Tom Mallows’ highlight of the footballing weekend was Giovanni throwing his toys out of the pram in classic sulky foreign footballer style.
We haven’t been treated to the sight of such acts of petulance for a while so I thought I would look back at some of the foreign players who pioneered the art of sulkiness:
Who else to start with but \’Le Grand Erique’. When he wasn’t strutting around with his collar up and stamping on opponents he was kung-fu kicking fans in the stand (though I admit I did find that quite funny). Love him or hate him, he was one of the Premier League’s most entertaining foreign imports.
Paolo Di Canio
Our Paolo just couldn’t control that fiery Latin temperament of his and often found himself in trouble with the football authorities. No more so than when he pushed over referee Paul Alcock when playing for Sheffield Wednesday in 1999 (though again I also found that quite funny).
This buffoon cost Everton nearly £4.5 million in the summer of 2000 and was tipped to be the next Patrick Vieira. But the only similarity with the Arsenal midfielder was that he had two legs. After six months of dreadful performances things came to a head at Highbury when, in the middle of a particularly appalling display, an Everton fan invaded the pitch offering to swap shirts with him. Nyarko was so shocked he proceeded to storm off the pitch and refused to play for the club ever again. He did though, two years later when the club couldn’t flog him anywhere else.
This moody Frenchman always has a beef about something. Even when he was winning the league at Chelsea he kept trying to engineer a move to AC Milan. But it was at Arsenal that his moodiness really came to the fore. First, in February 2008, he was so furious at a team-mate for giving away a last minute penalty at Birmingham he started to storm off the pitch, kicking the advertising hoardings on the way, before refusing to leave the pitch altogether at the final whistle. Then to top that, in November 2008 he decided to slag off his team-mates in the press. He was promptly dropped and stripped of the captaincy.
A player everyone loves to hate. English football fans never like cheats so Diouf’s diving antics were never going to endear him to Premier League supporters. But Diouf also picked up the rather unsavoury habit of spitting at both players and fans. Diouf laughingly tried to defend himself, saying it wasn’t offensive in his culture. I dread to think what is offensive.
Ah who else but le sulk himself! A history of moodiness longer than my arm all started when he engineered a move from Arsenal to Real Madrid in 1999 in order to earn more money. Just one season, 4 goals and a 45 day ban for refusing to train later, he was off again, this time to Paris St Germain. Since then he has made a habit of signing for a club, only to get bored and move a year or so later (Fenerbache, Man City, Bolton anyone??). He has been strangely quiet at his current club Chelsea , choosing instead to, shock horror, concentrate on football and score goals. Here’s hoping Giovanni’s strop will remind Nicolas how it should be done.