For the most part, soccer players are adored by fans around the world and enjoy support from the stands whenever they step foot onto the field, however, there are some that people simply do not like.
Whether it’s through something they’ve said or done, some soccer players become hated by certain groups or fans, a few may not have even done anything wrong other than score against their teams’ rivals.
Today we are going to be counting down through our picks for the most hated soccer players of all time, as well as exploring what they did to make them worthy of a place on this list. Let’s get right into it.
Here are the 10 most hated soccer players of all time
10. Harry Maguire
Manchester United and England defender Harry Maguire is universally disliked by fans of the Red Devils, though it isn’t because he did anything to upset the supporters other than perform below their high standards.
Maguire joined the club from Leicester City in 2019 for a staggering fee of over £75 million, breaking the transfer fee record for the world’s most expensive defender.
At the time, many believed the move to be a good one despite the high price tag. Maguire soon became an integral part of the Manchester United team, even being named captain by then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Things eventually turned sour for the England international as continuous mistakes on the field led to the team dropping vital points and sliding down the Premier League table.
The fans turned on their man and forced him out of the starting eleven under Erik Ten Haag. A move away from Manchester may be in everyone’s best interest.
9. Steffen Effenberg
From a player who simply came into the wrong club at the wrong time to a legend that despite having immense talent, was hated by rival fans and on occasion his own.
Steffen Effenberg is renowned for having a fiery temper that sometimes boiled over on and off the field during his time at German giants Bayern Munich.
The hot-headed midfielder would often make fun of his opponents by hurling immature insults at them during press conferences, attempting to rattle his rivals before stepping foot on the field. Once play began, Effenberg would commit countless fouls and continue to argue with opposition players.
Off the field, his life wasn’t any calmer. Effenberg was arrested in 2001 and later found guilty of assault. He also wrote a controversial autobiography that often criticized the paying fans in Germany. It’s fair to say that this didn’t go down well, with Effenberg remaining hated to this day.
8. Joey Barton
Another tough tackling midfielder from across the English channel, Joey Barton was also known for having a sometimes fiery temper that would spill out onto the field.
His attitude on the field led to him receiving countless red cards during his playing career at numerous clubs across the country.
Barton’s wrongdoings off the field are more famous though. The Englishman was sentenced to a short spell in prison after assaulting a young man and a teenager, he was later charged with violent conduct by the FA as well.
Upon retiring from playing, many thought that Barton would fade into obscurity. This wasn’t the case, however, as he gained his coaching badges and became a manager in the lower leagues of English soccer.
Barton is now known as one of the better coaches at this level after doing a good job with Fleetwood Town but is still hated by most rival fans due to an apparent brawl with an opposition manager after a game. This resulted in him needing emergency dental work.
7. Billy Bremner
Loved by some and hated by others, Billy Bremner is a true legend of Scottish soccer and played a leading role for Leeds United during some of their best years under legendary manager Don Revie.
Bremner was one of the toughest opponents to play against during his prime as his tackling ability was second to none. Despite this, Bremner would often injure opponents after going in too hard when attempting to win the ball for this team.
Bremner is disliked by fans of Brian Clough for his supposed role in the then-young managers’ doomed spell at Leeds United.
The Scotsman had a special bond with his former boss Revie and was not pleased when he left, this led to him undermining Clough at times as he had more authority due to his place in the club. This is portrayed in the movie ‘The Damned United’, with Stephen Graham playing Bremner.
6. Ashley Cole
When the Premier League came into existence in 1992, money became the watchword of English soccer.
For the first time in its history, the world of soccer was mega-rich and players were soon making transfers that allowed them to follow the trail of riches. One of the most notorious such transfers featured talented full-back Ashley Cole who made the switch from Arsenal to Chelsea in 2006.
Cole signed a contract worth far more than his old one and soon garnered the nickname ‘Cashley’ from rival fans that believed he only moved for the money. This is a viewpoint Cole would later prove right after admitting to wanting money in his autobiography.
Aside from financial gain, Cole is disliked for being an unfaithful husband to his ex-wife Cheryl. The Chelsea legend is known to have cheated on his then-wife on numerous occasions, leading to them splitting up.
5. Vinnie Jones
A player that is hated for similar reasons to Billy Bremner, Vinnie Jones was an integral part of the famous ‘Crazy Gang’ Wimbledon squad that famously won the FA Cup in 1988.
Jones was a notoriously aggressive player that rivals would not want to get on the wrong side of. Jones was also a fierce leader however, getting into opposition players’ heads when they were up against him. This fear is what made him so disliked.
Since retiring from soccer, Jones has gone into the field of acting. The former Welsh international starred in hit movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and X-Men: The Last Stand. He has always played typically tough characters that fit with his style of play on the soccer field.
4. Luis Suarez
It’s not often that an entire nation can hate one player, however in the case of Uruguay’s Luis Suarez that is just what occurred in 2010.
During a crucial FIFA World Cup fixture against Ghana, Suarez stopped a certain goal for the African nation after essentially ‘saving’ a shot on the goal line.
Suarez was subsequently sent off and forced to watch the penalty be taken from the sidelines. Ghana missed and Uruguay won the match, leading the fans of the ‘Super Eagles’ to hate the former Liverpool striker.
Of course, there are more reasons why people hate Suarez. He has been found guilty of biting opponents on more than one occasion and was also charged with racism following a spat with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra before kick-off in a match between United and Liverpool.
3. Sol Campbell
Another player that made a terrible decision in the transfer market, former England defender Sol Campbell committed a cardinal sin by making the move from Spurs to Arsenal in 2001.
This move resulted in Campbell being labeled as ‘Judas’ by Spurs fans who believed after spending nine years with the club, he owed them a measure of loyalty.
Campbell’s move remains one of the most notorious transfers in the history of English soccer and serves as a reminder to anyone wanting to make a similar move to perhaps reconsider. To this day Campbell receives regular abuse from Spurs supporters whenever they spot him.
2. El Hadji Diouf
Some of you reading this may not have heard of former Senegal forward El Hadji Diouf, however, if you followed the Premier League in the 2000s you certainly will have.
Known best for this time at Lancashire-based club Blackburn Rovers, Diouf became hated for a variety of misdemeanors both on and off the playing field.
Diouf was known to spit at rival fans, hurl racist abuse, poke fun at players that had gone down injured, and was involved in a number of car crashes. It boggles the mind to think some managers wanted such a player in their ranks.
Diouf is about as unprofessional as a professional soccer player gets in the modern day, serving as a negative role model for young players hoping to do better. This is something all soccer fans should hate.
1. Diego Maradona
Well, here we are, the most hated soccer player of all time is the great Diego Maradona. He may also be the most loved in some parts, it’s all a matter of perspective.
Maradona is hated by many England supporters due to his role in knocking them out of the 1986 World Cup. The famous ‘Hand of God’ scored by Maradona is regarded as the most famous example of cheating in soccer history, with the Argentine blatantly handling the ball on its way into the net.
Here’s the clip:
The legendary forward later stirred the pot by stating that the goal served as his nation’s revenge for the British victory in the Falkland War. He never apologized for his offense and remains hated by the English national team.