15 Most Troubled Players in World Soccer History

Most Problematic Football Players in History

Soccer, just like any other sport, has a dark side opposite to the perfect and ideal one that we usually see on TV and in media – for the most part. The sport and its players alike have become more than just troubled in only a matter of years. Why?

Many believe it is due to the idealistic environment provided by soccer once one gets rather popular. Before you know it and after a couple of important matches, players receive more money in a season than most people do in an entire year or even a lifetime.

As a result, most soccer players have troubled lives – but some of them kick it up a notch, so to speak, and go even further off the rails. Let’s take a look at 15 of the most troubled players around!

Diego Maradona

Maradona is really well known when it comes to big names in soccer. Naturally, a portion of his fame was made possible due to some of the rather controversial things he has done.

For instance, he kicked a colleague in the presence of Spain’s King, abused cocaine, evaded tax, and had quite questionable political views. All of this added to the self-destruction of his career.

Carlos Tevez

This particular player is known for leaving the teams that made him popular and leaning on excuses that are considered rather petty, so to speak. First of all, he left United to play for City and, furthermore, he moved away from Sky Blues’ hometown, stating that it had nothing of value to provide for him.

Mario Balotelli

This next player had a rough upbringing, to say the least. Even though he managed to become a soccer superstar, he didn’t manage to steer clear of certain difficulties, so to speak. He is known in the industry for lacking willpower, discipline, and employing various spiteful tactics.

For instance, he engaged in rather shameful playacting and even dared to wear his team’s rival’s shirt once!

Rene Higuita

As a soccer goalkeeper, your life (and career) can get only that interesting – to say the least. However, it seems that the thrills of the field were not enough for Higuita who, in 1993, helped with the rescue of a kidnapped hostage. But that’s not all.

The hostage was Carlos Molina’s daughter, a drug dealer, who awarded Higuita roughly $65k for his bravery. As the latter profited from a kidnapping scenario, he ended up in jail for seven months.

Eric Cantona

Far from just troubled, Eric Cantona said goodbye to a good portion of his fans when he decided to interact in a certain unprofessional manner with one supporter. It’s also worth mentioning that the whole thing was also being broadcasted live. What exactly happened, you ask?

Well, the moment when Cantona karate-chopped a fan was what brought a bit of trouble into his life.


The life of Gazza was beyond simply troubled – and all of the trouble came about in just one single night. How did he do it? Well, reportedly, he had enjoyed four bottles of Cristal and then drove a car straight into Loch Lomond.

To make everything really spectacular, he also attempted to gift lager, a fishing rod, and several other items to … a serial killer!

Dwight Yorke

Yorke turned out to be a controversial name in the crazy world of football when, in 1998, he was part of a sex tape that involved one of his male colleagues and two females. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with making such a tape.

His mistake, however, was simply throwing it in the bin and believing that it was gone forever.

Mark Bosnich

Closely related to the above-mentioned player, Bosnich was the second male in the tape that we brought up earlier. On the downside, it seems that this particular scandal affected him more than it did Yorke.

Roughly ten years after the sex tape incident, Bosnich was addicted to cocaine and unfortunately, had to declare bankruptcy. 

Zinedine Zidane

As some of you might know, not even the heaviest names in soccer come without their fair share of trouble. However, Zidane didn’t only turn his life into a mess, but also made sure that his team lost the 2006 World Cup – with just a single defining act!

Namely, he headbutted Marco Materazzi and was immediately sent to the bench and his team then lost on penalties. 

Duncan Ferguson

Ferguson has a couple of things in common with Zidane – but extreme fame is not one of them. You guessed it – it’s the art of headbutting that they have in common. 

In 1994, Ferguson enjoyed around three months in jail after headbutting McStay. The trouble didn’t end there – he also headbutted a law enforcement officer and, quite shamefully, received a fine for assaulting a soccer supporter with crutches.

Marlon King

King is known for having played for roughly 10 clubs – in 13 years, that is. As such, what could one really expect from this particular soccer player?

Well, we bet that criminal damages, automobile crime, theft, deception, and illegal use of vehicles weren’t on your mind. But, in case you had already thought of such things, speeding, driving without regulated insurance, a DUI, assault, and sex crimes are also on the list.

Mbulelo Mabizela

Despite a rather successful career start, Mabizela had a drug issue that eventually led to a mutual cancelation of his contract. Of course, the fact that he was banned from playing soccer due to drug offenses didn’t help his situation. 

Unfortunately, back then CBD wasn’t a thing and people had only illegal ways to recreationally relax. Nowadays, however, profiting off CBD or enjoying it is very easy – you can always see more online!

Robin Friday

A former starter for Reading, Friday had a rather troubled life – but it’s safe to say that his personal choices led him the wrong way. Everything began, more or less, with him pretending to be a police officer and confiscating drugs.

Naturally, the confiscated substances were mostly for him – he died in 1990 due to a heroin overdose.

Jose Mourinho

This player was involved in a bar brawl – but if that was the end of the story, he wouldn’t be on this list. In that particular brawl, he reportedly tried to gouge the eyes of the Barcelona coach out.

Overall, his life is troubled mainly due to a severe lack of respect – he reportedly accused both referees and players of various heinous things (accusations that caused death threats from supporters).

Luke McCormick

We end our list with a former soccer player that got out of prison in 2015-2016. Back in 2008, while leaving a wedding, McCormick decided that driving drunk was a good idea.

It wasn’t. He collided with a vehicle, killed two, and also injured three other passengers. To top it off, he also didn’t have a license – this meant a quick eight-year conviction.

The Bottom Line

In short, soccer players are just like artists and superstars. It seems like they can’t stay away from trouble. However, if we look closely, we realize that their lives are seen as troubled and extreme only because they are famous.

After all, people get into accidents, headbutt police officers, and make indecent tapes almost daily.

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