Top 20 players with the most red cards in football history

Top 20 players with the most red cards in football history

Helix Odhiambo, Jackline Wangare
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:03 PM

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 football's history.

Footballers with the most red cards
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
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.

Footballers with the most red cards in football

Who has the most red cards in football? Here is a list of the top 20 footballers with the most red cards of all time, including the clubs they played.

20. Jermaine Jones

who has the most red cards in football
MLS soccer player Jermaine Jones attends MLS Media Week - Day 2 at Manhattan Beach Marriott in Manhattan Beach, California. Photo: Joshua Blanchard
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Jermaine Junior Jones
  • Age: 41 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 14
  • Appearance: 347
  • Goals: 39

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

19. Ricardo Quaresma

vinnie jones red cards
Ricardo Quaresma of Vitoria SC during the Liga Bwin match between Belenenses SAD and Vitoria Guimaraes SC at Estadio Nacional in Oeiras, Portugal. Photo: Gualter Fatia
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Ricardo Andrade Quaresma Bernardo
  • Age: 39 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 14
  • Appearance: 683
  • Goals: 113

Ricardo Quaresma is a veteran Portuguese professional footballer who currently plays for Vitória Guimarães. He mainly plays as a winger and is known for his creative dribbling, technique, and trickery.

Quaresma began his professional career at Sporting CP and has since had a journeyman career, having played for some of Europe's top clubs, such as Barcelona, Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Besiktas.

18. Giampiero Pinzi

player with the most red cards
Giampiero Pinzi of Udinese Calcio in action during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and Atalanta BC at Stadio Friuli in Udine, Italy. Photo: Gabriele Maltinti
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Giampiero Pinzi Cavaliere
  • Age: years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 14
  • Appearance: 436
  • Goals: 20

Giampiero Pinzi is an Italian football manager and former player. Pinzi began his playing career with Lazio in 1988 and spent time with several clubs before retiring in 2019. He is best known for his ability to develop young players and for his ability to get the best out of his teams.

17. Alberto Lopo

how many red cards does ramos have
Photo of Alberto Lopo García Photo: MB Media
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Alberto Lopo García
  • Age: 42 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 15
  • Appearance: 478
  • Goals: 22

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

sergio ramos red cards
Philippe Mexes of AC Milan during the AUDI Cup bronze final match between Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. Photo: VI Images
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Philippe Mexès
  • Age: 40 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 16
  • Appearance: 402
  • Goals: 24

The former French centre-back was one of the toughest defenders of his generation. Philippe Mexes began his career at Auxerre, where he made over 120 appearances and was part of their 2001–02 Ligue 1 title-winning team.

He then moved to Roma, where he played for seven seasons and was part of the club's 2007 Supercoppa Italiana-winning team. Mexes made over 25 appearances for the French national team and was part of their squads at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012.

15. Gonzalo Rodriguez

player with the most red cards
Gonzalo Javier Rodríguez of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio San Paolo in Naples, Italy. Photo: Francesco Pecoraro
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Gonzalo Javier Rodríguez Prado
  • Age: years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 17
  • Appearance: 433
  • Goals: 34

Gonzalo Rodriguez is an Argentine former professional footballer who played as a centre-back. He was a part of the Argentina Olympic team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has made several appearances for the senior national team.

He is known for his strength and reliability in defence and has been one of the most consistent players in Spanish football in recent years.

14. Yannick Cahuzac

player with the most red cards
Yannick Cahuzac Coach adjoint of Lens during the training session of Lens at La Gaillette in Lens, France. Photo: Franco Arland
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Yannick Cahuzac
  • Age: 38 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 17
  • Appearance: 419
  • Goals: 8

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

13. Deividas Semberas

sergio ramos red cards
Deividas Semberas of CSKA Moscow in action during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals, First Leg match between FC Internazionale Milano and CSKA Moscow in Milan, Italy. Photo: Massimo Cebrelli
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Deividas Šemberas
  • Age: 44 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 17
  • Appearance: 466
  • Goals: 13

Deividas Semberas is a former Lithuanian professional footballer who played as a defender. He began his career with FC Vilnius before moving to Italy to play for AS Roma, Udinese, and Chievo Verona, among others.

He also played for the Lithuanian national team, making over 30 appearances and scoring 1 goal. After his playing career, he became a coach, managing several clubs in Lithuania.

12. Pablo Alfaro

who has the most red cards in football
Coach Gustavo Alfaro of Ecuador looks on prior to the Group A - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match between Netherlands and Ecuador at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Pablo Morano
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Pablo Alfaro Armengot
  • Age: 53 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 18
  • Appearance: 593
  • Goals: 12

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

vinnie jones red cards
Mexico Gerardo Torrado during the World Cup match between Uruguay v Mexico. Photo: Eric Verhoeven
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Gerardo Torrado Díez de Bonill
  • Age: 43 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 18
  • Appearance: 536
  • Goals: 16

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.

10. Gary Medel

player with the most red cards
Gary Medel of Bologna FC looks on during the Serie A match between Bologna FC and Atalanta BC at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara in Bologna, Italy. Photo: Matteo Ciambelli
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Gary Alexis Medel Soto
  • Age: 35 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 18
  • Appearance: 499
  • Goals: 23

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

how many red cards does ramos have
Fernando Amorebieta gestures after missing a goal during the Spanish league football match Sevilla FC vs Real Sporting de Gijon at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla. Photo: Cristina Quicler
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Fernando Gabriel Amorebieta Mardaras
  • Age: 37 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 19
  • Appearance: 453
  • Goals: 9

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

sergio ramos red cards
Matteo Contini of AC Siena in action during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and AC Siena at Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, Italy. Photo: Gabriele Maltinti
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Matteo Contini
  • Age: 42 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 20
  • Appearance: 468
  • Goals: 7

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

pepe red cards
Felipe Melo of Palmeiras celebrates after scoring the second goal of his team during the match between Flamengo and Palmeiras at Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Miguel Schincariol
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Felipe Melo de Carvalho
  • Age: 39 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 20
  • Appearance: 632
  • Goals: 60

Felipe Melo is a professional soccer player from Brazil. He was nicknamed 'Pitbull' for his style of play and physique, which resembles that of an MMA fighter.

He plays as a defensive midfielder for Fluminense. Felipe Melo is known for his strong defensive skills and leadership ability. He has also represented his country in international competitions, winning the Copa America in 2007 and the Confederations Cup in 2009.

6. Rafael Marquez

who has the most red cards in football
Rafael Marquez of Mexico looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Brazil and Mexico at Samara Arena in Samara, Russia. Photo: Chris Brunskill
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Rafael Márquez Álvarez
  • Age: 43 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 21
  • Appearance: 628
  • Goals: 27

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

vinnie jones red cards
Paolo Montero, Coach of Juventus U19 during the Friendly match between Juventus U19 and Servette U19 at Juventus Center Vinovo in Vinovo, Italy. Photo: Chris Ricco
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Rónald Paolo Montero Iglesias
  • Age: 51 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 21
  • Appearance: 406
  • Goals: 10

Paolo Montero is an Uruguayan football coach and former player. He began his professional playing career in 1989 with Deportivo Maldonado and played for several other clubs, including Juventus F.C. and U.C. Sampdoria.

He also represented Uruguay in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. After retiring from playing, he moved into coaching and has managed several clubs in the Uruguayan Primera División, including Montevideo Wanderers and Club Nacional de Football. He has also been the assistant manager for the Uruguayan national team.

Paolo Montero 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

player with the most red cards
Alexis Ruano of Deportivo Alaves reacts during the La Liga match between Real Sporting de Gijon and Deportivo Alaves at Estadio El Molinon in Gijon, Spain. Photo: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Alexis Ruano Delgado
  • Age: 37 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 22
  • Appearance: 60
  • Goals: 18

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. Sergio Ramos

sergio ramos red cards
Sergio Ramos of Paris SG in action during the Round of 16 French Cup match between Pays de Cassel and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France. Photo: Sylvain Lefevre
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Sergio Ramos García
  • Age: 36 years old (as of 2023)
  • Sergio Ramos' red cards: 24
  • Appearance: 789
  • Goals: 110

The former Real Madrid defender is known for his dirty work and strong character. How many red cards does Ramos have? He is currently the player with 24 red cards in La Liga history. In the Champions League, Ramos has amassed four red cards, making him both the most-carded player and joint-most red-carded player in Champions League history.

2. Cyril Rool

who has the most red cards in football
Cyril Rool poses on October 2, 2008, in Nice during the official photoshoot for the club's 2008/2009 season. Photo: Stephane Danna
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Cyril Rool
  • Age: 47 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 25
  • Appearance: 366
  • Goals: 4

Cyril Rool is a professional former French footballer known for his ability to control the game's tempo. The retired French football midfielder retired, having had 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.

1. Gerardo Bedoya

pepe red cards
Gerado Bedoya celebrates his goal during a game against River Plate, 02 December 2001 in Buenos Aires. Photo: Fabian Credillas
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Gerardo Bedoya
  • Age: 41 years old (as of 2023)
  • Red cards: 46
  • Appearance: 292
  • Goals: 22

Who has the most red cards in history? The Colombian defensive midfielder is arguably one of the footballers with the most red cards totalling 46. Interestingly, he was sent off just 21 minutes into his senior coaching debut in March 2016.

Top 20 players with the most red cards

Below is a battle of football players with the most red cards.

Name

Red cards

Gerardo Bedoya

46

Cyril Rool

25

Sergio Ramos

24

Alexis Ruano

22

Paolo Montero

21

Rafael Marquez

21

Felipe Melo

20

Matteo Contini

20

Fernando Amorebieta

19

Gary Medel

18

Gerardo Torrado

18

Pablo Alfaro

18

Deividas Semberas

17

Yannick Cahuzac

17

Gonzalo Rodriguez

17

Philippe Mexes

16

Alberto Lopo

15

Giampiero Pinzi

14

Ricardo Quaresma

14

Jermaine Jones

14

Who is the most red-carded players in the Premier League?

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. Vinnie Jones' red cards are also seven making him the first player to get sent off three times in a single season.

How many red cards does Peoe have?

Pepe's red cards are three in total. He is considered an aggressive defender, which makes him so tough to play against!

How many yellow cards did Italy get?

Italy has received an average of 13 yellow and 0 red cards in UEFA Nations League A. The Italy national football team is one of the most successful in the world, having won the FIFA World Cup four times.

The team has also won the UEFA European Championship three times and the Olympic Games once. The team is currently managed by Roberto Mancini and is captained by Leonardo Bonucci.

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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Legendary boxers include Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, and Manny Pacquiao. They have registered incredible results in the sport and made millions of dollars. But who has more wealth?

Authors
Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.
Jackline Wangare photo
Jackline Wangare
Jackline Simwa is a content writer at Sports Brief covering sports and lifestyle topics. Previously, she worked at The Campanile by Kenyatta University and as a Content Creator (Briefly.co.za, Legit.ng, Tuko.co.ke, Yen.com.gh).