The World Cup is fast approaching and while every writer and analyst is breaking down matchups and offering predictions as to which squad will be the last team standing when it is all said and done, we are going a different route.
These are the players that are most likely to cause a stir, wreak havoc, or cause controversy on the pitch, via SBO.net.
Nicolas Otemendi, Argentina
Otemendio earned 11 yellow cards this season, including the controversial challenge on Harry Kane back in December that angered fans.
Granit Xhaka, Switzerland
Xhaka is no stranger to getting a red card, as he has racked up 8 since the last World Cup, averaging 2 a year. With those kind of numbers, it’s hard keeping Xhaka off of this list.
Fyodor Kudryashov, Russia
Russia, the host country for the World Cup, the first time it will be doing so, is very passionate about their futbol and Kudryashov has the same passion, although it can cost him at times. Kudryashov has racked up 8 career red cards that easily places him on this list of players to watch.
Wilfred Ndidi, Nigeria
Ndidi knows when its’ a good time to get a red card, as he received his first red card on his birthday. So, it’s easy to predict that the Nigerian will pick a big event such as the World Cup to collect another.
Fernando Luiz Roza, otherwise known as Fernandinho makes this list because of his 48 yellow cards and 4 red cards over only 8 years of play. With that kind of volume, it’s a safe bet that Fernandinho makes some noise during World Cup play.
Dele Alli, England
Although Alli has never received a red card, he is very familiar with the yellow card, notching 44 since 2012.
Marouane Fellaini, Belgium
Fellaini has only 1 yellow card this past season but that is more due to his ability to avoid the referee than good behavior. Fallani has collected 56 yellows and 3 reds in domestic football, making him an easy entry on this list.
Giancarlo Gonzalez, Costa Rica
With 12 career red cards, including 2 on the national state, lands Gonzales on this list, easily.
Diego Costa, Spain
Costa is no stranger to controversy, from spats on the field to his choice to play for Spain over his native country Brazil, Costa is a magnet for headlines. Expect him to grab a few more during this World Cup.
Hirving Lozano, Mexico
Lozana, nicknamed Chucky, has 8 career red cards at just 22 years old. Safe to say that Lozano will be causing some trouble during play this World Cup.
Fallou Diagne, Senegal
Diagne has the designation of being the worst-disciplined player in Ligue 1 this year, with 2 red cards and 8 yellow cards to his name. That’s enough to easily make this list.
Michal Pazdan, Poland
Last, but certainly not least, is Pazdan, whose 6 career red cards makes the Poland player a player to watch as Poland makes their first World Cup appearance since 2006.
Juventus Fans Arrested After Clash with Police
Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash between Juventus and Ajax has already been marred by violence and controversy, before the teams even took to the pitch.
According to Ansa, citing a report from De Telegraaf, dozens of fans were reportedly arrested in Amsterdam in the hours leading up to the game.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (h/t Football Italia) took to Facebook live video to state that “around 120” fans had been arrested.
Per the report from De Telegraaf, fans near the Johan Cruyff Arena were “in possession of knives, clubs, pepper spray and flares.” Also, dozens of Ajax supporters were reported to have clashed with riot police in separate incidents outside the stadium and were eventually dispersed with the use of tear gas and water cannons.
The Mirror posted the following images on their Twitter page:
Man City forward Raheem Sterling Looking to Combat Racism on the Pitch
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who spoke out last month after being subjected to taunts during England’s game in Montenegro, is looking to take his fight against racism to the pitch, saying he would rather stay on the field than let racism force him to walk off of the pitch during a match.
Sterling’s manager Pep Guardiola, stated that he would support players walking off in protest if it happened again, in a strong statement that racism is simply not acceptable.
“I think everyone are entitled to their own opinions. My mum has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and I am,” Sterling said, according to the Manchester Evening News.
“I wouldn’t personally agree with [walking off], to win the game would hurt them even more they’re only trying to get you down. If you walk off they win, to score or win would be better.
“Everyone’s different. Everyone has their own opinion, how they deal with things emotionally and you have to support everyone.”
Sterling opened up about the racism he has faced in his life, discussing when he first expereinced racism when he moved from North London up to the north-west back in 2010.
“I don’t think trying to make a difference or making a difference, it’s about speaking what you experience. Some people might shy away from it, if more players speak up that might be better.
“It’s offensive but growing up my mum always told me I’m a wonderful black child and I know this. When I hear it, it’s nothing new. I’m happy with it. I’m confident, I’m black and I’m proud. Some people can’t take it but my mum has always told me to love who I am.
“The first time I experienced racism is when I went up north to Liverpool – in London in schools and on a day-to-day basis you’re surrounded by a diverse community. Only a few occasions growing up in the academy in Liverpool, and then mainly in the last couple of years of being a professional.”
Birmingham City Fan Jailed for 14 Days for Punching Aston Villa Player
27-year old Paul Mitchel, a Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 days after he plead guilt to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Graelish during the derby on Sunday.
Mitchell rushed the pitch and took a swing at Graelish when the player’s back was turned at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match on Sunday.
Mitchell admitted to invading the pitch and has been officially banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for up to 10 years, and was also ordered to pay £350 in total fines.
Graelish made a statement in which he described how he was “shocked and scared” by the attack.
“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” he said (h/t ESPN). “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”
“He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Vaughn Whistance, said on Monday.
“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd. He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”
“This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour,” said a spokesperson for the FA.
“On Sunday we saw two separate incidents, at Birmingham City and Arsenal, of individuals entering the field of play and assaulting players.
“Not only is it an offence to enter the pitch, which could result in a club ban and criminal charges for the individual, but it also puts the safety of the players at risk.
“This is entirely unacceptable and we strongly condemn both incidents.
“We will be working with the clubs, the leagues and the police to discuss what collectively needs to be done to protect players and officials on the pitch.
“In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place.”
Birmingham City apologized to Grealish and Aston Villa and banned Mitchell for life.
“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in Sunday afternoon’s derby match,” a club statement said.
“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.
“The club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.
“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this — there are no excuses.
“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”
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