The modern game can’t quite be imagined without the impact of red cards. Every player, once in a while, loses his temper and does something silly to get one. Some even get it because of their stunningly bad technique while tackling and then there are others who have managed to go through long and successfull careers, all the while staving off the possibility of getting a red card.Here are 5 players who’ve had long club careers and managed to escape the dreaded red card:
#1 Damien Duff
Duff, the former Blackburn, Chelsea, Newcastle and Fulham winger, has never seen a red card in his career despite spending most of his career in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League. He plied his trade in the top division for 18 years and despite spending 14 of those years at clubs that weren’t really at the top, he never once was ejected from a match.
His disciplinary record, to not have been sent off as yet, is highly commendable. Similar players – pacey, explosive wingers – have ratcheted small mountains of red cards, due to their inability to control their emotions when fouled, or because of their inept defending. Duff would often be seen running up and down the pitch, working hard, covering every blade of grass and basically nobody would have ever blamed him if he got sent off, but Duff never succumbed.
No, he was different. Almost a saint compared to the uncouth bruisers he found himself in teams with.
Not many strikers in the world could compare to the talent, drive and hunger possessed by Raul in his prime, and looking back, there probably won’t be many who can match his discipline either.
Raul played in some of the most competitive matches in football, and despite the frenzy and emmotion of some of the most high pressure games, never once got sent off. He has played in El Clasicos, the Ruhr derby, Champions league finals and countless other League matches and Cup finals and never once lost his cool.
He also happens to be the second most capped player in La Liga, with 550 appearances for Real Madrid, which makes his record remarkable.
#3 Ryan Giggs
Imagine going through a Premier League game. The emotions are high, so are the studs of the defender who is out to get you. The crowd is on your back. The referee may be an incompetent loon and every tackle feels like you’ve been hit by a truck. The 90 minutes don’t feel like ending and frustration is just increasing. Finally the whistle blows, and relief. But wait, you have to do it again, next week. And again and again and again.
Now imagine doing it for 672 games stretching over a span of 24 years. That was the life of Ryan Giggs, and though the anger and the frustration and pain has been offset by victories and trophies, the ordeal of those 24 years wouldn’t have been easy.
Giggs was very consistent in the most punishing football tournament in the world and despite its challenges, was never once been pushed to the brink of a red card. It would have required a heavenly amount of patience and composure and for it he should be celebrated along with all his other achievements.
#4 Philipp Lahm
Being a fullback can be hard. Being a successful fullback is even harder. Games are spent chasing road runner-esque wingers, combating strong and burly strikers along with being positionally aware to support the center backs. And when all of this is not being done, they run. Miles and miles of running, covering space, and basically pushing their lungs to the hilt. Lahm does all of this exceptionally well, and he’s done it without ever getting a red card.
If this was a story, it would be incredibly hard to believe that a fullback, playing in some of the biggest games of his generation, over a period of 11 years has never been sent off. It is ludicrous, this record, and speaks volumes of how efficient and splendid a player Philipp Lahm is. There is only one word left to describe him – awesome.
#5 Gary Lineker
England’s second highest goal scorer, while being known for his goal scoring exploits, is also known for defecating in his pants during a World Cup match. Grander accomplishments aside, he’s also known for being cut from the purest cloth, for being a saint among saints, in that, he’s never been booked in his career. No yellow cards, no red cards. Zero. Nada.
If you aren’t already acquainted with this fact, you’ll need to read it again. Most of you will dismiss it as a joke, before googling and inevitably finding out. I highly suggest you google and confirm. Lineker was one of the most sought after strikers of his time. He played for some big teams in Barcelona, Everton, Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur.
It is easy to dismiss this by saying he did it in the 70’s and 80’s but know that, that era was a more physical era and there were lesser rules protecting players back then. How he managed to possess the calm and patience to go through 466 matches without picking a booking is anyone’s guess, but its certainly a mighty good achievement.