Five soccer teammates who absolutely hated each other
Rivalries in soccer are a staple of any good slate of weekend games. And while most rivalries take place between opposing teams, some of the most heated skirmishes in soccer history have been between players on the same team.
Here are five sets of famous footballers from around who absolutely hated each other.
5. Romario and Edmundo (Brazil)
Two hugely talented Brazilians who became legendary strike partners while hating each other’s guts – what’s not to love? This rivalry started back in 1998 when Edmundo was selected to the Brazilian World Cup squad ahead of Romario. Romario did not take this well and opened a football-themed bar in Rio which featured unflattering caricatures of Edmundo throughout the gent’s toilets.
Incredible considering these two players were reportedly like brothers in the early 1990s: Two party boys who were scoring goals on the pitch and scoring in all kinds of other ways off it. They even released a rap song together calling for peace in Brazil.
#OnThisDay in 2000, Vasco's Romário and Edmundo tore apart Man United in the first Club World Cup.— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) January 8, 2021
The opener is the sweatiest goal imaginable. The second, Gary Neville has a stinker. And the flick by Edmundo for the third? Sublime. Only word for it.pic.twitter.com/7emit1RWAG
After the 1998 fallout things were never the same, and they got worse in late 1999 as the pair were reunited at Vasco da Gama. They fought over who took the penalties and argued relentlessly, using the press to take shots at each other. Edmundo was sold shortly afterwards.
The story didn’t end there, as Romario returned to Vasco as manager in 2008, with Edmundo back there playing up front! It ended in disaster as Edmundo’s last game for his club came as Vasco were relegated for the first time in their history, and Edmundo got the sack.
4. Mauro Icardi and Maxi Lopez (Sampdoria)
Icardi and Lopez played together at Sampdoria in Italy, with Icardi quoted as saying that Lopez (10 years his senior) was one of his soccer hero growing up. That didn’t stop Icardi from reportedly having an affair with Lopez’s wife, Wanda.
Some reports suggest that Lopez and his wife were already finished before Icardi swooped in, but Icardi and Wanda were married six months after Lopez and her split up, so we’ll let you be the judge of that.
Mauro Icardi and his relationship with Maxi Lopez..— Football Stuff (@FootbalIStuff) September 3, 2019
🦸🏻♂️Meets his childhood hero.
👬Become teammates & close friends .
😈Has an affair with Lopez's wife.
💉Gets Lopez's kids tattooed on his arm.
👰🏻Marries Lopez's wife.
🤯Crazy story. pic.twitter.com/TNyVRLmBDZ
Not content with just having the affair, Icardi then got the names of Lopez’s kids (his now step-kids) tattooed on his arm.
The two came face to face in 2014, when Lopez and Sampdoria took on Icardi, who was now at Inter Milan. Unsurprisingly the pair did not share a handshake in what became known as "The Wanda Derby".
3. Craig Levein and Graeme Hogg (Heart of Midlothian)
Imagine getting your nose broken in a friendly game.
After getting punched by a teammate.
Who is actually the team captain.
Well done Scottish football! This incident came in 1994 when Hearts faced Raith Rovers in a preseason friendly. Hearts were 1-0 down and nearly conceded a second which led to Levein and Hogg coming to blows.
This famous punch up between Craig Levein & Graeme Hogg of Hearts at Stark's Park in a 1994 friendly was the big story in #Edinburgh as season 94/95 began. It deprived Hearts of Hogg for the 1st derby, in which #Hibs ended the long winless run. Raith won the friendly 2-0 pic.twitter.com/OBxlWEuTJL— The Hibs Are Here! 90s Hibs (@TheHibsAreHere) April 13, 2021
Hogg threw the first swing, but it was Levein who connected best, breaking Hogg’s nose and making sure he left the pitch on a stretcher. Both were sent off and the Scottish Football Association banned Levein for the first 12 games and Hogg for the first 10. Not bad for a preseason friendly!
2. Edinson Cavani and Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
What a surprise – megastar millionaire footballers have huge egos! Edinson Cavani was the star striker at PSG before a €222 million move saw Neymar arrive in Paris – and it did not take long for the feud to start.
Within the first six games Neymar, who was fuelled by personal goals of winning the Ballon d’Or, was accused of putting himself ahead of the team. He took the ball from Cavani for free kicks and in a game against Lyon, attempted to take the ball from the striker when PSG won a penalty.
Cavani was having none of it, and after a brief argument the Uruguayan took it – only to see his effort saved. In the dressing room it was reported the two then came to blows before Neymar wrote to the PSG owners telling them to sell Cavani, and he unfollowed his teammate on Instagram, which is the closest thing you’ll get to a full-on fight in 2017 apparently.
Amazingly, the PSG board then offered Cavani €1 million to let Neymar take the penalties.
1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan)
Why would anyone want to take on Zlatan? The Swedish legend is not only a bit of a loose cannon, he’s also a black belt in Taekwondo! Either way, in 2010 while both at AC Milan, Ibrahimovic and defender Onyewu ended up winding each other up to the point where a red-hot feud was born.
Zlatan wrote in his autobiography that he delivered the first head-butt, and from there it was absolute war. As Ibra put it, "It was brutal. We were rolling around, punching and kneeing each other. We were crazy and furious – for us it was life or death."
Not the kind of words you typically associate with teammates.