Former top ref Mark Clattenburg reveals worst player he’s ever refereed as he opens up on Keane, Pepe and Ferdinand

FORMER top referee Mark Clattenburg revealed his worst five footballers to deal with.

Not surprisingly, firebrands Roy Keane and Craig Bellamy feature, but there was a shock as BT Sport pundit and former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand made the naughty list.

Former top ref Mark Clattenburg has revealed his five worst players to deal withGetty

The ex-Premier League official called time on his career in the professional game in 2017, after 17 years reffing when he gave his real thoughts on some of the top refs.

Clattenburg then moved on to head refereeing in Saudi Arabia before taking up a lucrative post in China as a referee and is charge of refs in Egypt.

Here are his worst five players to deal with during his time working in the Premier League…


“I used to find Jens Lehmann such hard work.

“He was always difficult because he’d always whinge about people stepping on his toes in the penalty area.

“Centre-forwards would always try and wind him up.

“A corner would come in and they would give him a little nudge and he’d go ballistic and push players and have arguments with referees.

“He was always a difficult one.”


“I found him difficult to referee during that Fergie era because he was always trying to play mind games.

“He tried to get under your skin, probably to get that next decision.

Rio was such a difficult player to referee as he was always in your face.

“When I got older and a bit more wiser, he probably left us alone more.”

Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand both make Clattenburg’s naughty list


“I had a run-in with Pepe in the Champions League final.

“He was a guy who was always difficult because he’d try to frame stuff and wind attackers up to get them sent off, which is not always a great thing when you’re trying to referee a football match.”

Clattenburg, who was pictured sticking his tongue out when Pepe rolled around, added to SunSport: “I remember coming off and everyone was talking about my tongue, they weren’t talking about my refereeing performance – which was a good thing.

“So I thought ‘you know what, that wasn’t a bad thing to do’. But it was just a reaction – my mouth was completely dry, it was a really hot day.

“It worked perfectly because, when you watch it back, Pepe was on the floor – and, oh my god, what a soft s***e. Rolling around.

“So what I did was what everyone back at home watching probably thought of Pepe.”

Reuters The ref was spotted sticking his tongue out as Pepe tried his typical antics[/caption]


Roy was physical, hard and you couldn’t trust him.

“Look at the tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland for example.

“You never knew what he was going to do next.”


“The worst one – and I’ve thought it for years – was Bellamy.

“He was just the most irritating player on the pitch – and he was irritating off it.

“He was downright rude and it didn’t matter what you said to him.

“I made mistakes against him but what he used to say to you, it was not acceptable.

“People say you should have sent him off and I did – incorrectly for diving.

“I cautioned him at Bolton for diving and it was a blatant penalty.

“He was a guy I just didn’t really get on well with.”

*Mark Clattenburg was speaking to Paddy Power for the Pitch Invader magazine…

Clattenburg reckons Bellamy was the worst player to referee

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