By 90Min
November 15, 2018

In a modern age where many modern footballers are accused of being too soft, there are fewer and fewer traditional 'hard men' out there.

These are those personalities who never shy away from a physical confrontation, for whom putting in a hard tackle or standing up for their teammates is never in question, with red cards almost becoming part of their game.

Here's a look at seven players you wouldn't want to fight on the pitch...


Sergio Ramos

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Sergio Ramos is a born winner who doesn't let anything get in the way of victory.

That alone makes him a very dangerous prospect. The Real Madrid captain plays with tremendous aggression, desire and isn't scared off a physical battle.

He's also never beaten until he's beaten.


Vinnie Jones

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Ex-Wimbledon captain Vinnie Jones has carved out a movie career as an on-screen hard man, mainly as a result of his infamous aggression on the football pitch, as well as off of it.

Jones was no stranger to confrontation or the idea of 'roughing up' an opponent to let them know he was there. One particularly famous snapshot of him 'manhandling' a young Paul Gascoigne  is a true and painful testament to that.


Duncan Ferguson

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Former Everton striker Duncan Ferguson was as fierce a player as there has ever been in the Premier League, and no one in the league has ever been shown more red cards than the towering Scot - his eight dismissals is still the league's joint record.

Ferguson has as many as four assault convictions on his record and actually served a three-month jail sentence for one committed on a football pitch while in action for Rangers, which saw him headbutt Raith Rovers defender John McStay.


Marco Materazzi

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World Cup winning defender Marco Materazzi was never one to shy away from a physical battle. His aggressive style of play resulted in three red cards in only 27 appearances during a sole season with Everton in the late 1990s.

In 2006 The Guardian quoted an Everton source saying the following about Materazzi on his time in at Goodison Park: "Marco just wasn't remotely suited to English football; he was much too wild."

It was upon returning to Italy with Perugia and Inter that he later struck a greater balance between his aggression and his clear talent. But still, no one messed with Marco.


Patrick Vieira

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Arsenal lost something when Patrick Vieira left the club in 2005, something the Gunners are still searching for 13 long years later - a fearless leader who intimidated opponents the moment he stepped out onto the pitch.

It is no coincidence that Vieira remains the last Arsenal captain to lift the Premier League title as leader of the 'Invincibles' generation in 2004, whilst his personal battles with someone else still to appear on this list are the stuff of legend.


Zinedine Zidane

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Although revered for his exquisite skill and game winning technique, Zinedine Zidane definitely had something of a nasty side to his game. That much was clear when he planted a headbutt square in the chest of Marco Materazzi – remember him from earlier? – in the 2006 World Cup final.

Zidane, who was certainly a physically imposing figure on the pitch, was sent off plenty of times in his career, and 2006 wasn't even his only World Cup red card.

His famous contribution in the 1998 World Cup was two goals in the final against Brazil, but he had previously been the first French player ever sent off in a World Cup game when he stamped on a Saudi Arabia player during that tournament's group stage.


Roy Keane

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Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane set the record straight upon the release of his second autobiography in 2014 that his infamous tackle on Alf Inge Haaland in 2001 was not a premeditated attempt to injure the Manchester City player. But it was intended to hurt him.

Keane had ongoing beef with plenty of players over the years, from Patrick Vieira, to Alan Shearer, David Batty, Rob Lee and many others in between.

Even the Irishman's thousand-yard stare was enough to make opponents quiver in their boots.


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