It doesn’t take a genius to know that when you’re playing any sport at a professional level, it comes with a host of different challenges. This involves on-field and off-field issues that generally rear its ugly head in the media in some way, shape or form. This, as a result can turn sour very quickly and affect even the personal lives of our beloved superstars.
But it isn’t easy to stay cool, calm and collected all the time when playing a competitive sport. It is this, perhaps, that makes us appreciate those individuals who possess the ability to keep their head in an uncomfortable atmosphere and avoid making a bad situation a whole lot worse.
Over the years, the sporting fraternity has seen its fair share of fiery persons as well as an equal number of relatively cooler players who indirectly stopped an issue from going over the top. But in the end, we are all human, and even the calmest minds can sometimes be susceptible to a heated response. This list is all about such individuals who are generally calm, but lost their head somewhat uncharacteristically:
#5 Mesut Ozil
III / III pic.twitter.com/c8aTzYOhWU
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 22, 2018
The German was always known to be a very talented footballer with a very experienced head on his shoulders. In fact, there was rarely a time that Ozil turned up in the newspapers in a negative light, highlighting just how composed the player really was.
But it all turned upside down after Germany’s World Cup exit in Russia a few months ago when Ozil shockingly announced his retirement from International football. The midfielder had garnered a lot of hate for posing for a photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – causing the German FA to warn the Arsenal player and, according to Ozil, even disrespect his Turkish roots.
Ozil stood up for himself and accused the German FA of being racist as well as insensitive, and the reaction was somewhat uncharacteristic of the former Real Madrid man, earning him the praise of his peers as well as a loyal legion of fans.
#4 Patrice Evra
On your face suarez 😂 Evra though…😝 pic.twitter.com/sN8PxOemQr
— Evans Bett (@iam_bett) October 13, 2017
Manchester United have always been known as a tightly-knit club, and their players have always upheld the principles of the historic side and promoted good values and traditions. So when Patrice Evra did not shake the hand of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, it made news around the world.
Evra accused Suarez of passing racist slurs against him during a match between the two sides, and that caused a huge rift between the pair, with the Uruguayan denying any such wrongdoing. When the two sides met again at Old Trafford, the tension was felt by all sitting in the stadium.
Suarez did not want to shake Evra’s hand pre-match which made the Frenchman even angrier, and after the match Evra ensured he made Suarez feel bad about what he had done, by celebrating the win with United fans near the striker.
If you see Evra on social media now, you wouldn’t believe what he was capable of back then.
#3 Rahul Dravid
Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid is the epitome of the ‘gentleman’s game’ in every sense. The professional conduct of the batsman has been praised by players and fans alike, and it’s difficult to find anyone with ill will towards one of the sport’s greats.
So when Dravid decided to take on Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar in a match in 2004, it was surprising, to say the least. Dravid hit Akhtar for a boundary in the over, and a frustrated Shoaib ensured he let the batsman know how he felt, leaving a few remarks in the progress.
Surprisingly, Dravid walked down the pitch and gave the bowler a mouthful of his own, prompting Pakistan captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq and the umpire to intervene.
#2 Roger Federer
Another gentleman of the sporting arena, Roger Federer seldom gives us reason to question him, owing to his sheer commitment to the game and conduct off the court. The Swiss is perhaps the greatest player in the sport’s history and keeps a cool head during his matches, frustrating his opponents and rendering them incapable of posing a real challenge.
But this year at the Australian Open, Federer suddenly snapped at the umpire in a match against Tomas Berdych, prompting boos from the crowd and surprise from fans at home. The argument was over a service called in by the umpire and the fact that the Swiss had lost a challenge.
A livid Federer confronted the chair umpire and spoke sharply and sarcastically before calming down and continuing the match.
#1 Khabib Nurmagomedov
— Nick Hammond (@NickHammer0) October 7, 2018
And finally, how can we not talk about what transpired at UFC 229 last weekend. An unbeaten Khabib took on Conor McGregor in a fight for the ages, with the Russian coming out on top.
After the fight, however, all hell broke loose, with Khabib jumping over the octagon confines and assaulting Conor’s trainer in the progress. The sudden reaction was uncharacteristic of a man who, despite fighting a bear, is generally considered a team player who doesn’t lose it when he shouldn’t.
He later revealed that the fact that McGregor had spoken trash about his family, religion and country spurred him on and it forced him into the unquestionable post-fight act.