Soccer is a Contact Sport: The 5 Toughest Dogs In Soccer

Soccer is a contact sport, so minor fouls are common and normal. However, some players have made fouling their passion and as an opponent of these players, you have to fear for your health. We have summarized the 5 toughest fouls in soccer here, but first, we will explain to you what kind of contact is legal in soccer and what is illegal.

Legal Contact

While it’s often debated whether soccer is a contact sport, it involves a level of physical interaction that’s integral to the game. Legal contact in soccer aligns with specific regulations to maintain fair play.

Types of Legal Contact:

  • Shoulder Charging: Players may engage in shoulder-to-shoulder battles to gain possession of the ball, as long as it’s executed fairly.
  • Tackling: Going for the ball with feet, if done cleanly, is allowed. The timing and manner of this contact make the difference between a legal play and a foul.
  • Ball Shielding: A player can use their body to protect the ball, without using arms to push or hold opponents.

Rules on Legal Contact: Players are expected to:

  • Only make contact when challenging for a ball that is within playing distance.
  • Avoid using arms or elbows aggressively.

Any deviation from these can lead to a game foul, awarded by the referee. Soccer’s physical nature, under these conditions, justifies the classification that soccer is a contact sport, as it contains elements defining contact sports without crossing into excessive violence.

Illegal Contact

While soccer is a contact sport, not all physical contact is permitted. The game maintains a balance between allowing players to compete for the ball and protecting participant safety. It is essential to understand which types of contact are considered illegal within the sport.

Fouls and Misconduct
The official rules, as described in Law 12 of the Laws of the Game, outline what constitutes illegal contact:

  • Kicking or attempting to kick an opponent
  • Tripping or attempting to trip an opponent
  • Jumping at an opponent
  • Charging an opponent in a violent or dangerous manner
  • Striking or attempting to strike an opponent
  • Pushing an opponent

Illegal conduct escalates from poor challenges during play to severe infractions that involve excessive force or brutality.

Sanctions for Illegal Contact
Referees are tasked with evaluating the contract and determining whether it infringes on the rules. Based on their judgment, referees may issue:

  • Direct free kicks or penalty kicks for more severe fouls
  • Indirect free kicks for non-dangerous conduct or obstruction
  • A yellow card as a caution
  • A red card for serious offenses, resulting in the player’s ejection from the match

Understanding these boundaries is pivotal in ensuring that soccer remains a competitive yet safe sport for everyone involved.

The 5 Toughest Dogs In Soccer

Gennaro Gattuso

Soccer is a contact sport Soccer is a contact Sport + Gattuso
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This man was truly a dog on the pitch. A dog that chased and bit anyone who wasn’t wearing the AC Milan jersey. In the end, he had 119 yellow cards, 4 yellow-red cards, and one red card on his CV.

Jaap Stam

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He was very quiet off the pitch, very quiet in the dressing room – but once he got on the pitch you knew he meant business. He wasn’t somebody you wanted to cross, he was a real animal on the pitch.

Paul Scholes

A picture and a quote. That’s all you need to say about this man.

Roy Keane

Roy Keane, a storybook leader and one of the toughest dogs ever to play soccer. Especially the story with Erling Haaland’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, is indicative of how tough Roy Keane was.

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In 1997, Keane tried to stop Haaland in the penalty area and tore his own cruciate ligament, after which Haaland ran to him and called him a malingerer. Keane does not forget these words and 4 years later, when they meet again, he jumps with full intent and kung fu kicks Haaland’s knee. His statement: “I hit him bloody hard. The ball was there – I think. Take that, you bastard. And don’t ever stand over me and mock fake injuries again.” He also later admits to having a hangover from alcohol. Alf-Inge Haaland never really got back into shape after the foul and had to end his career at the age of 29 after another knee injury.

Vinnie Jones

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Vinni Jones has built an entire movie career playing the tough guy. Well, “playing” might be the wrong term, because he really was a tough guy and basically played himself in movies. In the Premier League, he was known as “The Axe” because he saw his opponents as trees and simply chopped them down.


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oh sry, that’s the wrong pepe

Soccer is a contact sport Soccer is a contact Sport + PEPE
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That’s the right one, well, it probably looks similar under a shirt.

Just one video is enough for Pepe.

Even if the video shows the bad side of Pepe, he was one of the best central defenders in the world in his day.

You may also have noticed that most of these names are players who have long since stopped playing soccer. There are hardly any players like that these days. Do you think this development is good? What do you think about soccer is a contact sport? Let us know in the comments!

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