Who Has The Most Red Cards In Football History?


Penalty cards in football are not an uncommon sight. 

Tough-tackling defenders can get carried away in the heat of the moment– sometimes more than once in a single season. 

But, who has the most red cards in the history of football? 

Let’s find out.

10. Gonzalo Rodriguez

photo source: https://www.transfermarkt.com/gonzalo-rodriguez/profil/spieler/19998
  • Status: Retired
  • Last club: San Lorenzo
  • Red Cards: 17
  • Appearances: 516

The now-retired Argentinian centre-back Gonzalo Rodriguez spent most of his career playing for Villareathroughoutappearances over the course of eight La Liga seasons and 8 red cards –  before he joined Fiorentina.

He made his first appearance for the Argentinian national team at the age of 20 and played in the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship.

In the Italian Serie A, Gonzalo received a total of 51 warnings and 7 red cards, and 125 yellow cards on record overall.

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9. Deividas Šemberas

photo source: https://www.transfermarkt.com/deividas-semberas/profil/spieler/15595
  • Status: Retired
  • Club: Žalgiris Vilnius
  • Red Cards: 17
  • Appearances: 663

The former Lithuanian international spent most of his career playing for the Russian giants Dinamo Moscow and CSKA Moscow. 

He also spent one season in Alania Vladikavkaz and one in the Lithuanian club Zalgiris as a centre-back and a defensive midfielder.

With 18 trophies to his name, the majority of them with CSKA Moscow, and 157 yellow cards, Šemberas was a good team player and one that played without the boundaries of what is allowed on the pitch when it comes to preventing an attack from putting the ball in the net.

8. Gary Medel

photo source: https://newsbeezer.com/chileeng/the-ridiculous-figure-that-bologna-set-medel-so-that-the-chilean-would-leave-the-club-soon/
  • Status: Active
  • Club: Bologna
  • Red Cards: 19
  • Appearances: 595

The Chilean defensive midfielder has played with several teams in numerous countries–  most notably for Sevilla, Cardiff City, and Inter Milan–  before he moved to 

Beşiktaş in Turkey in 2017, and back to Italy to join Bologna in 2019.

Mendel has a reputation for getting sent off the pitch several times in a season and was eventually nicknamed ‘Pitbull’ due to his aggressive style, which also earned him 156 yellow cards over the course of his career.

In his two seasons with Sevilla, he received 7 cards –one less than the total amount of goals he scored during that time.

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7. Gerardo Torrado

photo source: https://www.goal.com/en-us/news/69/transfer-zone/2016/06/08/24425242/gerardo-torrado-signs-with-nasls-indy-eleven
  • Status: Retired
  • Last club: Indy Eleven
  • Red Cards: 19
  • Appearances: 678

Gerardo Torrado isprimarilyired Mexican player who mostly played for Mexican and Spanish clubs during his career and recorded 146 caps for his national team. 

Torrado, who is a three times winner of the Gold Cup and one-time Confederations Cup winner, was known for having excellent passing abilities and for preferring a more aggressive play.

He is also one of the players with thew cards, recording a total of 241 before retiring from the sport.

6. Fernando Amorebieta

photo source: https://www.transfermarkt.com/fernando-amorebieta/profil/spieler/35548
  • Status: Retired
  • Last club: Cerro Porteño 
  • Red Cards: 19
  • Appearances: 408

The Venezuelan centre-back Fernando Amorebieta, who spent most of his career with Athletic Bilbao, was no stranger to yellow and red cards on the pitch.

He received 143 yellow cards during his time on the pitch, while playing in England (for Middlesbrough and Fu during his time on the pitchlham), Paraguay, and Argentina. 

Out of 19 red cards he got, the most shocking one was when he bit and headbutted a player in the Paraguayan derby – an incident that happened during his time with Cerro Porteño.

5. Felipe Melo

  • Status: Active
  • Club: Fluminense
  • Red Cards: 20
  • Appearances: 628

The Brazilian midfielder, who currently plays for Fluminense, has a reputation for being a strong, tenacious, and hardworking player with a strong game instinct, which has earned him the nickname ‘Gladiator’.

Melo, who has played for some of the most hated football clubs in Europe, such as Juventus and Inter Milan, stands as Brazil’s most red-carded player with 20 red cards and 208 yellow cards on this stats list. 

What’s even more surprising is that he played for Brazil on an international level for one season only in which he earned 22 caps and two red cards.

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4. Matteo Contini

photo source: https://www.transfermarkt.com/matteo-contini/profil/spieler/25318
  • Status: Retired
  • Last club: Pergolettese
  • Red Cards: 21
  • Appearances: 534

Contini is a former defensive player and a football coach who started both his youth and later senior career at Milan and played for a handful of Italian clubs, including Napoli and Atlanta before he retired from football. 

He is not the roughest defender that the world of football has seen, but has more than enough red cards to make the cut thanks to his tough-tacking style of play. 

He received 165 yellow cards during his time on the pitch and has had to skip a good number of games because of his aggressive playstyle. 

3. Rafael Marquez

  • Status: Coach
  • Last club: Atlas
  • Red Card Rate: 22
  • Appearances: 709

Mexico’s centre-back and defensive midfielder, Rafael Marquez, is considered to be the best defender in Mexico’s history with 148 caps to his name and an impressive trophy collection.

“The Kaiser of Michoacan”, who now coaches the Spanish team Barcelona Atlètic, is known for his great positioning, technical skills, and tackling ability.  

Marques also made multiple headlines for numerous confrontations with opponents for which he was often sent off the pitch–  both in domestic and international plays. He famously head-butted Colin Jones as the United States took victory over Mexico in the 2002 World Cup.

2. Sergio Ramos

  • Status: Active
  • Club: Paris Saint-Germain
  • Red Cards: 27
  • Appearances: 911

The Spain and Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders in the history of football. 

Despite being one of the most accomplished footballers in the world, Ramos has often been on the receiving end of criticism for impulsive plays and what some have described as excessive use of force. 

He picked up his first League 1 red card against Lorient, and the other 26 were while playing for one of the clubs with the biggest fanbase, Real Madrid.

He is the second player with most red cards in the sport who has received a total of 250 yellow cards overall and the most red-carded player in the history of the Champions League.

1. Gerardo Bedoya

photo source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53340237
  • Status: Retired
  • Last club: Cúcuta Deportivo
  • Red Cards: 46
  • Appearances: 601

The player with the most red cards in history is the retired Columbian footballer, Gerardo Bedoya, also known as ‘The General’ or ‘The Beast’.

The Colombian legend accumulated a total of 45 red cards during his 20-year playing career. His most memorable one was his 41st red card when he elbowed an opponent and gave him a subsequent kick-out, which also earned him a 15-match ban.  

He received his first red card as an assistant coach the very next year– and only 21 minutes in the match.

Related: How many red cards does Ronaldo have?

Bottom Line

So, who has the most red cards in history?

The record for the most red cards received by any player in the history of football is held by Gerardo Bedoya, who had many history-defining moments on the pitch amid the many flashes of red. 

Paris Saint-Germain’s Sergio Ramos is a close second, but he has a long way to go to catch up with the former Colombian footballer. 

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