His language was awful, just plain rude

Mark Clattenburg names five most annoying players he’s refereed

The former Premier League and FIFA referee has chosen the players who tested his patience the most with stars from Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea all making the cutLeicester submit planning permission for statue of late chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

The first player on the list is former Newcastle United, Manchester City and Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy.

“I knew my relationship with him was on sticky ground when he squeezed my balls in the tunnel at the Etihad, and I don mean my match balls,” Clattenburg told the Daily Mail.

Clattenburg recalled one incident in 2009 when he unfairly sent off Bellamy for diving but insists that he was an unwelcome challenge to referee.

“But 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.”

Roy Keane

Keane tackle on Haaland was “disgraceful”, according to Clattenburg

The next player Clattenburg chose was Roy Keane, whom he acknowledges is an entirely different man off the pitch compared to on it.

Clattenburg said: “I have to start by saying that I worked with Roy for ITV during the World Cup in 2018 and he was a gentleman and nice to be around, proof that players can be very different off the pitch from on it.”

However, he acknowledged that Keane could try and bully referees and added: “You just couldn 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.”

## ## Jens Lehmann The former Arsenal goalkeeper was next on the list due to his constant whinging and “antics”.

Clattenburg continued: “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, give it a rest He added: “But he would do snidey, little things himself that made it difficult and I didn enjoy refereeing him at all. He was erratic and his antics were not easy to deal with.”(Image: Clive Rose)

Clattenburg next selection comes from his time refereeing in the Champions League, with Portuguese defender Pepe notorious for his on pitch antics.

In the 2016 Champions League final, Pepe tried to get an Atletico Madrid player sent off, but Clattenburg was alert to his attempts.

“He was another player you just couldn trust,” he said. “A game could be easy and straightforward then he would do something sly.”

Clattenburg added: “But he was a wind up merchant and not fun to referee one bit, you had to be on your guard constantly.”

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