Referees get a lot of abuse when they're doing their job, and turn a blind eye to a lot of it, but some players are more annoying to ref than others, as Mark Clattenburg revealed.
Clattenburg was one of the most recognisable referees in the game during his spell officiating at the top, reffing in the Premier League from 2004-2017.
In that time the Englishman took charge of the Champions League and Euro 2016 final, being the ref in 576 games in his career in all.
The 46-year-old has been on the pitch with all of the biggest names in football, and many of the most annoying too, and, speaking to the Daily Mail, he revealed who are the top five.
It won't come as a surprise to any one that former Manchester City and Newcastle United forward Craig Bellamy is on the list, with the ref explaining, "Bellamy was a nightmare to referee and most of us felt the same. He would snarl at you and throw his arms around, constantly challenging you. His language was awful, just plain rude.
"As a referee, it is difficult when you have a problem player like that because you are drawn to him and it's a distraction.
"Because I'm a Newcastle fan, I had the luxury of never refereeing him when I started. I just wish he had stayed at Newcastle for a bit longer!"
Clattenburg worked with Roy Keane as a pundit during the 2018 World Cup, with Keane still making headlines for his television work to this day.
The referee said the Irishman was great to work with now but was on his most annoying list. "When he played he was hard to manage," the former official explained.
"...Remember the incident with Andy D'Urso when he screamed in his face, that attempt to bully the referee is what he was like.
"...You just couldn't trust Roy either. You never knew if he was going to blow up or do something nasty, like the tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland. That was a disgrace, it was pre-meditated.
"He always came across as stone-cold and wanted to be the hard man. That causes problems for referees because the ego kicks in and it becomes a fight, like it did between him and Patrick Vieira."
In the Champions League final he reffed, Clattenburg went viral for a weird moment when he seemed to lick the air for no reason, after a dive by then Real Madrid defender Pepe.
The Portugal defender has a reputation for being a dirty player and it's no surprise the ref also had him on the list. "He was another player you just couldn't trust. A game could be easy and straightforward then he would do something sly.
"...He was a wind-up merchant and not fun to referee one bit, you had to be on your guard constantly."
Another moment of huge note during his career was when Clattenburg was accused of making a racist comment by John Obi Mikel.
The official was cleared of doing anything wrong and the lack of an apology from the Nigerian landed him on the list. "He has never apologised and that is disappointing because it could have ruined my life," the man from Durham said.
"I fell out of love with refereeing for a while after that but couldn't quit because I had a family to support and no other career to pursue.
"It all left a bad feeling that still lingers today."
You'd expect outfield players to all be the problem for refs but that's not completely the case, with former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann the final name on the list.
"He was just so irritable and never stopped, one of those miserable blokes who would whinge about everything and everyone.
"If the ball was round, he would whinge. If the ball was white, he would whinge. You would think, 'Just give it a rest'.
"He was a great goalkeeper but I honestly think this was a weakness in him and other teams identified that. They would stand on his toes at corners and he would react by pushing them.
"I knew players were provoking him but he was probably lucky to avoid being sent off and giving away penalties, as would happen now.
"But he would do snidey, little things himself that made it difficult and I didn't enjoy refereeing him at all. He was erratic and his antics were not easy to deal with."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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