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Top 10 Players With Most Red Cards In World Football


As Diego Maradona has rightly said, “A red card is a bitter dose to swallow, but it’s a part of the game.” For numerous Football fanatics, Football is not just a game but an emotion. But as we all sometimes lose our temper, our field maestros are no different. The desire to succeed can bring out both the best and the worst in players. But, it seems that for a few football players, being the bad boy of their team takes on a life of its own. 

This blog will talk about some footballers who are not just remembered for their goals or assists but also for being the players with the most red cards and heated confrontations. With some drama and controversy, these bad boys are infamous for their on-field antics and are on the referee’s book more frequently than others.

Top 10 Players With the Most Red Cards in Football 

In the world of Football, where emotions run high, the pursuit of victory can sometimes lead to heated clashes on the pitch, which may result in a player getting a red card. This can debilitate a team’s winning ability and can be advantageous to its opponent. 

Join us as we unravel the stories behind the red cards, the moments of heated passion, and the players who are known not just for their skill but also for their occasional forays.

1. Gerardo Bedoya (46 red cards)

Gerardo Bedoya- players with most red cards

Bedoya, born in Ebejico in 1975, is often termed the ‘dirtiest player’ as he holds the record for the player with the most red cards in Football.

A Red Card Moment

Bedoya won the first of his three titles at Deportivo Cali in 1998, recording 14 red cards in the process.

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red

  • Bedoya won the first of his three titles at Deportivo Cali in 1998, recording 14 red cards in the process.
  • He was a significant player in Colombia’s lone major footballing win in 2001 when his strike from outside the penalty area helped Colombia defeat Honduras in the semi-finals. They would go on to win the championship, defeating Mexico 1-0
  • His 86th-minute thunderbolt for Argentina’s Racing against title rivals River Plate secured a 1-1 draw, keeping Racing top and all but securing the 2001 Apertura championship. It was Racing’s first championship in 35 years.

2. Sergio Ramos ( 28 Red Cards) 

Sergio Ramos- players with most red cards

The 35-year-old also is known for his rebellious streak on the field. His astounding 191 appearances (the cumulative number of yellow and red cards he has received throughout his career in La Liga) in the Spanish top division have left a lasting mark on the official’s record book.

A Red Card Moment

Ramos received two cautions in the span of 30 seconds, earning him a 28th red card at Stade de Reims. He also received two second-half yellow cards, forcing him to leave the field before the finish of the game as Madrid lost to Espanyo. This was just one month into Ramos’ first season with Madrid.

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red

  • During the 2014 UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, Ramos experienced one of the most memorable moments in sports history. 
  • Real Madrid prevailed 4-1 in extra time to win the game and claim “La Decima” (their 10th Champions League championship). 
  • Ramos’ appointment as Real Madrid’s captain in 2015 was one of the turning points in his career. Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League three times in a row from 2016 to 2018.
  • After 16 illustrious seasons, Sergio Ramos said goodbye to Real Madrid in August 2021. He relocated to Paris Saint-Germain, where he carried on as one of the most recognizable defenders in sport.

3. Cyril Rool (27 red cards)

Cyril Rool- players with most red cards

Born in France in 1975, Cyril Rool is known for his occasional indiscretions and is among the players with the most red cards in football. Before the 2009–10 season, he was issued 25 red cards and an incredible 187 yellow cards.

A Red Card Moment

During a Ligue 1 match in 2000, Cyril Rool got into a violent argument with Ronaldinho, the star Brazilian for PSG. Due to his unacceptable behaviour, he gained a lot of controversy and was given a straight red card.

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red

  • He took the field with Lens during the 1998–1999 Coupe de la Ligue final, laying the foundation for a successful campaign with his tenacity.
  • As a midfielder, he had represented several elite French clubs, notably Marseille, and once advanced to the French Cup final.
  •  He relocated to Olympique de Marseille on July 23, 2009, and it was there that he decided to retire. 

4. Alexis Ruano Delgado (22 red cards) 

Alexis Ruano Delgado- players with most red cards

Alexis Ruano Delgado, a Spanish professional footballer Born on August 4, 1988, in Alzira, is one of those hard-to-tackle players known for his heated clashes on the pitch.

A Red Card Moment

In 2013, in the 87th minute of a La Liga match, he lost his composure and punched Mario Mandzukic in the face. This heated moment and his consequent expulsion have marked it as one of the stand-out memories associated with his entire career.

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red:

  • His career witnessed him in 321 games, where he played for several clubs, including Málaga, Valencia, Sevilla, and Alavés.
  • In October 2006, Getafe defeated Real Madrid 1-0 at home due to a strike from his defence, which allowed only 33 goals in 38 games and was among the finest in the league.
  • With a whopping 22 red cards, Alexis is characterized by his aggressive play, which also prevented him from playing for major teams.

5. Paolo Montero (22 cards)

Paolo Montero- players with most red cards

Paolo Montero, Uruguayan, born on September 3, 1971, debuted with the Club Atlético Pearol of Uruguay. He is infamous for being the player with 16 red cards while playing for Juventus.

A Red Card Moment

On April 4, 1999, he engaged in a physical altercation with Ronaldo of Inter Milan, who was at the time one of the best attackers in the world. This Red card moment is still widely remembered due to the aggressive display of emotions.

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red:

  • Paolo Montero played for the Uruguayan national team in 1995; his defensive contributions made the team win the Copa America. 
  • Montero was a key player in the storied rivalry games between Juventus and Torino, also called the “Derby della Mole.”
  • After recognizing his tenacity, the Times included Montero on their list of the 50 toughest football players in history.
  • In his prime, Montero was a skilled left-sided player and one of the best defenders of his time.

6. Rafael Márquez ( 21 Red Cards )

Rafael Márquez- players with most red cards

Rafael Márquez was born in Zamora on February 13, 1979, and started his career with Club Atlas in Mexico before he moved on to AS Monaco in Ligue 1, France. He is infamous for being one of the players with the most red cards in Football.

A Red Card Moment

Márquez and American player Cobi Jones got into a physical fight in the 45th minute of FIFA World Cup 2015, shortly before halftime. The argument quickly became physical, and Márquez hit Jones with a headbutt in response. 

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red:

  • During his prime club tenure, from 2003 to 2010, he was instrumental in aiding Barcelona to multiple La Liga championships and the 2006 UEFA Champions League.
  • Rafael Márquez created history at the 2018 FIFA World Cup by becoming the first player to lead his country in five separate World Cup competitions. 
  • Throughout a lengthy career, he also won numerous championships, including the French Ligue 1 with AS Monaco.
  • In 2018, Márquez formally announced his retirement and is renowned for his charitable activities beyond the pitch. 

7. Felipe Melo (20 red cards)

Felipe Melo- players with most red cards

Often called a ‘pitbull’ and with a disciplinary history of 20 red cards, Felipe competes for Brazil’s Fluminense. He is regarded as one of the strongest defensive midfielders and a formidable force on the field, known for his ability to disrupt opponents’ plays and protect the backline. 

A Red Card Moment

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, in the quarter-finals, Felipe Melo was involved in a reckless challenge on Dutch winger Arjen Robben, which altered the outcome of the game in the 73rd minute. Felipe Melo received a straight red card for the challenge, leading to Brazil’s dismissal from the World Cup.

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red:

  • He represented Fiorentina from 2008 to 2009 and played for Serie A club ACF Fiorentina in Italy. During this tenure, he earned the title of one of the best defensive midfielders.
  • He won multiple domestic championships when he was a member of the Turkish club Galatasaray.
  • Felipe Melo competed for Brazil in several international tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup. He participated in Brazil’s World Cup team in South Africa in 2010.
  • Felipe Melo continued his club career by competing for teams in Brazil, including Palmeiras, where he enjoyed much success and was praised for his defensive skills.

8. Matteo Contini (20 red cards)

Matteo Contini- players with most red cards

Contini, a well-known Italian player who played for Napoli, started his professional career in the AC Milan youth system. His performances on the field often featured red cards, and he soon earned the distinction of being one of the players with the most red cards in his team.

Red Card Moments

His strengths as a defender and his tendency to get hot under the collar made him receive 165 yellow cards throughout his 534 appearances. Due to his stubbornness, he was forced to miss many games. 

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red:

  • In the 2004–05 and 2006–07 UEFA Cups, Contini played for Parma.
  •  In Serie A, the Italian Cup, the 2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup, and the 2008-09 UEFA Cup, Contini represented Napoli.
  • Being a strong defender, he had played for Atalanta, Siena, and Zaragoza in Spain in addition to sporting the Naples team’s uniform.
  • After retiring in 2018, he continued working at Pergolettese as a young coach. He was appointed head coach of the Serie D team on November 6, 2018, and at the end of the campaign, he had led his team to promotion to Serie C.

9. Fernando Amorebieta (19 cards)

Fernando Amorebieta- players with most red cards

Born On March 29, 1985, Fernando Amorebieta’s football career began in the Spanish youth divisions of Athletic Bilbao. He also made headlines during the “Superclasico” between the two most successful and well-liked clubs in the Asuncion region in 2019. So far, he has received 19 red cards and is infamous for being the player with the most red cards.

A Red Card Moment

A disgraceful event occurred in the 82nd minute of the crucial match between Cerro Porteno and Olympia de Asuncion. Amorebieta was sent off from that game after biting and headbutting Nestor Camacho in a fit of rage. 

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red:

  • Amorebieta played for Athletic Bilbao for most of his professional career, totalling over 250 matches.
  •  He was a part of the team when they advanced to the UEFA Europa League and Copa del Rey finals.
  • Fernando Amorebieta further competed for Venezuela. His dedication to the national team demonstrated his passion for the sport and his ambition to play for his nation on an international platform.
  • In 2017, Amorebieta announced his retirement from professional Football. He shall be remembered as a dedicated defender who gave his all on the field.

10. Gary Medel (18 cards)

Gary Medel- players with most red cards

Born on August 3, 1987, Gary Alexis Medel Soto joined the youth division of the Universidad Catolica football team in Santiago. This Vasco Da Gama defensive midfielder has received 18 red cards so far in his career

A Red Card Moment

In 2007, he kicked Gabriel Mercado in the 24th minute of the semi-final game against Argentina, earning him a red card and a one-game suspension for the third-place play-off. 

Euphoric Moments Amidst the Red:

  • Medel made his Chilean debut against Argentina in a friendly match in March 2007. He was crucial to Chile’s third-place finish in the U-20 World Cup, which was played in Canada.
  •  Medel signed on with Sevilla FC in 2011. His time playing in La Liga further demonstrated his prowess as a hard-charging midfielder. He greatly influenced the success of Sevilla under his leadership.
  • Medel’s time while playing for the storied Argentine club Boca Juniors served as a professional stepping stone. 
  • Medel was a crucial player in securing the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification by heading in the game-winning goal against Ecuador. On March 5, 2014, Medel led Chile in a 1-0 friendly loss against Germany.


With this, we conclude this blog on the players with the most red cards in Football. The game of Football is not only about scoring, assisting, and having flashes of brilliance on the field. As we can infer, these infamous players frequently ended up in the referee’s book for having a moment of insanity on the field. 

The players mentioned above are remembered much beyond their red-card moments. For instance, Montero was well-known for his aggressive play, but he was also a strong defender and a brutal tackler, frequently squaring off with opponents to make it difficult for attackers to get past him. It may appear contradictory, yet off the pitch, most of them are a pleasure to deal with.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Question 1: Which player has the most red card in Football?

The Colombian defender, Gerardo Bedoya, holds the record for receiving the most red cards in the game’s history, with a total of 46. His 41st red card was issued after elbowing an opponent, while he also got a 15-match suspension following a kick-out at the downed player’s head.

Question 2: Who has the most red cards in history?

Gerardo Bedoya, 46, has the most red cards in history. Despite that, Bedoya won the first of his three titles at Deportivo Cali in 1998, recording 14 red cards in the process.

Question 3: How many red cards does Ronaldo have?

Cristiano Ronaldo holds a total of 11 red cards throughout his career. Despite being the best football player, Ronaldo’s temper has sometimes gotten the best of him on the field.

Question 4: Can a player play again after a red card?

A player who receives a red card is immediately removed from the pitch and is declared ineligible to play for the rest of the game. They may also remain suspended for the next game or up to three games, depending on the severity of the offence. 

Question 5: What is the reason for a red card?

When a player uses “excessive force,” he or she is handed a red card. This can be an aggressive tackle that puts an opponent at risk of misconduct, as defined by the rules of the game.

Monika Ahuja
Monika Ahuja
Monika is a sports fanatic who loves expressing her emotions through her words. She always holds the spirit of the game when writing about them. She has an extensive understanding of different sports formats that prevent her from making any unsubstantiated accusations towards a player or sport. Her understanding, combined with her rigorous research skills, helps her deliver the best sports content.

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