With Christmas approaching it seems only fitting to look at the players that haven’t been on their best behaviour this season, as we look at the individuals with the worst disciplinary records across Europe’s top 5 leagues.
We have ranked the following players by attributing 1 point to a yellow card and 3 to a red, with those with the highest total ordered below. In the case of a red card for two bookable offences the players are given 1 red to their name alone but the yellows are not counted here (rather than 1 yellow and 1 red or 2 yellows and 1 red).
The Serie A is filled with badly behaved players according to the disciplinary record, while none of the top 5 ply their trade in either England or Germany’s elite leagues, and we start on the peninsula in Florence.
9. David Pizarro (Fiorentina) - 9Y / 0R
Fiorentina signed David Pizarro in the summer from Serie A rivals Roma, after the Chilean had an unsuccessful loan spell with Manchester City, to add experience, graft and technique to a midfield full of attacking intent. The veteran midfielder has been extremely solid in possession but has the undesirable accolade of amassing the most yellow cards in Europe this season, with 9. The remarkable thing is that Pizarro has committed just 9 fouls for the Viola, with 4 of his bookings given for bad tackles and as many as 3 for deliberate handballs - another European high.
8. Daniele Conti (Cagliari) - 7Y / 1R
Another veteran middle man to have been on the wrong end of a referee's whistle this season is Cagliari's Daniele Conti, who has picked up 7 yellow cards in just 12 appearances this season as well as seeing red versus AC Milan for two bookable offences. The majority of the Italian's cautions have come due to bad tackles (6), though he has only committed a fairly average figure of 22 fouls this season. Booked once for every 3.7 fouls he has committed thus far on average, Conti has also been given a yellow card for dissent.
7. Danilo (Udinese) - 4Y / 2R
Udinese centre-back Danilo has picked up a low of 4 yellow cards when it comes to the players analysed here but has already seen red twice in just 13 league appearances. The Brazilian has committed more fouls than he has won tackles this season and is also the only player here to receive all of his bookings for bad challenges. With both of his dismissals thus far, against Pescara and Udinese respectively, coming due to two bookable offences, no player in Europe's top 5 leagues has been cautioned more times for fouls than Danilo (8).
6. Daniele Gastaldello (Sampdoria) - 8Y / 1 R
Picking up twice as many yellows as Danilo and only fewer than the aforementioned Pizarro this season, Sampdoria centre-back Gastaldello has been on the end of a lecture from the referee more than his fair share this season. Of the bad boys here, however, only Pizarro has averaged fewer fouls per game than the 29 year old's 1.1, and with 7 of his 10 cautions in total (8 yellows and 1 red for two bookable offences) this season given for bad tackles, the Italian has been booked every 2.1 fouls he has committed thus far, so may feel a little aggrieved.
5. Wakaso (Espanyol) - 8Y / 1R
The first non-Serie A representative, and perhaps the most attacking of the 9 players here, Espanyol winger Wakaso just comes in ahead of Gastaldello in the ill behaviour stakes due to the fact that he has played one less game this season. Like the Sampdoria man, he too has 8 yellows and 1 red this season (also for two bookable offences), but has averaged twice as many fouls per game in comparison (2.2). In contrast, however, Wakaso has been cautioned just 4 times for fouls this season (7.25 fouls per yellow), strengthening the notion that Gastaldello may have been a little hard done by.
4. Gustavo Cabral (Celta Vigo) - 5Y / 2R
The second La Liga player of three in the top 5, Celta Vigo's Argentine defender Gustavo Cabral has been sent off twice already this season, as well as picking up 5 bookings. As seems the trend here, his dismissals both came courtesy of two bookings in a single game, against Deportivo and Rayo Vallecano respectively. The funny thing here is that the second of said red cards came in his first game back from suspension for the first, as the centre-half lasted just 39 minutes before getting his marching orders in successive appearances.
3. Gary Medel (Sevilla) - 5Y / 2R
Desperately trying to avoid fiery puns, the second Chilean to make the bad behaviour leaderboard is Sevilla's uncompromising defensive midfielder Gary Medel. Ever since his straight red card in the defeat to Barcelona back in September, the 25 year old has been on something of a spree, picking up yellow cards in his next 4 appearances finally culminating in a second dismissal of the season in his most recent appearance against Rayo Vallecano - this time for two bookable offences.
2. Jamel Saihi (Montpellier) - 5Y / 2R
A player with an identical disciplinary record to the previous two on the list, reigning Ligue 1 champions Montpellier have not been able to count on Tunisian international Jamel Saihi as much as they would have liked due to the midfielder's ill discipline. The 25 year old has twice picked up suspensions for multiple matches having picked up two straight red cards this season. This has limited Saihi to just 10 starts thus far and it isn't hard to see why he has picked up 6 of his 7 cards for fouls having committed far more on average than any other player here (3.2 per game).
1. Federico Peluso (Atalanta) - 6Y / 2R
This year Atalanta left-back Federico Peluso may have broken into the international set-up later than many at the age of 28, but he clearly still has some disciplinary issues to iron out. With 6 yellow cards and 2 reds (both for double bookings) in just 11 league appearances, he tops our bad boys chart. Seven of his cards have been due to fouls committed, having averaged 1.9 per game (3 fouls per booking), while he has also been carded for handball and is the only player here to have been cautioned for simulation.