No matter where you travel around the globe, there is one thing that is virtual certainty to be found among the local population: crazy people.
That’s right, crazy people. They are everywhere. Statistics indicate that as many as 1 in 3 people currently have a mental disorder. So if you think of two of your friends, and neither of them are crazy, then you are the crazy one. There’s no sense in denying it. Don’t get mad at me — blame the statisticians if you’re going to blame — so why don’t you calm down and take this pill.
Much better. Now let’s continue.
No matter what walk of life you’re from, nor the social circles in which you associate, there are bound to be a few crazies sprinkled amongst you. And professional footballers are not immune to the statistics either. In fact, they even seem to have a predisposition to it. Maybe it has something to do with the competitive nature of the sport, or perhaps it’s due to having our heads pounded by the ball repetitively throughout our youth. Either way, there do seem to be a lot of mentally unbalanced players out there. Now, I’m not talking about players that make insanely poor choices on the pitch. No, I’m talking about the type of crazy where a player is liable to kung-fu kick a fan behind the sponsor boards.
Which got me to thinking: if I were to name a team composed of the craziest footballers, who would be chosen to pull on the straitjacket kit?
So before I skip off to the local mental ward, I thought it best to define a set of rules for selecting players to a team that should probably be medicated:
- I’m limiting this list to current footballers, simply because there are far too many former crazy players to fairly make a team. Maradona, di Canio, Gascoigne, Chinaglia, René Higuita, Cantona… you see where I’m going with this.
- I’ve opted for the trusty 4-3-3 formation to construct my side, simply because we need enough spots for the plethora of unbalanced strikers in the game. Though admittedly, we should probably be starting a side full of keepers if we’re using that logic.
- I’ll also be selecting a manager, as no proper team can be named without someone to steer the good ship Crazy.
Goalkeeper – Jens Lehmann (unattached)
Is it sad that in my very first selection, I’m already breaking my own rules? If I were following them, I would have picked former Celtic and current Fiorentina goalkeeper Artur Boruc for his religious hostilities during Old Firm matches… and because he has a weekly rage list. Truth be told, goalkeeper is probably the position that provides deepest pool of candidates due to their genetic-predisposition to insanity (apologies to my GK friends). But it would be a crime to not coax Jens out of retirement for a team like this, seeing as how he is the King of the Crazies. So how did he earn such an illustrious title that I made up for him right now? Where to start… he’s peed on the pitch, skewered teammates in the press, stolen a fan’s glasses, and even once opted to attend Oktoberfest instead of traveling with his teammates. There is honestly no better selection possible, so I’ll make an exception for this one.
Left back – Ashley Cole (Chelsea/England)
Generally, I would prefer to label Cole as an ass rather than crazy. But when Ca$hley thought it was perfectly fine to sneak an (air) pistol into the Blues’ training ground, and then proceed to shoot a staff member with it, you do have to question his mental stability. Additionally, Cole also seems to think it’s alright to sext pictures of one’s junk to people he’s only just met, despite not being a sixteen year old teenage boy. Oh yeah, and he cheated on his wife that looks like this…. so yeah, he’s pretty much crazy.
Center back – Rafa Márquez (Red Bull New York/Mexico)
I don’t like Marquez, and if you’ve visited this blog before, then you’ve probably read all about why I hold him in such disdain. If there’s one player that personifies the stereotype that Mexicans are dirty players, it’s the former Barcelona defender. He slanders his own teammates in the press for not being up to his class, even when he generally never gives a shit in most MLS of the MLS matches in which he plays. And Márquez persistently thinks he doesn’t have to speak to the press, despite being the second highest paid player in the league. With an ego this massive and a temper so short, labeling the big Mexican bi-polar isn’t exactly a stretch.
Center back – Pepe (Real Madrid/Portugal)
Despite my affection for Los Blancos, I actually can’t stand Pepe. He’s a loose cannon that has arguably done more harm to Madrid’s cause than good, and even worse is he also has an extremely short fuse. The end result is a guy that will rake you with his cleats if he thinks you went down soft, will stamp on your hand just after he’s fouled you, and will probably even scowl at you menacingly if he doesn’t like the way you talked about Mourinho’s newest haircut. In short, describing the Brazilian-born Portuguese as a psychopath isn’t far off the mark, and we’d all be just a little bit safer if Pepe was made to wear a straitjacket.
Right back – Luis Moreno (Tauro/Panama)
Probably the least known player on the list, Panama international Moreno gained notoriety last year when he kicked a live owl while on the pitch… don’t worry though, it wasn’t Roy Hodgson. Moreno even originally tried to brush it off by saying he was merely trying to help the stunned owl to fly, before fessing up that he was frustrated that his side were loosing. Seriously, if you’re willing to kick an animal as awesome as an owl, you must have mental issues. Oh yeah, the owl died from the kick, so that pretty much makes him a murderer too.
Holding midfielder – Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers/England)
I face a dilemma when trying to explain why I think Joey Barton is crazy: what can I tell you that Barton hasn’t already said himself on Twitter. Very little, because he rarely leaves room for you or anyone else to speak. And for a guy that spent two months in jail for drunkenly kicking the crap out of a random dude at McDonald’s at 5am in 2007, it always came off as a bit hypocritical when he’s quoting Nietzsche in his tweets. Other moments of insanity include roughing up a teammate at training and publicly bashing his club’s administration so much that they let him go for nothing just to be rid of him. Oh yeah, this also happened well after I had originally started this list. All considered, Barton’s the worst kind of crazy: he’s so crazy he actually thinks he’s a genius.
Attacking midfielder – Andrei Arshavin (Zenit St. Petersburg/Russia)
As if Andrei’s on-going responses to questions from his fans on Q&A portion of his website weren’t enough of an indicator of his craziness, I give you this picture:
As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words, so I won’t elaborate any further.
Left forward – Luis Suárez (Manchester City/Argentina)
Originally, I thought about choosing Manchester City’s Carlos Tévez for this starting spot. and though he wouldn’t be a bad choice, I think Carlitos is more idiot than crazy. But his fellow South American, Luis Suárez, definitely deserves the nod over the Manchester City man due to the frequency and magnitude of his idiotic moments. Biting opposing players, giving the finger to the opposing side’s fans, and never really apologizing for racially abusing Patrice Evra are just a few of his most high-profile cuckoo moments. But to be fair to Suárez, sometimes it’s worth having a player on your squad that’s crazy enough to punch a would be goal off the line to ensure your country’s World Cup dreams could to continue.
Right forward – Mario Balotelli (Manchester City/Italy)
Rather than me have to undertake the impossible task of listing the infinite amount of reasons why Balotelli is crazy, perhaps it would be easier to just list the reasons he might not be crazy…
I can’t think of anything that would prove Balotelli isn’t crazy. Between violent on-field outbursts, breaking up with his girlfriend by text, wearing his side’s most hated rival’s kit in public, fighting his own teammates, thinking that it’s perfectly safe to shoot fireworks out his bathroom window, or not being able to put on a bib, I think it’s fair to say that Balotelli is 100% crazy.
Striker – Zlatan Ibrahimović (A.C. Milan/Sweeden)
He may be Swedish by nationality and Bosnian by ancestry, but Ibra may as well have been Japanese for all of his ninja tendencies. Zlatan loves — and I mean really loves — kicking people, in particular his teammates. Some of them aren’t even sure how to take it, meaning that nobody knows his true mental state and could also generally be referred to as a dick. I mean, he might be the only guy in the world that thinks Pep Guardiola is a crap manager. He thinks so highly of himself, that he had his first name trademarked for crying out loud, which is probably also the only reason he was allowed to name his autobiography “I am Zlatan”. Yup… he’s crazy, too.
It’s only right that I should also select a manager for this squad… simply because I don’t want to go anywhere near the group for fear of my own life. But just to up the ante on the crazy in the squad, I’m going to name co-managers. The first of my dual-managers will have to be Celtic’s Neil Lennon, for he is the sort of crazy that is liable to set fire to building just to watch it burn. My second manager can be no other than Diego Maradona. El Diego makes the list simply because he’ll pull this nuttiness on the sidelines. Having Maradona and Lennon at each other’s throats as their egos clash will be the only way to properly cap off a team full of crazies
But you know what might be an even better outcome from assembling this team? With so many crazy men forced into a single room, we could easily lock them all in there and throw away the key... forever.