Gavi of FC Barcelona

The 10 dirtiest players in Europe’s top leagues in 2023-24: Gavi, Gallagher…

Stars from Barcelona, Chelsea and Roma feature among the top 10 players in Europe who have committed the most fouls throughout 2023-24 so far.

It will come as no surprise to learn that the majority of the list is made up of tough-tackling midfielders, although there are some notable exceptions to this rule.

We’ve taken a closer look at Europe’s top five leagues and have picked out the 10 players who have been guilty of committing the most fouls up until this point.

=8. Brais Mendez – 26 fouls

The Spanish attacking midfielder has already racked up as many yellow cards (five) as he has goal contributions in La Liga. Playing for Real Sociedad, Mendez commits an average of 2.2 fouls per game.

He certainly isn’t afraid of getting stuck in and he almost seems to thrive off winding up the opposition.

=8. Conor Gallagher – 26 fouls

The revival of Gallagher under Mauricio Pochettino has been a joy to watch as the England international is now one of the first names on the team sheet at Stamford Bridge.

He has a reputation for being a hard-working midfielder and seems well-suited to this new system. He has been guilty of giving away a fair few fouls though as he currently ranks as the dirtiest player in the Premier League with 26 fouls.

=8. Bryan Cristante – 26 fouls

We’re not surprised that Jose Mourinho has managed to get the best out of Cristante at Roma. The 28-year-old wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t scared of putting his body on the line. Almost the archetypal Mourinho player.

Given Roma’s injury problems in defence, Cristante has also been utilised at the back this season as well as in midfield. In total, he has committed 26 fouls, making him the dirtiest player in Serie A.

7. Ruben Alcaraz – 27 fouls

The Cadiz midfielder is like a magnet for yellow cards and he has already racked up six in La Liga so far. Committing an average of 2.5 fouls per game, Alcaraz has made 27 fouls up until this point.

6. Djene – 28 fouls

The Getafe captain has been sent off on seven occasions since the 2017-18 season which is some going. Throughout that time he has also racked up a total of 58 yellow cards.

While he has played the majority of his career as a centre-back, this season he has mostly been utilised in midfield. We’re in no doubt that he’ll rack up plenty more cards between now and the end of the season.

5. Jorgen Strand Larsen – 29 fouls

You’re probably starting to notice a pattern here that players from La Liga are dominating this list. Celta Vigo’s Strand Larsen is the latest entry from La Liga with 29 fouls so far.

The towering forward likes to get under the skin of the opposition defenders and he’s also managed to produce a few eye-catching moments so far. With four goals in La Liga, he currently ranks as Celta Vigo’s top scorer.

4. Tim Kleindienst – 30 fouls

Kleindienst is the only entry on this list from the Bundesliga. The Heidenheim forward has committed 30 fouls so far which is almost double the amount of any of his teammates.

3. Gavi – 31 fouls

Opposition fans loathe him, but the Barcelona faithful can’t get enough of Gavi. The 19-year-old midfielder loves to get stuck in, but he’s also got the skills to back up his gamesmanship antics.

“Gavi puts passion and courage into his game,” Xavi told reporters. “I consider it that the whistle is blown for very few fouls on him. For me, it’s the other way around. He’s a player who’s fouled a lot and the whistle is blown for a few of them.

“To Gavi, I say be calm, to put in the same passion, or even more, and also more courage and sacrifice… and that he doesn’t stop. He doesn’t have to slow down.”

2. Juanmi Latasa – 34 fouls

Latasa claims the second spot on this list with 34 fouls committed so far this season. The 22-year-old is currently on loan with Getafe from Real Madrid and his parent club will no doubt be keeping a close eye on his development.

1. Yangel Herrera – 37 fouls

No real surprises here as Herrera claims the top spot as Europe’s dirtiest player in 2023-24. The Venezuela international is no stranger to picking up a yellow card or two and this season has been no different.

On average, Herrera commits 2.8 fouls per game and he’s currently on track to make over 100 fouls throughout the campaign. The 25-year-old offers much more than just breaking up the play, though, having scored four goals for a Girona side that currently top La Liga.

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