Football is one of the most physical sports in the world. Sometimes, a match becomes so intense that players do not back off from committing serious fouls or confronting fellow players or referees, resulting in a booking. 

On some occasions, these fouls are grievous to such an extent that the referee shows a straight red card and sends the player off for the remainder of the game, which often results in a prolonged suspension or a ban for several matches.

Talking about the players who have received the most red cards in football, former Colombia international Gerardo Bedoya sits at the top of the pile. Bedoya has received a staggering 46 red cards throughout his career.

In September 2012, Santa Fe’s Bedoya elbowed and subsequently kicked the head of Millonarios player Jhonny Ramirez in a heated Bogota derby of the Colombian top-flight. He was sent off by the referee and was subsequently slapped with a 15-match ban.

Known as the ‘World’s Dirtiest Footballer’, Gerardo Bedoya was sent off 21 minutes into his coaching debut for Sante Fe in 2016 as his short-temperedness continued in his post-playing career as well.

Next up on the list of most red cards in football history is Sergio Ramos, who has been sent off 28 times in his career so far. The Spanish international is a fearless defender who often goes for dangerous tackles that often put him in the referee’s book.

Ramos is also the player to get sent off the most number of times in La Liga history, with 21 out of the 28 coming while playing in the Spanish top division. The PSG player’s most recent red card came against Reims for arguing with the referee. 

Another player to feature on the list of most red cards in football is Cyril Rool. The French defender was known for his ruthless tackling and has amassed an astonishing 27 red cards. Moreover, he has also received another 187 yellow cards, a Ligue 1 record.

With 22 send-offs, Alexis Ruano Delgado is next on the list of most red cards in football history. The versatile defender was La Liga’s Breakthrough Player for the 2006-07 season. However, his disciplinary issues often saw him sitting on the sidelines rather than playing on the pitch.

A former Getafe player, Alexis Delgado is remembered for the infamous red card which he received for punching Atletico Madrid’s Mario Mandzukic in the 2014-15 La Liga season. He received a four-match suspension for his actions.

Uruguayan Paolo Montero completes our list of the top five players with most red cards in football history. He spent the majority of his playing career in Italy, plying his trade for Atalanta and Juventus. Having retired more than a decade ago, Montero received 21 red cards, which, to date, is a record in Serie A.

Most red cards in football

No.  Player Red Cards
1 Gerardo Bedoya 46
2 Sergio Ramos  28
3 Cyril Rool 27
4 Alexis Ruano Delgado 22
5 Paolo Montero 21
6 Rafael Marquez  21
7 Felipe Melo  20
8 Matteo Contini 20
9 Fernando Amorebieta 19
10 Gary Medel 18


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Featured photo: FABIAN GREDILLAS / AFP