Keane, Ferguson, Mackay or Souness: Who is football's No1 hard man?
These are the men that put the fear factor into football. The men that gave their opponents nightmares. Here we celebrate the top 10 tough-tackling hard men that we all hate to love.
1. Roy Keane
Born and raised on a tough estate in Cork, Roy Maurice Keane is the undisputed king of hard men, with his infamous revenge tackle on Alfe-Inge Haaland securing his status at the top of the tree. The tackle came four years after Haaland had accused Keane of faking injury in a game between Leeds United and Manchester United; after Haaland moved on to Manchester rivals City, Keane got his revenge in the 2001 derby, sending Haaland flying into mid air, breaking his leg in the process, and effectively ending the Norweigen's career.
Nicknamed 'Psycho' by Nottingham Forest Fans, Stuart Pearce was never one to shy away from a tackle. Giving 100 per cent every game and wearing short sleeves no matter what the weather conditions, Pearce typified what it meant to play with passion, drive and commitment - in one game, he notably tried running off a broken leg! Now that's a real hard man.
3. Duncan Ferguson
Scot Duncan ferguson was regularly on the wrong side of the referee, using his physical capabilities to bully defenders was a main part of his game - and the sly elbow to the chin was never far away should anyone get on Ferguson's wrong side. Outside of football he has four convicitons of assault, one of them coming when he found two burglars in his house. Duncan confronted the pair, with one of them subsequently spending time in hospital afterwards. Ferguson also served time in the slammer for sticking the nut on a Raith Rovers player while playing for Glasgow Rangers.
4. Romeo Benetti
Romeo Benetti is a former Italy international. His never-say-die attitude helped him enjoy a long and successful career, including winning many caps during the 1970s. Benetti was a brutal central midfielder who let no one past him without a fight. An opponent once said of him: "He was a beast. It didn't matter whether he was standing up, crouching, or lying flat on his face, if you got close he'd always manage to clatter you." But boy he could play as well.
5. Andoni Goikoetxea
Andoni Goikoetxea, dubbed 'The Butcher from Bilbao' because of his aggresive and rude nature, was one of the dirtiest players to grace the game of football, once breaking two players' legs in just one season; one of those players being Diego Maradona. Reports in Spain claimed Andoni kept the boots he wore to 'destroy' Maradona in a glass case in his house . . . Nice. Despite being a largely unpopular character in his country, the Spaniard went on to make more than 200 appearances for Athletic Bilbao, and register 40 caps for Spain, representing them in a World Cup and European Championship.
6. Vinnie Jones
Still holding the record for the quickest yellow card (three seconds) and infamous for having a squeeze of Paul Gascoigne's 'nuggets', Vinnie Jones was a renowned 'hard man' in football. Once a part of the 'Crazy Gang' Wimbledon team that beat Liverpool, the dominant team in England at the time, in the 1988 FA Cup final. Vinnie played a vital part in that victory, targetting fellow hard man Steve McMahon early on with a two footed challenge, setting up a battle between the two for the rest of the game.
7. Graeme Souness
After collecting red cards in England, Scotland and Italy, and most famously nearly causing a riot by planting a club flag in the centre spot of Fenerbahce, whilst boss of Turkish rivals Galatasaray, there is no doubt Souness is a hard man. Souness's most successful spell came at Liverpool in the early 1980s.
8. Dave Mackay
Raised in Edinburgh, Dave Mackay was part of the Tottenham double-winning team in 1961. In an era where most tough tackling was allowed, Mackay was one of the hardest men in the game, coming back from breaking his leg twice to go on to have a successful career. Manchester United legend George Best described Dave as "the hardest man I have ever played against - and certainly the bravest".
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Standing at 6ft 5in, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is man mountain, and, being a black belt in Taekwondo, there won't be many people that are able to get the better of him physcially. Having been involved in a large amount of scuffles, it's fair to say Zlatan often comes out on top.
10. Ron Harris
Ron 'Chopper' Harris was widely regarded as one of the toughest defenders during the mid 1960's. He plied his trade at Chelsea, making 795 appearances for them, holding his place in the first team for a span of 18 years.
Calling all football fans: Do you agree with Oliver? Do you think Roy Keane holds claim to being the toughest footballer? Whatever your view we'd love to hear from you.