Player Rivalries

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Steven Gerrard’s legal problems got me thinking about how it’s quite funny when footballers get the red mist. None more so then when it happens on a consistent basis with the same opponent, or better yet, your own teammate. Here are some of the best examples over the years.

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Keane vs Vieira

Now I reckon this was based on respect as much as it was hatred. These guys were basically the two best central midfielders in the Premier League for nigh on a decade and couple with Man Utd and Arsenal forming the top two for much of that period it made for some terrific battles both on and off the pitch. We got a taste of it early on in 1999 (though Keane scored twice to win that game)

Handbags at twleve paces

Handbags at twelve paces

before it developed yet further and spread to the tunnel. It was mild at first in 2003/04 before a full on row developed the following season after Patrick Vieira and Gary Neville had some kind of tiff outside the changing rooms. Typical of Neville, he had to get someone else to do his dirty work for him and it’s just a shame Graham Poll was there otherwise we would have really seen Keane and Vieira kick off. I just love the evils the Neviller tries to give at the handshakes.

Honourable mention must go the Old Trafford famous brawl in 2003 but whilst Keane and Vieira were involved, it was mainly every Arsenal player against Van Nistelrooy, mostly due to him being a prick.

What we all felt

What we all felt

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Keane vs Haaland

Royland (and insert any given player here) is a bit of a recurring theme, but this was probably his most well known incident. He had injured himself  trying to tackle Alfie Haaland in 1997 and was out for ages with damaged ligaments. Haaland had made the fatal error of sneering over Keane and accusing him of feigning injury. Keane had to wait three and half years before getting his revenge and then some. In a filthy challenge, he caught Haaland above the knee and returned the favour of standing over him, sneering. The difference being that Haaland never came back from the injury he suffered. Keane later admitted in his autobiography that he had deliberately targeted him.

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Keane vs others

I’m beginning to realise this whole post could be on Keane himself. Some of his other battles have been with Mick McCarthy, Alan Shearer, and his own teammates.

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Ljungberg vs Mellberg

The World Cup. A time when squad harmony is of utmost importance as you try and win the seven games it takes to win the biggest prize in football. Now the Swedes have always been a peaceful nation so it was quite funny to see Olof Mellberg and Freddie come to blows not once but twice. You think they would have learnt their lesson from 2002 but in 2006 they proceeded to do it all over again. The result both times? Second round knock out. I reckon it was down to arguments over facial hair – Mellberg going for the full bearded ogre look, while the fashion model Freddie preferring three day stubble…

Look, just because Thierry uses Gillette doesn't mean I'm going to...

Look, just because Thierry uses Gillette doesn’t mean I’m going to…

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More teammates

Remember Bendtner and Adebayor, Le Saux and Batty, Hartson and Berkovic (love Ruddock’s blasé reaction), Bowyer and Dyer and Cole and Sheringham?

How could I have headbutted you from here?

How could I have headbutted you from here?

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T.

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