Chances are, if you have a passion for the game of soccer and are not specifically a Chelsea supporter, you most likely (strongly) dislike the Blues from London. The Premier League bad boys are a mixture of arrogance, brashness and talent, with players and a manager that are immensely polarizing. And Jose Mourinho, the club’s manager, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mourinho, the self-proclaimed “Special One,” is both widely regarded as one of the top managers in the world, as well as a being described as an “enemy of football“ by UEFA’s referee committee chairman, Volker Roth, a decade ago. The comment from Roth was just the beginning of controversies surrounding the Portuguese manager.
In the 10 years following the incident, Mourinho has been fined for complaining about referees and meeting with a rival player without club consent. He was banned for improper conduct, eye gouged then-assistant Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova during a heated match in 2011, and most recently been accused of using sexist language against his own team doctor, Eva Carneiro. The latest episode could land Mourinho on the sidelines for up to five matches.
Along with their manager, some of the Chelsea players bring heat onto themselves as well. Captain John Terry was once involved in allegations that he had a four-month affair with then-teammate Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend. The circus surrounding the news cost the defender his role as captain of the England national team. Two years following the embarrassing event, Terry was eventually banned for four matches and fined £220,000 for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. The defender was once against stripped of his captaincy of the England national team (he was reinstated prior to the Ferdinand incident) and declined to appeal the ban/fine.
While the England national team relieved their captain from his duties for the inexcusable behavior, Chelsea kept Terry as their club captain, leading to some to label the west London club as hypocrites. Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror suggested that the club failed to take a real stand on the issue. “Yesterday was Chelsea’s opportunity to take a stand,” wrote Lipton. “Not by sacking Terry for his racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand – after all, nobody called for Liverpool to sack Luis Suarez – but by making a mark, showing a principle, an understanding of the hurt and damage the affair has caused, demonstrating an awareness of how this case has led to the worst outpourings of tribalism, and at times outright and blatant racial abuse. And, sadly, Chelsea flunked it.”
Outside of their manager and the club’s captain, Chelsea’s star striker, Diego Costa, is also one of the most disliked soccer players in the world. The skillful forward is an out-and-out goalscorer, but his overly-aggressive style of play rubs many people the wrong way. Costa’s villain-esque antics would be perfect in the world of wrestling. In fact, after retirement from soccer, the striker could make a smooth transition into the WWE.
This behavior from Costa came to the forefront during Chelsea’s latest clash with Arsenal. Although Costa was seen slapping Gunner defender Laurent Koscielny and leaving fingernail scratches on Gabriel Paulista, the striker remained on the pitch while Gabriel was sent off by match referee Mike Dean.
It was revealed on Monday that while Costa was not sent off during Saturday’s match, he was charged with violent conduct by the FA and could face a three-match ban. The behavior from Costa over the weekend was nothing new. Costa is regularly involved in fracases during matches and his own teammate, Kurt Zouma, recently told beIN Sports that the striker “likes to cheat.” “No, we’re not surprised because we know Diego,” explained Zouma. “Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponent out of his game. That happened in the game but he’s a really nice guy. We’re proud to have him, like the other players, and we’re happy to win this game today.”
Some Chelsea supporters may say that negative attention is drawn on themselves because of their recent success; however, Manchester City has compiled their team much like the Blues have (with massive spending) and have won titles, but the Citizens are not nearly as disliked around the world as Chelsea. In fact, City have one of the most likable superstars in Sergio Agüero out of the entire Premier League.
Nevertheless, the persona of this Chelsea team fits the exact style in which the manager is most comfortable with. The feisty Mourinho has never backed down from a fight and is seemingly a big believer in the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” With eight months still left in the 2015-16 Premier League campaign, there is sure to be more controversy surrounding this Chelsea team and their manager.
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