The internet is not exactly short of trolling and memes, and one of the most popular subjects for mockery and general silliness is football. In no particular order, here are 10 instances of the biggest trolls in football.
The Balletic Balotelli
One of the earliest and most prolific meme stars was Mario Balotelli, who has played for many top teams including the EPL’s Manchester City and Liverpool. His flamboyant hairstyles and idiosyncratic celebrations and mannerisms earned him an affectionate ribbing from the jokesters of the internet, and he soon became a favourite of online comedians, artists, and meme-makers.
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Ronaldo finds the Grass is not always Greener on the Other Side
After making just shy of 100 appearances for Juventus, and winning Serie A twice, Ronaldo (Messi’s main rival for the title of greatest of all time) returned to a club he’d been at some time ago: Manchester United. Twelve years had elapsed, and the club had changed a lot, not least with the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Since then, the Red Devils have had not nearly so much success, prompting the jesters of the internet to wonder at the wisdom of Ronaldo’s move.
Mocking the Magpies’ Newfound Wealth
It was certainly controversial when Newcastle United got bought by a Middle Eastern fund worth hundreds of billions, although a lot of the outrage might just be down to rival clubs’ fans being jealous that they won’t have the unmatched spending power of the Magpies. However, this only made victories over Newcastle the sweeter, and right now the Magpies are at risk of becoming the richest club in the Championship. The unbridled wealth mixed with on-pitch mediocrity has made for many a meme, including those wondering when the seemingly inevitable spending spree is actually going to kick off.
Man City’s Robin Hood Impersonation
At the time of writing Manchester City seem destined for yet another EPL title, with a 10 point lead halfway through the season. However, this all-conquering record does not extend to the international stage, which has seen a strange divergence. The club has beaten the likes of mega-rich Paris Saint-Germain and other top teams but hasn’t fared so well against less well-off competition, leading to some considering the club to be a modern-day Robin Hood, taking points from the rich and giving them to the poor.
The Ridicule of John Terry
It’s an old one, but an eminently mockable moment that lingers in the memory is one of John Terry’s most ridiculous antics. When Chelsea won the Europa League, Terry, the team captain, was there to celebrate. Only, while he lifted the trophy, he didn’t actually do anything to earn it. Despite being there for the photo opportunity and his (undeserved) share of the glory, Terry hadn’t played due to an injury. That didn’t stop him donning a full strip, and it didn’t stop the internet from rightly taking the rise out of Terry. (And he’d already done similar at the Champions League, proving that he’s at least consistent, if shameless).
Messi Leaves Barcelona
Messi, arguably the greatest footballer of all time, made more than 500 appearances for Barcelona so it was always going to be major news when he left the Spanish powerhouse for France’s Paris Saint-Germain. Big news also means many memes when it comes to football, and there was a plethora of them when this earthquake in Europe shook the footballing world, from mockery of Barcelona’s impending doom to questioning the authenticity of Messi’s tearful press conference at which he announced the move.
Neymar’s Falling Over Problem
Neymar is an incredibly talented footballer, and, like many skilled soccer stars, he also has inexplicable difficulty staying on his feet sometimes. Goodness knows why. But this challenging personal condition has fuelled many a meme mocking the Brazilian’s predilection for toppling over, from rolling on the pitch during the anthem to winning an Oscar for his theatrical falling.
Suarez’s Biting Habit
Some footballers have worse habits than others. Ronaldo can be up himself, Neymar dives at the drop of a hat, but Luis Suarez earned himself a reputation for being something of a biter. Sinking his teeth into multiple other footballers has not exactly endeared the Uruguayan to his fellow players, and provided the meme community with plenty of ammunition for amusing takes on this grisly habit.
The Inevitable English Tournament Hype
A combination of not winning a major tournament since 1966 and an internationally renowned sense of humour means that every single European tournament or World Cup is the perfect opportunity for England fans to poke fun at the optimistic predictions of ‘this year’ being the one when things finally turn around. There’s a slight risk this might actually happen (England has been uncharacteristically competent in the last couple of tournaments), but what’s guaranteed is that there’ll be some tongue-in-cheek mickey-taking ahead of time.
Manchester United’s Fall from Grace
There was a time when Manchester United dominated the EPL so thoroughly that neutrals and fans of other clubs found the top flight of British football to be utterly tedious. But even the longest, the most glittering reign must come to an end one day, and in more recent years the club has been relegated to being perennial also-rans. This has caused no small amusement for every other football fan, rejoicing at seeing the once unassailable Red Devils reduced to the ranks of ordinary clubs.
Football can bring highs and lows for every fan, but trolling and memes can raise a smile in even the darkest times, including those on this list.