A Career Of Fair Play – 13/2/17

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With Philipp Lahm announcing his retirement from the professional game recently, if he avoids a red card between now and the end of the 2016/17 campaign he’ll go down in history as one of the small band of players who have never been sent off during their playing careers. have dug through the archives on this one to pick out a few other players from history that achieved the same and those who unfortunately came close to joining the select group.

Raul Gonzalez (Real Madrid, Schalke, al-Sadd, New York Cosmos & Spain)
A career spanning 17 years with a return of 388 goals in 932 club games, 44 international goals for Spain and Champions League success in 1998, 2000 and 2002 (including becoming the first player to score in two finals) and six Spanish titles among a vast trophy haul – one thing he didn’t collect was a red card.

Gary Lineker (Leicester, Everton, Barcelona, Tottenham, Nagoya Grampus Eight & England)
281 goals in 567 matches was an impressive enough record for the England international, but not only did the now pundit never see red during his career – he didn’t even pick up a yellow card either.

Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
A trophy laden career and success at international level, with more than 750 games for club and country, Iniesta is another never to have seen red.

Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid & France)
All-time French top scorer at Real Madrid and with 649 matches under his belt, Benzema has again never seen red.

Joao Moutinho (Porto, Sporting CP, Monaco & Portugal)
The 30 year old midfielder continues his trade at Monaco, and with a career record spanning 663 games so far, he more than deserves his spot on this list.

Michel Platini (Nancy, Saint-Etienne, Juventus & France)
The three time Ballon d’Or winner took in 655 games for club and country during his career and if his 2014 observation on the game is true – ‘Football was more violent than today. Nowadays referees protect players better than before with yellow and red cards, which is great for the spectacle’ – it’s unlikely we’ll see many more additions to this list.

Gaetano Scirea (Atalanta, Juventus & Italy)
The ‘gentleman’ of Italian footballer, a 1982 FIFA World Cup winner and with 14 of his 16 professional seasons with Juventus – he became the first player to win all three major UEFA trophies Antonio Cabrini. He died in 1989 in a car crash in Poland while scouting for Juve.

Damien Duff (Blackburn, Chelsea, Newcastle, Fulham, Melbourne City, Shamrock Rovers & Republic of Ireland)
A much-travelled winger with a 19 year career and more than 700 games under his belt, not a single red card.

Aaron Hughes (Newcastle, Aston Villa, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Brighton, Melbourne City, Kerala Blasters, Hearts & Northern Ireland)
With 455 Premier League appearances, 103 caps for his country and matches in the Football League his attitude on collecting cards is pretty sensible. ‘When you’re sent off, you’re instantly the loser.’

Marco Bode (Werder Bremen & Germany)
Having spent his entire career at Bremen, now serving as chairman, the 2002 World Cup finalist, 1992 European Cup Winners’ Cup winner, Bundesliga champion and three-time German Cup winner, only picked up 13 yellow cards in his 529 matches.

Giorgos Sideris (Atromitos Piraeus, Olympiacos, Royal Antwerp & Greece)
Leading the Olympiacos front line for 11 years from 1959-1970, scoring 224 goals in 284 games, as well as 70 in the Greek Cup and six in the final itself (both remain records). He also became the first Greek player to move abroad in 1970 signing for Belgian side Royal Antwerp. Again he was never dismissed.

Dinos Kouis (Agrotikos Asteras, Aris & Greece)
17 year’s at Aris between 1974-1991, the midfielder picked up 142 goals in 473 league games for them and remains their record scorer and appearance maker.

Jan Popluhar (Slovan Bratislava, Ruda Hvezda Brno, Lyon, Zbrojovka Brno, Slovan Wien & Czechoslovakia)
Slovakia’s best player of the 20th century, the defender picked up a fair play award in 1967 and was never sent off in 306 league fixtures or 62 international appearances.

Dudu Georgescu (Progresul Bucuresti, CSM Resita, Dinamo Bucuresti, Bacau, Gloria Buzau, Flacara Moreni, Muscelul Campulung, Unirea Urziceni)
Spending most of his career at Dinamo, four league tites, a Romanian Cup and European Golden Shoe’s in 1975 and 1977 – no red card.

Cuneyt Tanman (Galatasaray & Turkey)
The Galatasaray captain never saw red in his 17-year career that saw him lift two championships and two Turkish Cups back in the 1980’s.

Maxime Bossis (Nantes, RC Paris & France)
710 games for club and country and defender only received four yellow cards. He was a European champion with France in 1984.

Dominique Rocheteau (Saint-Etienne, Paris, Toulouse & France)
Another EURO ’84 winner with Les Bleus, the forward, nicknamed ‘The Green Angel’, only saw yellow three times in 571 matches.

Andrej Kvasnak (Sparta Praha & Czechoslovakia)
Sparta’s player of the century, he was a runner-up in the 1962 World Cup and was never sent off in 433 club fixtures.

Yiannos Ioannou (APOEL & Cyprus)
From 1981 to 2000 the striker scored 264 goals in 464 club appearances, picking up 41 caps for Cyprus. It returned 16 major trophies. ‘Mr Goal’ was only booked three times.

And a couple of notable near misses.

Ryan Giggs (Manchester United FC)
Never sent off in 963 Manchester United outings, Giggs also picked up 62 caps for Wales. Two slips against Norway in 2001 keeps him off the list as he was shown two yellows and the automatic red.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
No red cards in his club career so far but for Argentina he was sent off after barely a minute for retaliation against Hungary in a friendly in August 2005.


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