While a whole bunch of footballers can be accused of many things, most of them can’t be classified as trash talkers like we see in other sports. Most players are confident in their skills and let their feet do the talking. Even the best can be considered relatively humble about their abilities.
However, with that said, there have been – and still are — a handful of players who are hugely outspoken. Here we list five of the most ridiculous digs taken at footballers by their compatriots or coaches.
1) Emmanuel Adebayor on Tomas Rosicky
Emmanuel Adebayor once took a dig at his former Arsenal team-mate Tomas Rosicky by indicating that he was too injury-prone. The forward told French reporters, “If you said as much as ‘how are you’ to him, he would then be injured for two-and-a-half months.”
Rosicky’s career with the Gunners was repeatedly marred by injuries.In all, the Czech was sidelined for as many as 990 days due to setbacks. In fact, in 2008, he suffered a career-ending injury when he tore tendons in his knee.
Adebayor, who arrived at Arsenal in 2006, the same year as Rosicky, spent three years playing alongside the Little Mozart before leaving in 2009. Rosicky eventually left the London-based club in 2016 after 10 long injury-stricken years.
2) Joey Barton on Neymar
Recently, former English midfielder Joey Barton compared Brazilian superstar Neymar to reality star Kim Kardashian and said that he is nowhere near to Ronaldo or Messi.
In an interview with L’Equipe, Barton said “I think he is the Kim Kardashian of football…Neymar is not the best player in the world, we saw that again in Russia. He is not at the level of Ronaldo and Messi, and there are many other players in front of him
“Neymar, more than a football phenomenon, is an advertising phenomenon, like the Kardashians.” Ouch!
3) Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Carlo Ancelotti
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is God. Some might frown when the Swede proclaims the same but there is no harm in stating facts, is there?
Sometimes, just sometimes, though, people forget who he is and need to be reminded of who Zlatan is, though. It’s almost blasphemous, but people are flawed and Carlo Ancelotti is one of them.
With the league title on the line, Paris Saint-Germain’s then-manager, Ancelotti, was becoming anxious and, so Zlatan had to come forward and remind Ancelotti who he was.
In Marco Verratti’s words: “Before winning the 2012/13 league title, we were getting ready to play against Lyon,” Verratti explains. “Carlo Ancelotti was a bit tense, so Ibra approached him and asked him if he believed in Jesus. Ancelotti said yes, so Ibra told him: ‘Good, so you believe in me. You can relax!’
4) Gianluigi Buffon on Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson is probably reasonably content with the success he enjoyed during his 26 years at Manchester United but he might have a couple of regrets. One of his most baffling decisions was the one to to sell Paul Pogba to Juventus.
Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, one of the greatests ever to have stood between the sticks, once mocked Ferguson. He said:
“I have been in football many years but the decision of Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United to not play Pogba and let him leave is one of the strangest I have ever seen. After just a few training sessions we saw how good he was. It cannot have been the same player they saw in Manchester – we thought they maybe needed glasses.”
5) Diego Maradona on Cristiano Ronaldo
Widely regarded as the best footballer in history, former Argentine superstar Diego Maradona once famously took a jibe at Cristiano Ronaldo by saying that the Portuguese forward scores goals and then ‘sells you shampoo’.
Maradona has a knack for making the headlines for erratic outbursts and has often been criticised for the way he presents himself in public.
He said, “Cristiano Ronaldo gives you a goal and then sells you shampoo.” He further went on to say, “I would like for Cristiano Ronaldo to be Argentinian. But I like Messi a lot more.” Touche.