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Most disciplined football players of all time

Wed 21 April 2021 | 15:00

Here we take a look at some of the most gentleman footballers of all time who could be great role models for younger players.

In football, discipline is a basic requirement for success. It is very important for players that they never let themselves be distracted by opponents, spectators or referees. Good players are focused on their task, their team and what they are supposed to do. And this discipline makes them successful. In football, discipline is an important factor, not only in the tactical area but also in terms of a player's behavior on the pitch.

There are some football players who are extremely aggressive and have a reputation for being bad boys. However, there are also other football professionals who are much disciplined and can be deemed as gentlemen of football. Such footballers are always focused on their task and avoid getting involved in anything other than their task on the field and more importantly, they always play by the book.

Most disciplined players in football history

In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the most disciplined football players of all time, who never got a red card during their entire career. Stay tuned.

Andres Iniesta

He is considered one of the best midfielders of all time during his time at

Barcelona

. For a long time, together with Xavi and Busquets, Iniesta formed a magic midfield triangle for the Catalans and also in the Spanish national team. As one of the most talented midfielders of his generation, he has played more than 749 matches for Barcelona and the Japanese club

Vissel Kobe

without receiving a single red card.

This record of not receiving a single red card in his career speaks for itself about his personality and the type of his character. Characteristically, he fears conflict, confrontation and so craves harmony in his interactions that he chooses to suppress his anger in order to avoid conflicts. At the worst, he resists with a passive and renegade attitude, but never with open and direct confrontation.

Andres Iniesta has also never been red carded in the 131 matches he has played for Spain national team during his career.

Joao Moutinho

The legendary Portuguese midfielder started his football career at

Sporting CP

and played a key role there for six years before joining another Portuguese giant,

FC Porto

. After playing there for three years, he moved to Monaco and now he plays for the English side Wolverhampton Wanderers. Since the start of his career, Moutinho never received a red card in more than 700 matches he played.

However, On 12 December 2020 in the English Premier League match against Aston Villa, Joao Moutinho was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in less than 8 minutes, thus getting the first red card of his career. But he has never received a direct red card so far during his career and is one of the

most respectable soccer players ever

.

One other thing to note about Joao Moutinho is that the experienced midfielder has not received any red cards during the 130 matches he has so far played for the

Portugal

national team.

Ryan Giggs

Almost all of the football fans in the world know Ryan Giggs as one of the

Manchester United

legends, but it is good to know that the Welsh midfielder started his football as a youth player in the rivals Manchester City and later moved to Manchester United. At Old Trafford, he turned to one of the best players of the club, consistently playing for 24 years before hanging up his boots for good. Immediately after his retirement, Giggsy started his coaching career at United and now is the manager of the

Wales

national team.

During his lengthy stay at Manchester United, Ryan Giggs played a total of 930 matches in all competitions, during which he never received a single red card or second yellow card, thus proving to be one of the most disciplined players in the football history of his age. During his club career, Ryan Giggs has received a total of 48 yellow cards.

At the international level, Giggs went on to play 64 matches for his country Wales after making his debut on 16 October 1991, of which he was sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the game against Norway. At the time, Wales was playing in Group 5 of World Cup Qualifiers in Europe. Ryan Giggs also gave an assist in that match, where they eventually lost 3-2.

Karim Benzema

Well, who doesn't know him? Karim Benzema is Real Madrid's number one striker for a reason. He has scored a staggering 274 goals in 550 games for the Royals. His career began in his native France with Olympique Lyon. He transferred from there to

Real Madrid

for a transfer fee of 35 million euros, becoming a regular player ever since. Given his goal tally, that's no wonder.

In addition, the Frenchman is one of the most respectable soccer players ever. Although he has committed a foul or two, Benzema has not seen a single red in his career and thus joins the list of most gentleman footballers of all time. Other than not receiving a single red card during his career, Benzema has only received 15 yellow cards in the 698 games he played so far.

At the French national team, his record is more impressive, as the talented striker has never received a yellow or red card in 81 matches he played for his country. Undoubtedly Karim Benzema can be considered as one of the most disciplined football players of all time.

Damian Duff

He was particularly popular in his native

Ireland

and with English fans. It is no surprise given that he spent his career exclusively on the island, with the exception of one year in Australia. Between his debut on 25 March 1998 and his last international match in 2012, Duff was one of the pivotal figures in the Irish national team. His career highlights were playing with Ireland in the 2002 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship.

From a young age, his club career was largely spent in England, where he won two English Premier League titles with

Chelsea FC

in 2005 and 2006. Even though the

Premier League

was tough, Duff managed to go without a single red card during his entire career - respect! To be precise, he never a single red card in a total of 555 club matches he played during his career. On the other hand, he just got 38 yellow cards over the years.

At the international level, as we already mentioned he was a key player for Ireland national team, playing 101 matches, scoring 8 goals and never receiving a single red card. At international matches, he has just received three yellow cards, which proves him as one of the

most disciplined players in football history

.

Gary Lineker

The Gary Lineker we know these days as a media celebrity, was once amongst the most talented strikers and prolific goal scorers in English football, where after starting his career at

Leicester City

and later playing for Everton, he joined Barcelona. During his stay at Barcelona, he played great games for the Catalan team, scoring some impressive goals. For the 1989/90 season, he once again returned to English First Division, this time playing for Tottenham Hotspurs.

He played the last two years of his career at Nagoya Grampus in the Japanese league. Although many remember him as one of the best strikers of his time, where he managed to score many goals during his career, he is also famous for not receiving a single red card in the total of 267 matches he has played, which puts him in our list of most respectable soccer players ever.

Lineker made his debut for England national team under the legendary Sir Bobby Robson on 26 May 1984, where he managed to play a total of 80 matches during his career and scoring 48 goals. As one of the most disciplined football players of all time, he has also never received a red card during his international career.

Philip Lahm

In his career, the 1.70m tall Munich player has won almost everything. He has been a German champion and cup winner several times,

Champions League

winner, UEFA Super Cup winner and DFL Super Cup winner with FC Bayern Munich. He also captained the German national team to the 2014 World Cup victory. In addition to these successes, he also won numerous individual awards. Lahm was always considered a model professional and particularly impressed with his calm and friendly manner.

In a total of 652 club matches he played for FC Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart, the legendary German defender never received a single red card. His yellow cards tally is 49 which is very low for a defender. This time, numbers prove Philip Lahm as one of the

most gentleman footballers of all time

. During his career, on three occasions he never received a single yellow card in

Bundesliga

seasons.

He has also never received any red cards in the 113 matches he played for the German national team, however, he was yellow-carded on 11 occasions, with most of them being in the World Cup Qualification and International friendly matches.

Aaron Hughes

It is almost impossible to write an article about the

most disciplined football players of all time

and not mention Aaron Hughes. As a

Newcastle United

academy graduate, Aaron Hughes started his professional football career with the Magpies. He was a key player of the team for eight years before joining Aston Villa and later Fulham, where he spent another 7 years. Many consider his move to Queen Parks Rangers on that winter transfer window of Sky Bet Championship to be the start of his career end, which happened in the Heart of Midlothian team.

In all of the 671 matches Aaron Hughes played as a central defender during his career, he never received a red card. His yellow cards tally of just 18 in a central defender position shows just how much of a gentleman he was as a player. He definitely deserves a place in our list of most disciplined football players of all time.

His record of not receiving a single red card is also true on the international level with the Northern Ireland national team, where he made his debut on 25 March 1998 and played a total of 112 matches before retiring from the national team. He was shown a yellow card on just 4 of those international matches.

Michel Platini

Another of the rather older players in our list of most disciplined football players of all time alongside Gary Lineker is Michel Platini. The French football who almost every football fan has heard his name as he was the president of UEFA too, in addition to being a great football player. Platini started his football career in Nancy and later played for the other French club Saint-Étienne, before making the switch to the Serie A side Juventus in 1982, where he managed to win many titles and awards as a player.

The three-time Ballon d'Or winner played a total of 260 matches for the three clubs we mentioned before, where he managed to never receive a red card, thus proving himself as one of the most disciplined football players of all time on the pitch. More interestingly, he has received just four yellow cards during his playing career at the club level. On the 72 international matches he played for France national team, he was also proved a gentleman and never was sent off.

Although because of his scandal which resulted in a disqualification for eight years from all football-related activities from the FIFA ethics committee, which was later reduced to six years, many football fans believe he is not a respectable footballer.

Raul Gonzalez

Regarded as a goal-scoring, dribbling, light-footed and very fair player, Raúl could be used both in attacking midfield and on the left or right-wing. The long-standing captain and record player of Real Madrid won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid and also many other awards and titles. He is still considered one of the best strikers in the Spanish La Liga thanks to his deadly finishing. Moreover, the Schalke fans were also at the feet of Senior Raul.

In a 21-years old career where he played the majority of it for Real Madrid, and also for FC Schalke 04, Al-Sadd SC and New York Cosmos, he never received a red card in a total of 916 matches he played, which gives him a much-deserved place in our list of

most disciplined football players of all time

. In all of those matches, he was booked just 48 times which is impressive.

Raul made his Spanish national team debut on 9 October 1996 under Javier Clemente, becoming one of the key members of the national team. He played a total of 102 matches for La Roja, scoring 44 goals and never received a single red card. He will be always remembered as one of the most disciplined football players of all time.

Maxime Bossis

Another player from Michel Platini generation to appear in our list of most disciplined football players of all time is Maxime Bossis. He was one of the best French central defenders in the 70s and 80s where he played all of his club career for Nantes and RC Paris. He managed to win French Ligue 1 on several occasions and was also the Coupe de France winner in the 1978-79 season.

The two-time French Player of the Year in 1979 and 1981 played a total of 125 matches during his career as a central defender and has was never sent off the pitch and is another French footballer to have a place in the list of most disciplined football players of all time.

Maxime Bossis has also never received a red card in the 76 matches he played for the France national team during his international career.

Marco Bode

The second German player after Philip Lahm and the second one-club footballer after Ryan Giggs to feature in our list of

most disciplined football players of all time

is Marco Bode. The talented German winger and forward started his career in the youth ranks of Werder Bremen before appearing in the first team in 1989. He played his whole career for the Werder Bremen before hanging up his boots in 2002.

During his rather short football career, Marco Bode played a total of 538 matches for Werder Bremen in all competitions, where he stood out with 155 goals and 65 assists, but also with just 13 yellow cards and no red cards received, thus becoming one of the most disciplined football players of all time.

On his 40 matches played for the Germany national team in all competitions, he was once again never sent off the pitch and was booked two times on World Cup and UEFA Euro qualification matches.

Lionel Messi

In the world of football, you cannot simply find one who never heard of Lionel Messi. The famous Argentinian football has amazed football fans all over the world with his performances in Barcelona since 2004. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has also proved himself as one of the most respectable and most disciplined football players during all these years.

Technically, Lionel Messi should not have a place in our list of most disciplined football players in the world, as he has one red card during his club career, but the fact is since the start of his career at 2004/05 season, he was never sent off the pitch for almost 800 matches up until the Supercopa match on 17 January 2021. Lionel Messi started the match against Athletic Club as the captain of Barcelona and was sent off in the 120th minute when he punched Asier Villalibre, who was standing in his way, on the back of the head in injury time with the score at 2:3 in extra time, probably reflected a great deal of frustration as well.

It was his first red card in a Blaugrana jersey, and in his 753rd game. What was unthinkable for years now seems to be a reality: frustration has afflicted Messi in the Barca jersey as well. He has also received two red cards playing for Argentina national team.

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