I was reading yet another one of those 'My Perfect XI' lists recently that are so often a feature of websites or magazines.
You know the sort of thing, an all-time XI as selected by someone important. They may be from a single club, from a particular country or league, the most under-rated, most expensive, most likely to be laughed at because of their hair, most often arrested, and that sort of thing.
Because of the international break last week, I found myself flipping around the web for things to watch and it got me thinking. Regardless of ability, there are a number of players out there that I want to give a good slap whenever they appear before me doing something foolish. There are some players who are great on the pitch, but live an unsettled life. Others are surely paragons of virtue but turn into mad things when they cross the white line. And others just get on my wick.
So herewith is my unscientific and badly researched take on a 'Slap Me XI'. You may find that you could fill such a list completely from the Premiership, but I watch rather a lot of football, so I've decided to include a few special continental favourites, if you can call them that.
Imagine having these fellas all on the pitch at the same time? I'd probably put my boot through the telly once I'd stopped shouting. What is odd is that many are full internationals and most are considered very good players, so the fact that they are sometimes quite daft doesn't seem to have affected their success. I guess there is a lesson in there somewhere.
Many of my picks are obvious choices – they've ladded it about a bit too much, they've been caught with controlled substances, they've lived in a shockingly appointed home, they've punched or stomped where they should not have done so. Others have given award-winning performances of histrionics that would grace any melodrama. One or two get sent off every week (or could do if that were possible) for stupid tackling. Some of them have very foolish hair, a particular pet-peeve of mine.
And some of them are just nutters, lazy, a bit thick, or all of the above.
GK: Manuel Almunia (Arsenal)
RB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
CB: John Terry (Chelsea)
CB: Philippe Mexes (Roma)
LB: Ashley Cole (Chelsea)
DMF: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
MF: Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)
MF: Nani (Manchester United)
F: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan)
F: Mario Balotelli (Manchester City)
F: Antonio Cassano (AC Milan)
Subs: Hurelio Gomes (Tottenham) Juan (Roma) Pepe (Real Madrid) Adrian Mutu (Fiorentina) Marco Borriello (Roma) David N'gog (Liverpool), Mirko Vucinic (Roma)
Manager: Jose Mourinho
I'm going with a very unbalanced side, but there are just so many possibilities, please feel free to add your own.
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