What are red cards and how does a football player get one?
Before moving on to the player with the most red cards, let’s read about what a red card is in football and what are the possible reasons that footballers get one.
Red cards are used in football by referees to discipline players for misconduct. Yellow cards are used to warn players for bad behavior, and red cards indicate the player’s dismissal from the field. If a player receives two yellow cards during a game, he will receive an automatic red card. After the dismissal, the layer will no longer be able to play the remaining match and his team would have to continue with one lesser player. Sometimes, receiving one red card can lead to the player’s suspension from two or three upcoming matches as well.
Players can accumulate a red card for any of this reasons:
• If the player shows any violent behavior that may include striking, kicking or threating an opponent or referee.
• If the player spits on anyone in the field
• If the player uses offensive or abusive language or gesture
• If the player on-purpose handles the ball in a way that denies the opposing team an apparent goal-scoring opportunity.
• If the player commits a serious offense to the opponent when they have an obvious goal-scoring chance by illegal tackling or pushing the opponent which results in free kick or penalty based on the area of the offense on the pitch.
• If the player receives two yellow cards.
Let us look at the player who has gotten the most red cards throughout his career, and others with the most red cards than any other footballers.
Gerardo Alberto Bedoya Múnera
Retired Columbian player Gerardo Alberto Bedoya Múnera holds the record of attaining the most red cards in the history of football, a record which remains unbroken till date. Bedoya has played both as a defender and as a defensive midfielder. He was sent off 46 times throughout his career as a player.
Gerardo was sent on a 15-match ban for his aggressive behavior in Santa Fe’s derby game against Bogota in 2012.
He now coaches Alex Garcia at Independiente Sante Fe but still has a very high temper.
Bedoya was given a warning for berating the linesman when his team was pegged back by a goal that appeared borderline offside. A few minutes later, he did the same for the second time, which resulted to him receiving a red card with just 21 minutes into his coaching career. He was sent to the stands where he watched the rest of the game.
Cyril Rool follows Gerardo Alberto Bedoya by attaining 27 red cards throughout his whole career, this gives him the second spot on the list of the players with the most red cards. Rool has also gotten 187 yellow cards. He has a made a record for getting the highest amount of red cards in Ligue 1 (19). He held the record for the most red cards in Europe’s top five leagues as well.
Ramos is known as being one of the best defenders in the world. Sergio Ramos who plays as a skipper for Real Madrid has received 25 red cards throughout his career. He holds the record for attaining the most red cards at LaLiga.
Ramos received his most recent red card in a LaLiga match on Feb. 17, 2019. The Madrid star was sent off for two offenses in his recent bout with Girona FC, which cost his team a loss. Ramos earned a yellow card after handing a shot by Aleix Gracia and got his second yellow card when he committed a foul inside the Girona penalty spot sending off the center back.
Ramos has gotten a 274 cards in total, including both red and yellow cards. Spanish daily newspaper has titled him ‘Mr Cards’ for apparent reasons.
Alexis Ruano Delgado
Alexis Ruano Delgado is a Spanish football player who started his career back in 2004. He currently plays as a defender for Saudi club Al-Ahli Saudi FC. Delgado has gotten a 22 career red cards in total. Alexis was banned for four matches after he punched Croatian Mario Mandžukić while playing for Getafe.
Rónald Paolo Montero Iglesias
Paolo Montero is a Uruguayan manager and former football player. He played as a central defender for Penarol, Atalanta, Juventus and San Lorenzo. Iglesias stands on fifth place on this list by earning 18 red cards throughout his career. Paolo retired in 2007. He has also remained a coach for Colón de Santa Fe and Rosario Central.
Montero still holds the record for getting the most red cards in Serie A history.
Former Spanish player Pablo Alfaro has attained 18 career red cards. He has played as a central defender. Pablo remained a manager for CD Mirandés from 2017–2018, he now manages UD Ibiza.
Yannick Cahuzac is a French football player. Cahuzac remains behind Pablo Alfaro by attaining 17 red cards in his football career. He plays as a midfielder for Toulouse FC. It has been reported recently that he may join RC Lens in the summer.
Felipe Melo de Carvalho
Brazilian football player Felipe Melo stands behind Yannick Cahuzac with 14 career red cards. He is a midfielder for club Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras. He made his football career by playing early on for Campeonato Brasileiro Série A teams Flamengo, Cruzeiro and Grêmio. He has also played for Mallorca, Racing Santander and Almería in LaLiga.
Vinnie Jones has gotten 12 career red cards in total, this gives him the 9th spot on the list. He is a professional football player turned actor who has played for Wimbledon, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and Wales. He was usually seen as the "hard man" on the field due to his aggressive attitude.