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Criminal records, prison, laughable offenses – we’ve included everything

Trainer-Legende Hans Meyer über Fußballer (Photo by Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Trainer-Legende Hans Meyer über Fußballer (Photo by Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

For some fans, simply playing for the wrong club is a crime. But some of football’s superstars have committed really blatant offenses. And here they are – 35 shocking crimes committed by the biggest baddies in international football. Let’s explore the bad boys’ club. Sometimes it’s not just serious crimes but rather oddities, acts of stupidity or other testosterone-fuelled petty crimes committed by alpha males.

This quote from the legendary German coach Hans Meyer sums it all up: “There are five really stupid players in every squad. Of those, one would definitely end up under the bridge if he didn’t play football.” But for some of the stars, the whole thing ended with the unwanted “criminal record” against their name or even a prison term. And Germany’s flagship club, Bayern Munich, is of course on the list. So too are players from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and other top clubs. Among the sinners are international players, world stars and smaller lightweights of the game.

Numbers 26, 23, 16, 10 and 1 are our absolute “favourites”. But funny crimes are rather rare. 26th place is shared by two of the top 5 footballers in the world. And one of the bosses of Germany’s best football club makes an appearance at number 23.

In 16th place is a former Bundesliga player who had to serve 9 years in prison. And numbers 10 and 1 each feature a world-class goalkeeper and striker respectively. The verbal skirmish between the “Godfather of the Rhine” and the head of Bayern Munich as a result of an offense committed by a friend is unforgettable. More at number 4. These two offenses are really something special. If anything….


Offenders 35 – 31: From Bayern’s bad boy to 2 Hertha hooligans

35. Christian Lell – The bad boy of German football

In Berlin lief es eine Zeit lang gut für Lell; Foto: Getty Images
In Berlin lief es eine Zeit lang gut für Lell; Foto: Getty Images

Ex-Hertha professional Christian Lell has twice been in the headlines because of assault allegations. In November 2007 the defender was involved in a brawl at the P1 Club in Munich.

He allegedly had to pay a fine of €160,000 for assault, resistance and insults. In January 2014 his girlfriend filed a complaint after Lell allegedly became violent towards her. He was arrested and questioned by Spanish police and was later arrested again for a brief period. He then made the headlines again after reports of drugs being found at his home. Lell could have become a veritable Bundesliga star. Well, his career started off promisingly, anyway. But in the first half of the 2009/10 season, Bayern’s new head coach, Louis van Gaal, no longer had any use for Lell and so the defender was relegated to the reserves.

The match on 9th August 2009 (the 3rd matchday) against FC Carl Zeiss Jena ended with a 6-0 defeat and Lell was sent off in the 38th minute. Lell joined newly relegated Hertha BSC for the 2010/11 season. His contract initially ran for a year until the end of the season. As Hertha won promotion back to the Bundesliga, the contract was extended for a further two years until 2013. Lell made his debut for the Berlin-based team in the first round of the DFB Cup on 14th August 2010, which ended in a 2-0 away win against SC Pfullendorf. He played rather well for Hertha’s first team where he was a solid defensive choice. In January 2012, Lell extended his contract for another three years until July 2016. However, since coach Jos Luhukay, who had been hired for the following season, had no intention to play Lell, he decided to move to Spain. After a relegation play-off match against Fortuna Düsseldorf on 12th May 2012,  Lell was banned for five games for insulting referee Wolfgang Stark at the end of the match.

Lell moved to Spanish first division team Levante on a free transfer for the 2012/13 season. He made his league debut on 27th August 2012 (2nd matchday) which ended in a 2-0 away defeat to Real Valladolid. He scored his first league goal on 2nd September 2012 (3rd matchday) in a 3-2 win at home to Espanyol Barcelona, in which he scored Levante’s second goal to make it 2-2 in the 56th minute. In January 2014, the club agreed with Lell to terminate the contract immediately. For the 2015/16 season, Lell joined TSV Weyarn in the Bavarian District League 2. He made his debut on 3rd October 2015 (10th matchday) against SG Miesbach/ASV Miesbach and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. He scored his first goal on 11th October 2015 (11th matchday) in a 3-1 victory at home to SF Egling.  Lell’s time at TSV Weyarn ended after 4 games in the spring of 2016.

34. Marco Russ – Don’t play football the night before your trial

Marco Russ hat den Krebs bsiegt; (Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Marco Russ hat den Krebs bsiegt; (Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Marco Russ won the Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2017/18 season. A good thing, right? But his actions in court were not so good.

He presented a false affidavit and had to pay €160,000. The Eintracht Frankfurt defender received a fine of €160,000 (80 daily payments of €2000). Spokesman Michael Meier from Limburg district court confirmed a report made by the Frankfurter Neue Presse. Russ was driving his car far too quickly near Limburg and therefore had to appear in court. But the 29-year-old didn’t follow up the charges. Instead, Russ submitted an affidavit together with a medical certificate.

As a result, Russ was unable to negotiate. However, when the judicial authorities learned that Russ was running around on the evening of the actual trial day in a friendly match, they took action. Initially, he filed an objection to the penalty order for the false affidavit, but then decided to pay the fine. The penalty order became final and so a main hearing was dropped.

After being diagnosed with cancer in the spring of 2016, he returned to full health at the end of October 2016. And now he’s a cup winner. Sending him all the best.

33. Takashi Inui – Farting and cursing

Asiatische Höflichkeit auf der Wache geht anders. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Asiatische Höflichkeit auf der Wache geht anders. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Takashi Inui was stopped by a customs officer during a routine check at Frankfurt airport.  And it was for a stupid reason: Inui had a Breitling watch costing around €3000 which he hadn’t declared.

Inui was therefore promptly investigated on suspicion of attempted tax evasion. Worse still, he farted and cursed in the office which was rather insulting to the officers. It seems Asian politeness is quite different. A move to the Spanish Primera Division.

He made his Bundesliga debut on 25th August 2012 (1st matchday) in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2-1 home win to Bayer Leverkusen.

He also scored his first Bundesliga goal at Eintracht on the 16th September 2012 in a 3-2 home win against Hamburg SV. His 13th minute goal gave Eintracht a 1-0 lead. In August 2015, Inui joined SD Eibar in the Spanish Primera División.

32. Suleyman Koc - Back on track

Was für ein grandioses Coemback. (Photo by Mika Volkmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Was für ein grandioses Coemback. (Photo by Mika Volkmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)
In 2011, Suleyman Koc was sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment without parole for participating in seven raids on arcades.

Koc was granted day-release for good conduct and was released from prison in early December 2013.

In the winter of 2013 came his move to Paderborn. He even played for the East Westphalians in the Bundesliga. Quite the comeback.

In the 2017/18 season he played for Rizespor in Turkey but he didn’t perform too well. The native Berliner is probably no longer a highflyer but remains a solid professional footballer.

31. Kevin Prince Boateng, Patrick Ebert - Two Hertha Hooligans

Kevin Prince Boateng - zwischen genial und böse. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Kevin Prince Boateng - zwischen genial und böse. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Pro footballer Kevin Prince Boateng was the topic of conversation in the spring of 2009 for his late night antics.

After a night of drinking, the midfielder willingly damaged 13 parked cars together with former colleague Patrick Ebert.

The court presented both of them with a hefty fine.

The press made the scandal public. Bad luck.

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