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From Souness’ row with Bellamy to Keane’s World Cup expulsion – football’s most explosive bust-ups

A happy, harmonious squad is often key to success, but sometimes in football things don’t work out that way.

There have been many occasions when players have been involved in high-profile disputes with clubs and managers.

Carl Dickinson, for instance, recently revealed that in 2013 he threatened to injure Watford’s new signings in training if the club didn’t pay off the remaining year of his contract.

Sportsmail has taken a look at some of football’s most explosive bust-ups ever.

Darren Bent was livid with Daniel Levy, accusing the Tottenham chairman of holding up his move to Sunderland.

Bent went on a furious tirade on Twitter during which he told Levy to stop ‘f****** around’.

The England international didn’t want to consider joining either Hull or Stoke. 

He wrote: ‘Seriously getting p***** off now. Why can’t anything be simple. It’s so frustrating hanging round. Sunderland are not the problem in the slightest. Do I wanna go HullCity? NO. Do I wanna go Stoke? NO. Do I wanna go Sunderland? YES. So stop f****** around Levy.’ 

Bent later apologised, saying: ‘I regret my actions and did not intend to offend Daniel Levy or anyone with the nature or the content of my posting.’

The striker’s move to Sunderland eventually went through as he made the switch to the Stadium of Light for a fee of £16.5million. 

One of the most memorable bust-ups between a player and manager, Keane was unsatisfied with the Republic of Ireland’s preparations for the 2002 World Cup.

Keane felt that Ireland’s travel arrangements, strategy, diet and manager Mick McCarthy’s tactics weren’t up to standard and the pair clashed at the training base in Saipan.  

Having previously decided to leave the training camp before changing his mind, Keane provided the Irish Times with details about his decision to leave.

The article was seen as questioning the competence of the FAI.

McCarthy was livid upon reading the article, with an argument ensuing.

After McCarthy accused him of faking an injury in a playoff clash against Iran, Keane said: ‘Mick, you’re a liar … you’re a f****** w*****. I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person. You’re a f****** w***** and you can stick your World Cup up your a***. 

‘The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your bollocks.’

Following that, McCarthy held a press conference in which he announced that Keane had been sent home.

Berahino was extremely angry with West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace after his proposed move to Tottenham failed to materialise.

A hugely frustrated Berahino took to Twitter to say that he would never play again under Peace.

He wrote: ‘Sad how I can’t say exactly how the club has treated me but I can officially say I will never play again Jeremy Peace.’ 

West Brom had rejected four bids from Tottenham for Berahino, who was fined for the comments that he made about Peace. 

Although Berahino did play again for West Brom he was eventually sold to Stoke in 2017.

Cole had progressed through the ranks at Arsenal and enjoyed much success, establishing himself as one of the standout left-backs in world football.

He was livid that Arsenal were only willing to offer him £55,000-per-week, and couldn’t believe it when his agent Jonathan Barnett told him the news. 

In his book, My Defence, Cole wrote: When I heard my agent repeat the figure of £55,000 [per week], I nearly swerved off the road. ‘He’s taking the p***, Jonathan!’ I yelled down the phone. I was trembling with anger.’

In 2005 Cole was found guilty of contacting Chelsea over a possible move without telling Arsenal. The England international was fined £100,000 by the Premier League for meeting then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and chief executive Peter Kenyon in a hotel.

Cole stayed at Arsenal for another year but eventually joined Chelsea in 2006 in a deal that saw William Gallas go the other way. Cole said that the Arsenal board had treated him as a ‘scapegoat’ and ‘fed him to the sharks’. 

France’s start to the 2010 World Cup certainly didn’t go to plan, with a goalless draw against Uruguay followed by a 2-0 defeat to Mexico.

It was claimed that Anelka told manager Raymond Domenech ‘go f*** yourself you son of a w****’ in the dressing room at half-time during the Mexico game. Both individuals have since refuted that suggestion, but Anelka reflected on the clash in his recent Netflix documentary.

He said: ‘I was frustrated going into the locker room. I was thinking to myself ‘I’m not getting the ball, I’m not finding a solution. We’re playing badly, it’s 0-0 and we still haven’t scored’.

‘All of a sudden, the coach came in and called me out by name. When he called out my name with all that pent-up frustration it just came out because I didn’t like it. I didn’t like that he called me out by name as if I were guilty, as if it were all my fault.

‘I took it as an attack. It was a big mistake. He had to know I was frustrated. He had to know I was a volcano about to erupt.’

Anelka was subsequently sent home, with the France squad refusing to train in protest. Patrice Evra was involved in an argument with fitness coach Robert Duverne.

France were knocked out in the group stages after losing their final game to South Africa and FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes resigned from his position.

Anelka, meanwhile, never played for France again. 

Souness fell out with several players during his tenure at Newcastle, with Bellamy chief amongst them.

After he was substituted against Charlton in 2004, Bellamy confronted Souness, leaving the Scotsman questioning whether he was in the right job.

Souness recounted that Bellamy had called him a ‘f***ing p**ck’.

Souness wrote in his autobiography Football: My Life and Passion: ‘At our next team meeting, he was sitting in the front row and, as I was talking, he kept shaking his head. ‘What is it that you are not agreeing with?’ I said.

‘Before he could answer me, I added: ‘Can we just go back over the past seven days of your life? You have told John Toshack he’s not getting the best from you with Wales, because he’s not using you in the correct position. You have told our chairman that St James’ Park doesn’t suit Craig Bellamy and then, on Saturday, you called me a f***ing p**ck.’

‘That’s when I physically got hold of him and asked him to come into the gym with me. I walked out of that meeting and thought: ‘What am I doing? Is this the job for me?’

Kieron Dyer revealed years later that Souness told Bellamy he hoped Nicky Butt had beaten the ‘s*** out of him’ after they had an altercation and threatened to knock him out when they butted heads during the team meeting. 

In 2005 Bellamy was left out for a game against Arsenal after feigning injury in a training session as he didn’t want to play on the right wing.

The forward was eventually loaned to Celtic before making a permanent switch to Blackburn.  

With Shearer appointed as Newcastle boss for the closing stages of the 2008-09 season, he called upon Joey Barton for a game against Liverpool.

Matters didn’t go to plan, however, with Barton being sent off at Anfield for a rash challenge on Xabi Alonso.

The red card saw Barton ruled out for the remainder of the season, with Newcastle eventually suffering relegation.

In the dressing room after the game Barton was confronted by Shearer. According to Barton, Shearer said: ‘You’re a s**thouse. You’re a f**king coward. You tried to break his leg.’

Unsurprisingly, Barton retaliated. He wrote in his autobiography: ‘You don’t want to deal with the truth. All you want to do is listen to the sycophants who surround you, telling you how great you are. Someone needs to tell you that it is not all about you. You were a great player, but that’s done.

‘Let’s deal in reality, because I can deal with that. I’ve been a stupid c**t. What about you? Have you ever done anyone? Do you remember kicking Neil Lennon in the head? You’re a cheat.

‘You are miles off the mark, miles off. To be fair, that’s where you’ve been at since you walked into this football club.’

Tempers flared when Manchester City boss Mancini accused Tevez, who was named as a substitute, of refusing to come on during a Champions League game against Bayern Munich in 2011.

Having initially been suspended, Tevez was placed on gardening leave where he was paid in full but ordered to stay away from City’s training ground.

Tevez failed to secure a move away in January 2012 and was eventually brought back into the fold.

The Argentine forward claimed that the situation was not helped by Mancini being involved in an argument with Edin Dzeko during the Bayern game.

Tevez also accused Mancini of treating him like a dog. As reported by BBC Sport, Tevez, said: ‘He’s in the middle of an argument so then he tells me to keep on warming up and treats me like a dog.

‘So when he spoke to me in that tone of voice, and I said ‘No, I’m not going out’. So I was willing to play, but the coach was in such a foul mood because he had that argument with Dzeko.’

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