Top 20 footballers with the most red cards in football history

Top 20 footballers with the most red cards in football history

Footballers usually get punished with yellow cards or red cards when they commit mistakes on the pitch. Interestingly, some have gained worldwide attention for obtaining plenty of red cards in their careers. This article looks at a list of footballers with the most red cards in the sport's history.

Footballers with the most red cards
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Source: UGC

Many people celebrate soccer stars with the most goals, assists and even clean sheets. However, those who do the dirty work are treated as villains. So, who has the most ever red cards? Find out below.

Footballers with the most red cards in soccer history

In this article, we sample a list of the top 20 footballers with the most red cards of all time, including the clubs they played.

20. Jermaine Jones (14)

Footballers with the most red cards
Jermaine Jones of the US walks off the pitch after being sent off against Ecuador at the 2016 Copa America Centenario match at CenturyLink Field on 16 June 2016 in Seattle. Photo: Otto Greule Jr
Source: Getty Images

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Jermaine Jones is a retired German-American defensive midfielder. He is among some of the famous footballers with the most red cards in history with 14 send-offs. Jones also played for both Germany and the American national teams. He spent his club career in England, Germany, the United States and Turkey.

19. Ricardo Quaresma (14)

Ricardo Quaresma is a veteran Portuguese winger and among the talented players to emerge from the country. He has played for FC Barcelona, Porto, Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Besiktas.

18. Giampiero Pinzi (14)

Footballers with the most red cards in soccer history
Giampiero Pinzi of Udinese Calcio celebrates after scoring against AS Roma during their Serie A match at Stadio Olimpico on 17 March 2014 in Rome, Italy. Photo: Paolo Bruno
Source: Getty Images

Another famous footballer with 14 red cards in his career is former Italian midfielder Giampiero Pinzi. The legendary soccer star played for Udinese, Lazio and Chievo, among other clubs in Italy.

17. Alberto Lopo (15)

Footballers with the most red cards of all time
Deportivo La Coruna's defender Alberto Lopo (on the ground) tackles Athletic Bilbao's Markel Susaeta during their Spanish league match at the Riazor Stadium on 13 January 2010. Photo: Miguel Riopa
Source: Getty Images

Alberto Lopo is a retired professional footballer who played for the Spain national football team. The defender was known for his rough tackles and could barely escape a card. He played for Espanyol, Getafe, and Deportivo La Coruña among others.

16. Philippe Mexes (16)

Footballers with the most red cards by year
AC Milan's defender Philippe Mexes (L) argues with referee Nicola Rizzoli when receiving a yellow card during a Serie A match against AS Roma at Stadio Olimpico on 20 December 2014. Photo: Paolo Bruno
Source: Getty Images

The former French centre-back was one of the toughest defenders of his generation. Philippe Mexes began his career at Auxerre and later joined Inter Milan and Roma in Italy.

15. Gonzalo Rodriguez (17)

Footballers with the most red cards during their career
Fiorentina's Gonzalo Rodriguez gestures during a Serie A match against Juventus in Turin on 20 August 2016. Photo: Loris Roselli
Source: Getty Images

The Fiorentina legend received his marching orders 17 times in his career, making it into our list of indiscipline soccer stars. He also played for Villareal and the Argentine national team.

14. Yannick Cahuzac (17)

Footballers with the most red cards in soccer history
Bastia's French midfielder Yannick Cahuzac (C) smiles while receiving a red card from French referee Franck Schneider during their French L1 match against Lyon on 5 November 2016. photo: Jeff Pachoud
Source: Getty Images

Yannick Cahuzac is a French defensive midfielder currently playing for Lens in League One. He is known for receiving three red cards in four games during the 2016/17 Ligue 1 season.

13. Deividas Semberas (17)

Footballers with the most red cards of all time
Deividas Semberas (L) of CSKA Moscow was sent off during their 2004/05 UEFA Champions League match against Paris Saint Germain. Photo: Eddy Lemaistre
Source: Getty Images

The legendary Lithuanian defender also joins our list of footballers with the most red cards by year. Deividas played for Dynamo Moscow, CSKA Moscow, and Alania Vladikavkaz.

12. Pablo Alfaro (18)

Footballers with the most red cards during their career
The referee sent off Pablo Alfaro (c) of Sevilla during their La Liga match against Real Sociedad at the Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian. Photo: Firo Foto
Source: Getty Images

Pablo Alfaro is the second-most red-carded player in La Liga history, with 18 dismissals. He was nicknamed 'The Surgeon' for his combative and solid football. The defender played for several clubs, including FC Barcelona, Real Zaragoza, Racing Santander, Atletico Madrid, and Sevilla.

11. Gerardo Torrado (18)

Who has the most ever red cards?
Mexico's Gerardo Torrado in action during their 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Group A match against Italy at the Maracana Stadium on 16 June 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Michael Regan
Source: Getty Images

Gerardo Torrado is a retired Mexican soccer star who captained the national team. He was a talented defensive midfielder with good ball recovery and quality passing abilities. Torrado also played for Sevilla, Racing Santander, and Cruz Azul, among other clubs.

Top 10 players with the most red cards

Some of the most cautioned players in soccer include Sergio Ramos, Rafael Marquez, and Gerardo Bedoya. But who is the most red-carded player in football? Let us find out below.

10. Gary Medel (18)

The Chilean international has established himself among the toughest defenders that not many strikers would like to face. But unfortunately, his ability to make critical stops and tackles has come at the cost of receiving 18 marching orders in his career.

9. Fernando Amorebieta (19)

Footballers with the most red cards
Fernando Amorebieta (R) of Athletic Bilbao is sent off by referee Cesar Muniz Fernandez against Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on 8 May 2010. Photo: Jasper Juinen
Source: Getty Images

Fernando Amorebieta is among the veteran soccer stars with multiple red cards in their careers. The Venezuela-born footballer spent most of his time at Athletic Bilbao and Fulham as a central defender.

8. Matteo Contini (20)

Top 10 players with the most red cards
Matteo Contini of AC Siena in action during their Serie A match against Genoa CFC at Artemio Franchi - Mps Arena Stadium on 10 December 2011 in Siena, Italy. Photo: Gabriele Maltinti
Source: Getty Images

The former Italian defender played for several clubs in Italy, including Napoli, Parma, and Real Zaragoza in Spain. Contini was among the highly-rated players during his time but had a problem avoiding punishment on the pitch.

7. Felipe Melo (20)

Footballers with the most red cards of all time
Felipe Melo of Galatasaray leaves the field after being sent off against Eskisehirspor at Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul on 3 December 2014. Photo: Onur Coban
Source: Getty Images

Brazilian international Felipe Melo enters our list with 20 red cards. The defensive midfielder was nicknamed 'Pitbull' for his style of play and physique, which resembles that of an MMA fighter.

6. Rafael Marquez (21)

Top 10 players with the most red cards
Hellas Verona's Rafael Marquez received his marching orders from referee Dino Tommasi (R) against Sampdoria at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on 8 December 2014 in Verona Italy. Photo: Dino Panato
Source: Getty Images

Marquez is considered the best defender in Mexico's history. He also won many titles at the club level with Monaco and Barcelona. Besides his brilliance on the pitch, the legendary centre-back collected 21 red cards.

5. Paolo Montero (21)

Most red carded player in football
Paolo Montero (R) of Juventus received a red card during their match against AS Roma at the Olympic stadium in Rome on 8 February 2004. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto
Source: Getty Images

The Uruguayan has the highest number of red cards received in Serie A history. Montero played for Juventus in Italy and believed in winning at all costs, even if it meant committing fouls.

4. Alexis Ruano Delgado (22)

Footballers with the most red cards in soccer history
Getafe's Delgado Alexis Ruano during a friendly match against Lazio at Olimpico Stadium on 11 August 2012. Photo: Giuseppe Bellini
Source: Getty Images

Delgado is known for his violence and hot temper on the pitch. However, the Spanish centre-back will primarily be remembered for punching Mario Mandzukic. Alexis has received 22 red cards throughout his career.

3. Cyril Rool (27)

Who has the most ever red cards?
Nice's midfielder Cyril Rool reacts after he received a red card during their French L1 football match against Monaco on 1 April 2007 at the Ray stadium. Photo: Valery Hache
Source: Getty Images

The retired French football midfielder is third on our list of players with multiple red cards in soccer. Many people will remember him for his ruthless game, blind tackles and being at the centre of brawls on the pitch.

2. Sergio Ramos (27)

Player with the most red cards in La Liga
Referee Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez sent off Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid during their La Liga match against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu on 23 April 2017. Photo: TF-Images
Source: Getty Images

Having a list of footballers with red cards without Sergio Ramos would be a crime. The former Real Madrid defender is known for his dirty work and strong character. He is currently the player with the most red cards in La Liga history (21).

The Spanish international picked the 27th red card of his career as a PSG player in December 2021. So, who tops our list of red-carded footballers?

1. Gerardo Bedoya (46)

Who has the most ever red cards?
Gerardo Bedoya of Independiente Santa Fe celebrates a goal during their Copa Sudamericana quarterfinal match against Velez Sarsfield on 1 November 2011. Photo: Guillermo Legaria
Source: Getty Images

The Colombian defensive midfielder is arguably the dirtiest footballer ever. Bedoya received 46 red cards while playing for several clubs. Interestingly, he was sent off just 21 minutes into his senior coaching debut in March 2016.

Most red-carded players in the Premier League

The player with the most red cards in the Premier League
Former Notts County star Alan Smith (L), Patric Viera of Arsenal (C) and Manchester United's Roy Keane (R) during their playing careers. Photo: Etsuo Hara, Matthew Lewis (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Who is the player with the most red cards in the Premier League? Former Arsenal and Man City defensive midfielder Patrick Viera leads the EPL's list with eight send-offs. Meanwhile, ex-Sunderland star Lee Cattermole had 7, making him the English footballer with the most red cards alongside Alan Smith (7). Roy Keane and Vinnie Jones also collected seven in their careers.

You might have noticed that stars with the most red cards in football are defenders or defensive midfielders. Generally, they are tasked with clearing the ball and stopping strikers from scoring at all costs.

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