The 10 Craziest Players You Need To Watch At Euro 2012

zlatan ibrahimovic plays soccer

Photo: AP

European soccer is as much about the personalities as it is about the games themselves.And at Euro 2012 — the second-most important tournament on earth — a small army of nutty players will be squarely in the spotlight.

Even if you aren’t into soccer as a sport, you should keep an eye out for any entertaining antics coming from guys who have previously done things like: burned down bathrooms, bought seven-figure hair transplants, and shot youth players with air rifles.

10. Ashley Cole once shot an intern with an air rifle for fun

Cole was gallivanting around Chelsea HQ with a .22-calibre air rifle, and an intern ended up shot.

He also cheated on Cheryl Cole, and got himself dumped for it.

9. Patrice Evra led his national team to stage a mutiny during the World Club

Evra was the captain of the France team that up and quit during the 2010 World Cup.

He nearly fought a fitness coach over the mutiny -- which permanently stained the French national team.

8. Franck Ribery was charged with sleeping with an underage prostitute

Ribery claimed he didn't know a 15-year-old was underage when he solicited her services.

Previously, he finagled his way out of his Turkish club so sneakily that his former agent threatened him with a baseball bat.

7. Nigel de Jong has broken more legs than you can shake a stick at

De Jong is probably most famous for his reckless karate-kick tackle against Spain in the World Cup final.

But he's done much worse.

He broke Ben Arfa's leg two seasons ago, and injured US star Stuart Holden so badly that he's yet to fully recover.

6. Wayne Rooney got a $50,000 hair transplant last summer

Rooney will be suspended for the first two games of Euro 2012.

Last season looked to be on his way out of Manchester United after getting embroiled in a prostitution scandal and saying he wanted more money from the club.

But then he got a new contract, bought $50,000 worth of hair plugs, and is now the petulant darling of Man U again.

5. Antonio Cassano is so crazy that he got a word named after him

His Wikipedia entry mentions the Italian word 'cassanata' -- which is used to describe a player who acts like a petulant brat during games -- in the first paragraph.

You know you're crazy if they have to make up a word to describe your antics.

An excerpt (via Grantland):

A lot of guys in the team had crashed their cars in the storm, but nobody did it quite as massively as I did. I won the crashing-your-car tournament.

3. Nicklas Bendtner once took an ego test where subjects are ranked from 1-9. He scored a 10.

His ego is literally off the charts, check this out from the Guardian:

In the spring of 2010 Bendtner and Arsenal had a visit by a psychologist who, among other things, tried to measure how much self-esteem the players had. He ranked his results from one to nine. Bendtner scored 10.


2. John Terry had an affair with his teammate's wife, then allegedly racially abused an opponent

Terry is currently being investigated for allegedly racially abusing an opponent during a match this year.

His other exploits: getting a red card for kneeing a Barcelona player in the leg for no reason, and getting his teammate's wife pregnant.

1. Mario Balotelli burned down his bathroom with fireworks

He's the undisputed craziest athlete on Earth.

He's fought teammates, burned his bathroom down with fireworks, and racked up six-figures worth of team fines in his brief career.

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