In Sports by stephen abiodun on the 28th, May, 2017

Bad Boys! The 10 Worst Disciplined Players Across Europe’s Top 5 Leagues in 2016-2017 2 k Richie Boon

The top five leagues in Europe have provided sensational entertainment to their fans this season. From Real Madrid’s last day La Liga victory to Monaco’s rampant title winning performance in Ligue 1, the creme de la creme of football have been on top form.

We are bombarded with endless videos of glorious goals on our television screens and social media pages. It is therefore easy to forget the lurking danger on the pitch – the football bad boys!

The loveable rogues of the field, hurtling around dishing out two-footed tackles and casual head-butts as they please. The scourge of your fantasy football team. The players who make you cover your eyes in horror as they charge into yet another reckless challenge…

10. José Holebas – Watford FC, 14 Yellow Cards

Watford’s José Holebas has had his name taken by Premier League referees on a staggering 14 occasions this season. The Argentine defender scrapped and bundled his way to the verge of a new Premier League record: falling just short of the 15 bookings needed to eclipse the disciplinary achievements of Lee Cattermole, Mark Hughes, Cheick Tiote and Robbie Savage.

Narrowly avoiding relegation, with the third worst defensive record in the league, Watford’s combative style of play only just saved them from the drop.

9. Miguel Britos – Watford FC, 6 Yellow Cards, 2 Red Cards

Well, well, well. Those who have criticised Watford’s side as a ‘dirty team’ may well have some evidence to support their argument here, as Miguel Britos joins his Hornet’s teammate in the top ten.

Britos’ saw himself sent off twice this season, receiving two yellow cards and then a red on both occasions for clumsy tackles. Britos has previous when it comes to poor discipline: the fiery Uruguayan famously floored Juventus’ Álvaro Morata with a vicious head-butt when playing for Napoli last season.
8. Cheick Doukoure – FC Metz, 6 Yellow Cards, 2 Red Cards

Ranking just above Britos due to racking up his cards with slightly less playing time, Doukoure has been a constant menace in the midfield of Ligue Un side Metz this season.

The 24-year-old was sent-off in a 7-0 thrashing at home by eventual league winners Monaco back in October. The defensive midfielder lunged at Les Monégasques’ Kevin N’Doram, who was fortunate not to have a broken leg from the tackle. Doukoure saw a straight red from the referee, and Metz promptly imploded.
7. Dominik Kohr – FC Augsburg, 12 Yellow Cards, 1 Red Card

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Dominik Kohr’s season got off to an awful start when José Rodríguez, on his Mainz debut, tore into the German midfielder in the 90th minute of their 3-1 victory of Augsburg. Kohr suffered a 14 centimetre gash, damaged ligaments and an exposed tibia. Rodríguez received a five-match ban and was quickly shipped off to Malaga on loan.

Kohr returned to action for the Fuggerstädter only a month later in October, and went on a spree of card collecting akin to that of an avid Pokémon fan; picking up a card in 11 out of 23 of his next matches. In a hot-tempered away match to Hamburger SV, Kohr picked up a second yellow card and a red for a needless tackle on Gōtoku Sakai.

If Kohr and Rodríguez happen to meet again in the Bundesliga next season, one would hope that the latter brings some reinforced shin-pads.
6. Nicolas Pallois – Bordeaux, 8 Yellow Cards, 2 Red Cards
Bordeaux centre-back Nicolas Pallois has actually been one of Bordeaux’s best players this season, as the side achieved an impressive sixth place finish. His side went unbeaten in their last seven games of the season, keeping four clean sheets.

However, the defensive hard-man didn’t always make it easy for the Southern French side, amassing a multiple bookings over the course of the season. Pallois saw red in a 4-1 loss against Toulouse FC early in the season, and was sent off for a needless lunge in Bordeaux’s final match of the season against AS Saint-Étienne.

Since being snapped from lowly side Chamois Niortais by Les Girondins in 2014, Pallois has managed to get himself sent off four times in three seasons. The worst of his offences came in Ligue 1 clash against Rennes in November 2015. The stocky defender pushed and verbally abused the referee when Rennes were awarded a penalty, leading to a hefty three-month ban from the game.
5. Uche Agbo – Granada, 12 Yellow Cards, 2 Red Cards

Unbelievably, with 98 teams analysed, a third Watford player has made the cut for the worst disciplined players of the 2016-2017 season. Admittedly, Uche Agbo, better known simply as ‘Uche’, has been on loan at Granada this season.

The young Nigerian has established himself a reputation in La Liga as somewhat of a loose cannon during this campaign. Picking up an eye-watering 12 bookings and two red cards, Uche has struck fear into the hearts of his opponents all season.

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Terrifyingly, Uche could well be tearing it up in the Premier League alongside Britos and Holebas next season. Expect to see local businesses in the Watford area stocking their shelves with moon boots, casts and crutches ahead of the 2017-2018 season.
4. Mario Balotelli – OGC Nice, 5 Yellow Cards, 3 Red Cards

Why always him?

Mario Balotelli has so many hijinks to his name that he almost warrants his own article. The eccentric striker was shipped off to AC Milan on loan by Liverpool’s Brendan Rogers in 2015, who will at some point surely be billing the Italian for the therapy he will require to forget their time together. Jürgen Klopp swiftly sold Balotelli upon his arrival at the beginning of the 2016-2017, OGC Nice gamely offering him a one-year contract.

Interestingly, Balotelli has really flourished in Ligue 1, scoring 15 goals in 20 league appearances, helping Les Aiglons finished third in the league.

However, Mario Balotelli will always be Mario Balotelli; volatile and about as predictable as an episode of ‘Twin Peaks’. ‘Super Mario’ has managed to get himself sent off on three occasions this season, missing crucial matches through suspension. The Italian striker saw red for squaring up to a Lorient player minutes after scoring a wonder-goal, kicking an opposing player against Bordeaux, and insulting a referee in the return fixture against Lorient.

Oh Mario, will you ever learn?
3. Juraj Kucka – AC Milan, 8 Yellow Cards, 3 Red Cards

The first Serie A contender on the list, Juraj Kucka has been sent off on three occasions for AC Milan this season.

The Slovakian international, who played against England in last summer’s Euro 2016, received his first red card of the season in a thrilling 4-2 loss away to Napoli. In the heat of the battle, Kucka pushed Napoli’s Dries Martins, before swearing at the referee. The midfielder swiftly offered a public apology after the match.

The AC player didn’t learn his lesson, and was sent off in a match away to Bologna later in the season. Quickfire bookings are Kucka’s speciality, and he prematurely headed down the tunnel in matches against Bologna and Crotone.
2. Yannick Cahuzac – SC Bastia, 5 Yellow Cards, 4 Red Cards

Narrowly missing out on the top spot is FC Bastia’s Yannick Cahuzac.

You’d be forgiven for not having heard of the midfielder, who has plugged away at French side Bastia for the duration of his 12-year career.

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Grandson of the late Pierre Cahuzac, who lead SC Bastia to the 1978 Uefa Cup Final, the midfielder has racked up a rather horrifying 91 yellow and 15 red cards since breaking into the first team in 2008. This season has been no exception, with Cahuzac given his marching orders an astonishing four times.

The highlight of Cahuzac’s disciplinary horror show would have to be the straight red he received in a 3-0 away loss to Angers, ironically. Enraged at being substituted, Cahuzac petulantly slapped the electronic board out of the fourth-official’s hand as he left the field.

There must be something in the water in Corsica, as they’ve raked in a further ten red cards as a team this season. Bastia have been relegated this campaign, and the teams of Ligue 2 will no doubt be quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing the rough-tackling side next season.
1. Gabriel Paletta – AC Milan, 6 Yellow Cards, 5 Red Cards

Ladies and Gentleman, your number one bad boy across the top fives leagues in Europe this season is…AC Milan’s very own Gabriel Paletta!

Liverpool fans may remember him as the flop who joined them in 2006, as he swapped Argentinian club Banfield for Anfield. The powerful centre-back played just eight times for the Reds, before being bundled off to Boca Juniors the following summer.

Seen tenderly embracing Fabio Quagliarella in the picture above, Paletta is now bereft of his flowing locks and sports a skinhead.

He’s notched up four red cards this season at AC Milan. Starting as he meant to go on, he was sent off in the last minute of AC’s first game of the season against Torino: sacrificing himself, Paletta brought down Andrea Belotti in the penalty area in the dying seconds of the game. Paletta saw red, and Belotti missed the penalty, ensuring a 3-2 win for the Rossoneri.

The following dismissals for Paletta were slightly less heroic: a two-footed lunge on Genoa’s Luca Rigoni, a pig-headed trip in a narrow win over Bologna, a clumsy bundling of Roma’s Mohamed Salah, and a needlessly aggressive tackle on Cagliari’s Kwang Song Han completed his list of misdemeanours.

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