Mark Clattenburg has picked the five players he found it most challenging to officiate during his time in the middle.
The former Premier League referee took charge of matches between 2004 and 2017 and brandished 48 red cards.
During that period he became known as one of the country’s top officials and was included in the teams that refereed the final of the 2016 Euros and final of the 2016 Champions League between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
He had his fair share of runnings with the likes of Roy Keane, who was a hand full for any referee.
The Irishman isn’t the only former Manchester United man in his list though as he recalled in the Daily Mail which player were most difficult to officiate.
No 1 on Clattenburg’s list is reserved for the journeyman striker.
He sent Bellamy off in 2010 for two bookable offences – one of which was diving – and certainly didn’t enjoy their meetings.
“The worst one – and I’ve thought it for years – was Bellamy,” said Clattenburg.
“He was just the most irritating player on the pitch – and he was irritating off it.
“He was downright rude and it didn’t matter what you said to him. I made mistakes against him but what he used to say to you, it was not acceptable.
“People say you should have sent him off and I did — incorrectly for diving.
“I cautioned him at Bolton for diving and it was a blatant penalty. He was a guy I just didn’t really get on well with.”
The centre-half moved to Old Trafford in 2002 and Clattenburg clearly felt he picked up the mind game game trick, but admits he mellowed with time.
He said: “I found him difficult to referee during that Fergie era because he was always trying to play mind games.
“He tried to get under your skin, probably to get that next decision.
“He was such a difficult player to referee as he was always in your face. When I got older and a bit more wiser, he probably left us alone more.”
The former Real Madrid star is now at Porto and still putting in some accomplished performances.
But he has always been associated with the game’s dark arts – something Clattenburg had to deal with on his meeting with the Portuguese defender.
He said: “Everyone always asks about the incident in the 2016 Champions League final when I did that thing with my tongue as he was rolling around on the floor, play-acting.
“In my head I was thinking: ‘How soft are you for a big man?’
“He was another player you just couldn’t trust. A game could be easy and straightforward then he would do something sly.”
Clattenburg’s career as a referee begun when Keane’s time in England was coming to an end.
Plenty of referees had their history with him – David Elleray sent him off four times during his career.
But Clatteburg claims the unknown of the Irishman’s next move always made things difficult.
He said: “Roy was physical, hard and you couldn’t trust him. Look at the tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland for example.
“You never knew what he was going to do next.
“He always came across as stone-cold and wanted to be the hard man.
“That causes problems for referees because the ego kicks in and it becomes a fight, like it did between him and Patrick Vieira.”
The Arsenal goalkeeper had an incredible record for picking up yellow cards.
He managed to be booked eight times in the 2006/07 season despite only giving away one foul.
“I used to find Jens Lehmann such hard work,” said Clattenburg.
“He was always difficult because he’d always whinge about people stepping on his toes in the penalty area.
“Centre-forwards would always try and wind him up. A corner would come in and they would give him a little nudge and he’d go ballistic and push players and have arguments with referees.
“He was always a difficult one.”