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How To Deal With Dirty Soccer Players?

How To Deal With Dirty Soccer Players?

What comes to mind when you hear “dirty soccer players”? If you are thinking about hygiene and cleanliness, you might just be shocked after finding out what we mean by dirty soccer players—and it has nothing to do with hygiene at all.

A thin line divides playing aggressively and playing dirty in soccer, dirty tactics remain an issue in soccer to this day because many soccer players still fall for the bait of playing dirty.

Playing dirty in soccer can either be physical or verbal which involves saying mean and provocative things to your opponents. Sometimes, desperation forces formerly disciplined soccer players into playing dirty.

It takes a lot of self-discipline to maintain your cool in soccer especially when you see defeat knocking at the door with a lot of humiliating goals to come back from. It takes something more than grit and determination to avoid dirty play in soccer.

Even the best in the game like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Didier Drogba, and Paul Pogba, to name a few have all played dirty at some points in their soccer careers. Knowing the rules and laws of the game forehand will help you stay disciplined on the soccer pitch no matter the circumstance.

Are you a soccer player with on-field experiences or just a happy cheering soccer fan? Just keep reading to get enlightened on what differentiates a disciplined soccer player from a dirty soccer player.

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Why do soccer players play dirty?

Throughout history, there have been numerous soccer players labeled dirty by either unfortunate circumstances or just because they seem to have an affinity with foul play. Soccer players usually stoop as low as playing dirty for many reasons which we would be looking at.

Dirty play in soccer doesn’t always lead to a red card or even a yellow card in very few cases, although some cases are so extreme that red cards seem not to be enough punishment to the erring player.

Soccer is a draining sport and very few soccer players like most humans can successfully manage high-stress levels. When people get stressed, they naturally have an affinity towards aggression and violence which soccer players are not an exemption.

Aggression and violence when stressed are basic human characteristics although they can be properly managed with dedication and practice. When it comes to dirty play in soccer, there is a multitude of issues surrounding this topic but we will try to keep it simple and interesting.

the player in yellow fouled the opponent

Soccer fans often get excited at dirty plays during a heated competitive game—but only when they are not taken to the extreme. Dirty play when done moderately without intentions of injury or violence keeps soccer games interesting to watch.

Players can hurt their soccer careers by incessantly playing dirty because it can give their soccer teams a bad reputation or even cause them penalties which can cost them victories.

Soccer players who always break rules or hurt other players on the pitch are often not loved by anyone and always end up having appalling careers.

Some soccer players reputed in the past for playing dirty often affirm that their aim of playing dirty was because they wanted to build fear in the mind of their opponents which is an effective way of constraining them to a predictable style of play.

Although stress is the major cause of dirty play in soccer, other known factors like pride, rudeness, ignorance, and cheekiness can also encourage dirty play.

Let’s take a close look at some of the reasons which often push soccer players to break fair-play rules in soccer without being afraid of being sent off the pitch or sanctioned.


When soccer players possess a domineering attitude, they often look down on their opponents which in turn breeds disrespect and disgust. Players like that are prone to playing dirty against their opponents just to cement their assumed feeling of superiority.

This scenario is more common when big soccer teams play against less-known teams. For such big teams, leading their opponents with massive goal counts isn’t always enough, they also try to humiliate them in many other possible ways like playing dirty.

Sometimes though, this scenario plays out in the opposite direction. Less known soccer teams often resort to playing dirty when they know that their opponents are way ahead of their league.

They usually play dirty by using physical strength and aggression because they couldn’t compete equally by just applying soccer skills.

Soccer teams having physically bigger and taller players are often domineering in nature. The Cameroonian National Team is a very good example of a domineering soccer team because their team is usually made up of tall and physically built soccer players.

Your team’s chances of getting injured when playing with the Cameroonians is very high because of their aggressive style of play. Dominance shouldn’t be on the agenda of soccer players if they intend to obey the rules of the sport and uphold sportsmanship.

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Playing dirty may be prohibited in soccer but that doesn’t change the fact that it is inevitable. Soccer can often be very annoying and frustrating even though it is a very interesting sport to either play or watch.

People tend to do a whole lot of dirt stuff when they get annoyed or frustrated with an outcome or a result and soccer players are no exception.

Breaking through the opponent’s defensive line can often be very difficult or nearly impossible and can even get very frustrating when your team is a few goals down.

Some attacking players sometimes resort to playing dirty when they have tried every possible move on their game plan without any positive outcome. Playing dirty in such a setting might create a goalscoring chance but can also earn your team more cards than expected.

No team goes into a soccer match expecting to lose or even draw. Drawing closer to the end of a soccer match without any positive hopes of securing a victory can cause a lot of pressure and frustration to a soccer team which destabilizes the team and forces its players to play inordinately and in panic.

When soccer players play in fear, they become desperate and susceptible to dirty play. Reputation and fair play mean nothing to a soccer player who is counting down the clock to a heartbreaking loss.

The chances of playing dirty are even higher when a big team is being humiliated by a team far below them in ranking.

International competitions like the FIFA World Cup where there is a lot to gain by winning and a lot to forfeit by losing the tournament make it more frustrating than average league competitions.

Positive coaching can prevent soccer players from playing dirty when they feel frustrated with an outcome because dirty play is not the default play of frustrated soccer players but a reaction that can be repressed.

Cristiano Ronaldo Kicks Curtis Jones😡, Van dijk Chested Cristiano | Liverpool vs Manchester United

For Fun

It may sound crazy or unbelievable but it is not news that some soccer players often play dirty because they enjoy doing it. It makes them happy especially when they know that they can go scot-free after the act.

Such soccer players are the ones you must try to avoid on the pitch because they can go dirt at the slightest chance they get especially when they are fully aware that the referee isn’t watching.

Fans enjoy the drama on the soccer pitch aside from normal soccer and some soccer players purposely play dirty to impress their fans and stimulate their attention.

Soccer matches no doubt start to become boring after a long stretch of the game without goals but playing dirty makes it a little bit more exciting even without goals.

From some of the points we have stated above, you will come to discover that playing dirty in soccer can generate fun for both soccer players and fans alike.

List of dirty tricks in soccer:

  • Foot stomping
  • Elbowing
  • Diving
  • Shirt pulling
  • Grabbing
  • Nodding
  • Fly kick
  • Slide Kick
  • Punching
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To inhibit an opponent

Some soccer players are highly skilled and know how to trick their opponent while others are masters at playing dirty. Opponent players who seem like a threat are always the target of players who are very good at playing rough and dirty.

Playing dirty is the most effective way of inhibiting opponent players from fully expressing themselves on the soccer pitch especially when they are very fast and exceptionally skilled.

Retrieving the ball from some professional soccer players is usually difficult without using dirty tricks on them. A player like Lionel Messi can dribble through a barrage of defenders as if they don’t exist.

Some soccer players are just extraordinary which is why they often get marked closely and roughly by opponent players from the beginning of matches to its ending because once you let them loose, your team’s chances of emerging victorious from such a match will reduce drastically.

Imagine being the last defender against a renowned striker, playing dirty against him or her might just be your only chance at trying to keep them away from locating the back of the net. If you are lucky enough, you might just get a yellow card or a warning from the referee.

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How to deal with dirty soccer players?

Soccer is a beautiful and fun-filled sport but the actions of dirty players can kill the joy you normally get from playing the game. In soccer, the major driver of most players is scoring goals and they wouldn’t mind crushing any opposition in the vilest way possible to achieve their aim.

Most soccer teams’ hunger for back-to-back victories is the major reason why dirty tactics have surged in modern soccer even with the improved level of officiating from what was attainable in the past.

Dirty tactics are generally prohibited for all soccer clubs and players regardless of their influence or status in the world of soccer. Most soccer enthusiasts believe that dirty play can never be eliminated from soccer no matter how much time and attention it receives.

At the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Uruguayan soccer star Luis Alberto Suarez was handed a four-month match ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini, an Italian defender. This was considered one of the worst cases of playing dirty in soccer and Suarez’s punishment was considered too tolerant considering the intensity of his offense.

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Some coaches and coaching staff are often guilty of encouraging their players to use dirty tactics while playing soccer especially when the game isn’t flowing in their favor. It may sound like a fallacy but our research shows that it happens.

Since the act of playing dirty in soccer is here to stay, the best way to protect yourself from being a victim is by diligently learning how to properly deal with dirty soccer players in the safest way possible.

Below is a list of some of the effective methods used in dealing with dirty soccer players with the faintest chances of sustaining injuries while at it.

Stay Focused

Being focused in soccer is not always about having your eyes on the ball at all times, you are also required to be aware of the opponent’s movements and actions on the pitch.

Sometimes, soccer players come into soccer games with events from the past, playing continuously in their memories therefore, focusing on the soccer ball as well as other players on the soccer pitch often becomes a big problem for them.

Dirty soccer players often make you a target once they notice that you are absentminded on the soccer pitch. While distracted on the pitch, you will find it very difficult to defend yourself against the dirty tactics engineered by dirty soccer players.

If you remain focused during a soccer match, you can easily spot and avoid the dirty soccer players present on the opponent’s side without much difficulty. Staying focused is a good way of evading dirty soccer players and also winning the respect of your teammates, fans, and match officials.

all players are focusing on the situation

Caution arrogant players on the pitch

Oftentimes, players play dirty because nobody confronts them concerning their bad behaviors on the pitch aside from the center referee whose eyes can’t be everywhere at once.

A disruptive pattern of play on yourself or a teammate must be treated with utmost priority by apprehending and cautioning the player responsible. When they fail to apologize or become defensive of their actions, shun them and call the attention of the center referee to handle the issue appropriately.

Don’t shout or become pushy when reprimanding a dirty soccer player, always try to reason with them and let them see the adverse effects of their actions. If possible, scold them alone without involving other players on your team.

Letting dirty tactics by opponents linger on the soccer pitch in wait for the referee to notice can sometimes become critical before the referee eventually notices. Taking quick action can save a whole lot of trouble in the future.

Your teammates can also be cautioned when they are guilty of playing dirty because keeping quiet might lead to penalty kicks which can earn the opposing team cheap goals in the match.

RED CARD: Zlatan Ibrahimovic slaps opponent in the head

Avoid every possibility of reacting with anger

What differentiates a good soccer player from a great soccer player is their ability to control their anger when provoked on the soccer pitch. Most times, opponents provoke good players into getting angry just to change their mood and destabilize their form.

Soccer players understand that when soccer players are angry, they don’t reason logically which is why they deliberately induce anger on their opponents to twist their sense of reasoning and make them less effective on the pitch.

During soccer matches, opponents often target the best players in a team and deliberately get them angry by playing dirty against them. If you are smart and experienced, you will act cool or unaffected until they get tired and let you be.

When opponent players get you angry and frustrated on the pitch to play their dirty kind of game, they can easily control your actions and choices which will render you weak and easily predictable.

You must try as much as possible to stay in charge and a step ahead of their intentions. You shouldn’t be surprised if they intensify their dirty tricks a notch, just keep playing your best game without submitting.

You can adequately call the referee’s attention when the tackle gets unbearable so that those players actively responsible for playing dirty can be punished.

The player is angry with the referee

Obey the referee

Most soccer players often resort to handling issues of dirty tactics on the soccer pitch by themselves instead of obeying and consulting the referee in all situations.

Some soccer players even pick a quarrel with faulting opponents after the referee might have given a verdict. Listening to and obeying the referee will save you from a lot of trouble on the soccer pitch and can even get you special favors from the referee.

Dirty soccer players will start to avoid you on the soccer pitch if they notice that you always involve the referee when they play dirty on you instead of confronting them or retaliating with a similar kind of tackle.

Their goal is to get you to retaliate so that they can feign injury and have you sent off. If they see that you are unbothered by their antics or that you always involve the referee, they will get tired and let you be.

The referee will penalize the dirty players


The aim of playing soccer might just be to win but winning at all cost is a mentality that must be frowned at in the sport. Playing dirty in soccer is a way of cheating to the detriment of other players’ safety.

Playing dirty is often driven by soccer players’ unbending desire to win even when the odds seem to be against them. Some soccer tactics are termed dirty because they are unhealthy for the growth of the sport.

The truth remains that if you want to be a force and an icon in soccer, playing dirty shouldn’t be an admirable path for you. Sharpen your skills by practicing more than other soccer players and the sky will be your starting point.