5 times footballers forgot their media training to have massive rant at rivals

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Footballers are not just trained to perform on the pitch – they are also given guidance on how to act off it.

Media training is considered essential for any youngster coming through, with players told how to represent their club’s best interest in front of the cameras and Dictaphones.

But, try as they might to limit the amount of controversy, it does not always go to plan.

Emotions run high after matches and when a microphone is shoved in front of players they sometimes forget their obligations and let rip.

Players humans, not robots. And occasionally the mask slips enough to give as a peak behind the veneer of professionalism.

Here are five occasions when players have ranted when their clubs would really rather they had kept their mouth shut – including one both fans of Arsenal and Watford will recall ahead of today’s game.

Troy Deeney

You wouldn’t think that Deeney would have an axe to grind after Watford’s 2-1 win over Arsenal in October 2017. But you’d be wrong.

Arsene Wenger had bemoaned the decision to give the Hornets a penalty which Deeney converted, calling it a “scandalous decision”.

Tom Cleverley scored in injury-time to complete Watford’s comeback victory before Deeney went into the BT Sport studio to give his take on the game.

"I've heard Wenger's already blaming (the decision) as the reason why they lost,” he began, before going down a path which would have worried Watford’s media department.

“I'm not going to be the one to tell Mr Wenger about himself, but there's a reason why they lost and it wasn't because of one penalty.

"I'll have to watch what I say… It's (having) a bit of cojones, a bit of nuts."

He added: "Whenever I play Arsenal, I'll go up and think, 'Let me whack the first one and see who wants it'. "I came on today and jumped with [Per] Mertesacker. I didn't even have to jump, actually – I nodded it down. The crowd gets up – 'Yeah, we've got somebody who can win it' – and they all just backed off.

"For me as a player I just think, 'Happy days'. That's my strength. I know I'm not technically gifted like they are, not as quick, but if you want to fight with me, I'm gonna beat you all day."

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown was present and said his "blood would be boiling" if he were a current player listening to Deeney's words.

Charlie Austin

Deeney’s words were measured, if controversial. Austin’s efforts were a bit different: so passionate and enraged that he became an unwitting viral star.

Austin’s anger came after Southampton had a goal ruled out for offside by referee Simon Hooper in a 1-1 draw with Watford in November 2018.

VAR had yet to be introduced in the Premier League and Austin could not contain his fury in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

“It’s ridiculous, they (Watford) shouldn’t be in the game,” he fumed.

“We scored a perfectly good goal that was ruled out for offside. The officials cost us two points. They said it was offside. That is a joke.

“People go on about VAR, they clearly need help. If this is the best, most-watched league in the world then give them all the help they need. It’s a joke.”

Austin escaped an FA ban for his rant, but he did not escape the punishment of becoming a meme. His rant was combined with Blur’s song Parklife to create an instant classic.

Didier Drogba

HAVE YOUR SAY! What is your most memorable footballer rant? Comment below.

"Are you watching this? It’s a disgrace. It's a f**king disgrace,” screamed a wild-eyed Drogba into the nearest TV camera. Not particularly subtle, but certainly effective.

The Chelsea striker was irate after his side had been knocked out of the Champions League in the semi-finals by Barcelona in 2009.

The Blues drew the first leg 0-0 at the Camp Nou and were leading the second 1-0 thanks to Michael Essien’s stunner when it all went wrong.

Referee Tom Henning Ovrebo waved away four separate Chelsea appeals for a penalty as Andres Iniesta’s goal sent Barca through to the final on away goals.

Florent Malouda and Drogba had decent shouts turned down. Gerard Pique somehow survived a blatant handball. And Michael Ballack nearly caused himself some damage by screaming so loudly in pursuit of Ovrebo after another late handball call.

Drogba’s protests saw him collect a six-game European ban, while Chelsea were fined £85,000 for "the improper conduct of their players”.

“Players make many mistakes, coaches make mistakes, referees make mistakes – that’s why we speak about giving them the benefit of the doubt,” Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink said after the match.

“But if you have seen three or four situations waved away then [the referee’s performance] was the worst I have seen.”

“It was not my best day really,” Ovrebo later admitted in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca. “Some days you are not at the level you should be. No, I can’t be proud of that performance.”

Judging by a tweet earlier this year, Drogba does not regret his actions. “Expensive few words , but still a disgrace though,” he wrote.

Roy Keane

Keane is no shrinking violet, so the former Manchester United captain has his fair share of rants and raves. But really none of them compete with his epic fallout with ex-Ireland boss Mick McCarthy.

The rant took place at the 2002 World Cup when tensions were running extremely high between the duo.

Keane had angered McCarthy by conducting an interview with The Irish Times, in which he publicly criticised the team’s preparation for the tournament, while McCarthy had excused Keane of faking an injury to miss a game against earlier in the year.

Things then came to a head on the training pitch, where McCarthy and Keane traded X-rated insults.

Ireland striker Niall Quinn told BBC Radio Five Live that Keane’s barbs amounted to a "systematic and clever destruction" in which he wanted to “execute someone verbally”.

The “clever” bit is certainly questionable, but it did the trick.

"Mick, you're a liar… you're a f**king w**ker,” he reportedly screamed. “I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person.

“You're a f**king w**ker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country!

“You can stick it up your b***ocks."

Keane flew home from Saipan and refused to play for Ireland while McCarthy remained manager. Without Keane, Ireland were knocked out by Spain on penalties in the last-16 and McCarthy resigned later that year, paving the way for Keane’s return.

Robbie Savage

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It was simpler times in 2006 – times when a player would phone in to a radio show to confront the presenter on his opinions.

Back then Savage was unhappy having been frozen out of the Wales squad by manager John Toshack. And, having heard former Wales player Leighton James’ take on the matter, he decided to call in to have it out with him live on air.

What followed was probably the best content Real Radio Wales’ phone-in ever enjoyed.

Savage continually challenged James on his opinion of his ability, before engaging in a strange conversation about how best to communicate with Toshack.

"How can a modern-day manager in this day and age not have a mobile phone?” Savage asked, incredulously.

"Why should he?” replied James. "Why can't you get a number off Craig Bellamy? It is not rocket science."

"What number? What number?” Savage said. “I have called the Welsh FA and I cannot get hold of the man. I know for a fact that as long as John Toshack is manager of the Welsh team, I will never play again.”

On and on the increasingly bizarre conversation meandered until things got a bit personal.

“You weren't a bad player but you weren't the greatest player in the world," Savage snapped at James, who won 54 caps for Wales.

"You were a technical player but you weren't the best tackler. And if I played against you nowadays, dear oh dear."

James shot back with “you wouldn't catch me son” before offering a prescient prediction: "One day, when you have got a command of the English language Robbie you will perhaps become a pundit."

  • Champions League
  • Premier League
  • World Cup
  • Watford FC
  • Southampton FC
  • Chelsea FC

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