By 90Min
September 06, 2018

Footballers and managers 'go to war' with opposing teams on a regular basis. We've seen countless epic battles over the years that all form a part of the sport's history and legacy, but 'war' is not always limited to fighting others and sometimes breaks out within a team's own dressing room.

Here's a look at nine examples when players and coaches from the same club or international team have gone to war in recent memory...


Jimmy Bullard vs Nick Barmby

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Hull teammates Jimmy Bullard and Nick Barmby found themselves in a full-on furious fistfight back in March 2010, after a half-time argument during a 4-1 Premier League hammering at the hands of Everton a day earlier spilled over into physical brawl.

Bullard had angered Barmby with a comment made during the game but was himself left seething when Barmby spoke about the injury-prone midfielder's sizeable transfer fee and lucrative contract in front of the rest of the players.

When the Hull squad met at a local park by the Humber Bridge the following day for a warm down, Bullard and Barmby charged at each other and were left grappling in a bush as 'around a hundred members of the local Women’s Institute', as Bullard recalled, looked on in utter horror.


Tony Pulis vs James Beattie

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Stoke manager Tony Pulis and striker James Beattie came to blows in the dressing room after an away game at Arsenal in December 2009, stemming from a disagreement a few days earlier when Pulis cancelled a day off for the players and ordered a training session instead.

Pulis is said to have approached Beattie in the showers wearing only a towel and allegedly headbutted the disgruntled forward who had been looking forward to a team Christmas party in London, leading to members of the backroom staff intervening to break up the scuffle.

Stoke never confirmed whether the incident actually took place, but club captain Ryan Shawcross acknowledged 'it was a spectacle' during a Twitter Q&A several years later in 2015.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Oguchi Onyewu

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic once broke a rib during a training ground fight with teammate Oguchi Onyewu during his Milan days, describing the defender as resembling a 'heavyweight boxer' in his 2011 autobiography, but adding that 'he couldn't handle me'.

Ibrahimovic had apparently already told another teammate he was expecting something 'serious' to happen with Onyewu and it did one day when the Swede felt the American was trash talking.

"I headbutted him and we flew at each other," Zlatan recalled. "We wanted to tear each other limb from limb. It was brutal. We were rolling around, punching and kneeing each other. We were crazy and furious - it was like life and death."


Roy Keane vs Mick McCarthy

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Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane often felt that his international team lacked the professionalism to ever be taken seriously, something that frustrated him during Jack Charlton's years in charge and continued under Mick McCarthy.

The complaint was a major theme of his 2002 autobiography and ongoing exasperation was the reason why he infamously left that year's World Cup before a ball was kicked - but not before telling McCarthy to 'stick it up your b******s' during a now infamous verbal evisceration.

Keane was unhappy over preparations and the standard of facilities booked for the Irish team, sharing his feelings about the shortcomings in an honest interview with the Irish Times. That led McCarthy to confront Keane in front of the squad, prompting the tongue lashing in response.


John Hartson vs Eyal Berkovic

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John Hartson described the time he kicked West Ham colleague Eyal Berkovic in the face during a training session as the 'biggest regret' of his career.

The encounter came about when Berkovic reacted badly to Hartson trying to drag him up from the floor, to which the Welsh striker swung a savage boot at the Israeli midfielder's head.

"I was 20 years of age. I was very boisterous, probably a little bit angry. I'd left Arsenal in 1997 and they went on to win the double in 1998," Hartson told BBC Radio 5 Live many years later.

"Eyal Berkovic was a good lad and to this day I don't know why I reacted the way I did. It was nothing personal, It could have been any one of the players on the training ground that day."


Netherlands at Euro '96

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An immensely talented Netherlands team was dragged down by infighting at Euro '96 that many at the time put down to racial tensions in the multicultural squad, with the Oranje only scraping through the group stage after being hammered by England and crashing out in the quarter-finals.

A team photo taken at the time appeared to show a racial divide between white and black players, but the disputes that ultimately resulted in Edgar Davids being expelled by coach Guus Hiddink have since been put down to arguments about money and status.

Davids, Michael Reiziger, Patrick Kluivert and Clarence Seedorf (who had already joined Sampdoria) had been a huge part of Ajax's 1995 Champions League triumph and were miffed over being paid less than the older and more experienced members of the squad.


Craig Bellamy vs John Arne Riise

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When manager Rafa Benitez took his Liverpool squad on a bonding trip to Portugal in 2007, the last thing he would have been hoping for was one of his players attacking another with a golf club. But that is what happened after a row between Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise.

With the squad at a karaoke bar and some more worse for wear than others, Bellamy pestered Riise to get up and sing. The Norwegian refused and eventually got up and left when Bellamy wouldn't let it go and leave him alone.

Apparently seeing it as a slight, Bellamy entered Riise's room later that night and hit him with a golf club. As Riise told the Liverpool Echo earlier this year, "[Bellamy] just said: '9am tomorrow outside my room'. I got there for 8.45am and waited until 9.10am but there was no sign of him."


France at the 2010 World Cup

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Just four years after reaching the World Cup final, France's disastrous 2010 showing has become the stuff of legendary infamy after a dressing room row between Nicolas Anelka and coach Raymond Domenech resulted in the whole squad going on strike and refusing to train.

Anelka had verbally abused Domenech during half-time of France's 2-0 defeat against Mexico and was sent home by the French Football Federation after the player refused to apologise.

Ahead of training for the next game, captain Patrice Evra had to be separated from fitness coach Robert Duverne, before all the players left and retreated to the team coach.


Sir Alex Ferguson vs David Beckham

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Although David Beckham was a treasured home grown talent that had been nurtured by Manchester United for a decade, tensions between the Old Trafford superstar and manager Sir Alex Ferguson began to grow as Beckham became increasingly involved in a celebrity lifestyle.

Ferguson recalled in his 2013 autobiography that Beckham's usually incomparable work rate had been dropping during the 2002/03 season amid rumours of contact between the player's camp and Real Madrid, with frustration boiling over after a loss against Arsenal.

The Scot kicked a boot on the dressing room floor that hit Beckham and cut him above the eye. He was pictured out and about soon after wearing a headband to expose the stitches on the wound, and the following season the Englishman was sold to Real Madrid, proving that no player was above Manchester United.


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