The 10 Cockiest Footballers of All Time
February 5 is a pretty historic day in the football calendar.
"Why?" I hear you ask.
Nothing special has ever been won on February 5—no World Cups or European Championships, nor has anything outrageous taken place on that particular date.
In fact, as far as achievements go, the fifth day of the second month is about as standard a day as the rest of them.
However, as many as 15 footballers were born on that day. Carlos Tevez, Neymar and Adnan Januzaj make up part of that list, but there is one name that stands out. One name that anybody with a link to the game—no matter how big or small—knows well. Heck, even people who don't even like the beautiful game will know this player's name.
It is that of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese is one of the most well-known, well-loved and, at the same time, most-hated footballers on the planet.
He is considered amongst the best players to have ever graced the game—but he is also known for his down-right cockiness.
So, in celebrating all that is Ronaldo on his 29th birthday, we'll run through the 10 cockiest players of all time.
The following stars make the list because of their cockiness on the pitch, in things that they have said during their career and also for a few quirky things they've done outside of the game.
Brazilian goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni is one of the few players to spend his entire career at one club. The 41-year-old custodian started his career at his beloved Sao Paolo in 1992 and has made an incredible 517 league appearances for the Tricolor.
The goalkeeper is not outspoken nor is he ever in the headlines for his off-field antics, so you may be wondering just why he makes the list.
Well, although not cocky in the sense of many of the following players included in this list, Ceni is his side's chief free-kick and penalty taker. And he's damn good at what he does, too.
The keeper has netted 54 times in his long career—as spectacular as that is, it's also pretty cocky.
Rene Higuita is the second goalkeeper to make this list, and although the hugely eccentric custodian has had his fair share of spotlight, he is here for one thing and one thing only.
The former Columbian stopper was famously imprisoned in 1993 after taking part in a kidnapping and was used as a go-between for infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar and Carlos Molina.
But the 47-year-old will almost certainly only ever be remembered for his outrageous save—the scorpion kick—during his side's friendly with England in 1995.
David Dunn was a very steady, if not spectacular, Premier League player for most of his career and still currently plies his trade for Blackburn Rovers in the Championship.
Technically gifted but with a lack of pace, the midfielder's passing range set him apart from many of his peers.
He did like to produce a number of neat tricks as well, but one particular moment stands out from the rest—and he'll never live it down.
The above video says it all...
Flamboyance can often be misconstrued as cockiness. But with Chelsea star David Luiz, that's not the case.
Don't get me wrong, Luiz is one of the most technically gifted—especially for a centre-half/defensive midfielder—and flamboyant players in world football, but his confidence in his own ability often lands him in hot water.
Luiz is a typical Brazilian footballer—always looking to find a pass and usually in style, but during his time with Chelsea, he has played his way into danger.
Attempting to beat a man when it is dangerous to do so and his insistence on hitting 40-yard free-kicks help the Brazilian make this list.
Many may not have heard of Kerlon—mainly due to the fact that his career has been hugely unsuccessful, despite spending periods with the likes of Internazionale, Chievo and Ajax—but his place on this list is deserved.
The 26-year-old, who is now a free agent, is one of the cockiest footballers you are ever likely to see.
The reason for this is because of his outrageous ability to juggle the ball on his head at pace, running past the opposition who have no idea how to tackle him.
Well...apart from the player in the above video, who has quite evidently had enough of the circus-like antics.
Young Brazilian Neymar is one of the most exciting footballers in world football.
During his time with Brazilian side Santos, the youngster earned a name for himself thanks to his incredible talent, wacky hairdos and unrivalled ability to beat the opposition.
The above goal won the Puskas Award and showcases just why he is one of the most talented, yet cockiest footballers around.
It's as if Ronaldinho passed the baton to his compatriot Neymar.
In many ways, the two are very similar players—blessed with pace, flair, unparalleled technical ability and a love for humiliating the opposition—except that the former PSG, Barca and Milan star enjoyed the latter perhaps more than any other footballer.
Ronaldinho evidently took pride in his ability to frustrate, humiliate and baffle his opponents—so much so that the current Atletico Mineiro player will unfortunately be remembered for his antics on the ball rather than for his many, many achievements in the game.
Joey Barton is unlike any other player on this list. In fact, the English midfielder is an enigma.
He's not a cocky trickster nor is he blessed with immense talent that exudes cockiness. Barton is an outspoken, over-opinionated loudmouth, but there is something strangely intriguing about the Queens Park Rangers star.
The 31-year-old, who has had his fair share of run-ins with the police, Football Association and many, many media outlets, is renowned for his opinionated rants, tweets and blogs on anything from football to politics.
Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner is one of the most frustrating figures in world football. The Dane has immense ability, which he occasionally manages to produce, but more often than not, he is unable to showcase anything like the talent he possesses.
However, that doesn't stop him believing that he is amongst the best players in the world.
As reported by talkSPORT, Bendtner was quoted as saying:
I want to be top scorer in the Premier League, top scorer at the World Cup and, within five years, I want to be among the best strikers in the world. Trust me, it will happen.
We're still waiting, Nicklas...
"I think that because I am rich, handsome and a great player people are envious of me. I don't have any other explanation."
These are the words that 29-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo uttered to the Telegraph.
I'm sure he's very rich, and he is pretty handsome—if that's your sort of thing—and there is no doubt that he is a fantastic player, but it's pretty hard to argue that CR7 is the cockiest player in the game.
Oh, and if that doesn't do it for you, he's just built a museum dedicated to himself in his home town of Funchal on Madeira. Classy.