t like is his sense of entitlement. Every time he goes down, he feels he’s owed a penalty. Playing second fiddle to Leo Messi at Barcelona wasn’t good enough for him so he moved to PSG. Now he’s not feeling the PSG faithful love him as much as he deserves and is rumoured to be open to a move to Real Madrid which would be a ‘screw you’ to both PSG and Barcelona.
All that said, he’s certainly good and talented enough. At 15/4 you can back him to score two or more against Serbia.
Diego Costa (Spain)
It’s all a bit 1970s for a centre-forward to relish the physical challenge of a game of football more than he does winning, scoring or even entertaining.
And bar the odd quirky retro thing, we’re all going through a phase where old school isn’t cool. After all, if World Cup footballers aren’t cool, then what chance do the rest of us have?
But some players just have to march to the beat of their own drum and if you were to take the snarling, aggressive, in-your-face ‘I’m going to do you before you do me’ spirit out of Costa, there’s not much left. You could have said the same about Roy Keane.
He plays on the edge, on the limit of what’s allowed and acceptable and what isn’t. Often it isn’t.
But here’s one for you. If you were walking down a dark alley after a night on the tiles and were approached by some nefarious characters, who would you rather be out with: Griezmann, Kane or…Costa?
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
A list to rival that of Ramos.
He’s incredibly vain and not slow to praise his own achievements. The Ballon d’Ors he’s won, Euro 2016, the goalscoring records he doesn’t seem to go a week without breaking.
He sulked about not scoring in the Champions League final this year despite the fact Real had just won an unprecedented three in a row. He followed that up with a cryptic post-match interview suggesting his time at Real had come to an end. News to everyone including Florentino Perez.
He financed and made a film about…himself. He’s got his kid doing press-ups and sit-ups every day and eating lean, protein-rich food. So that one day if he’s really luck he might grow up to be like…him.
He took 52 free-kicks in international tournaments before scoring from one against Spain. Errr, maybe give someone else a go, Cristiano?
But he also does a lot of work for charity, is great with the fans and has certainly given a whole lot more to Portuguese football than what he has taken out.
And then of course there’s that crucial question: if he qualified to play for your national team, would you have him in your side?
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