The 2017/18 season drew to a close across Europe's 'top five' leagues last weekend, bringing down the curtain on a campaign brimming with stunning goals, outrageous skills and exhilarating moments that serve to remind us why football is, quite simply, the greatest sport on earth.
For all the wonderful examples of the game showcased across Europe's elite leagues, there has of course also been a spate of disciplinary nightmares, with the ugly side of the game rearing its head throughout the season. These heinous sporting crimes were perpetrated by a terrifying group of individuals: The footballing bad boys.
The kind of men who rise at dawn already enveloped in a thick haze of rage, drink a pint of molten mustard and punch the mild mannered postman squarely in the stomach on the way out the front door. Plying their filth ridden trade throughout the top tiers, these scoundrels have unleashed wild two-footed tackles and lunged their way around the field with one simple goal in mind: To be crowned 90min's 2018 Footballing Bad Boy.
Last season's competition was a tight affair, with AC Milan's Gabriel Paletta scooping the award on the last day of the season after a campaign of sheer bone-crunching skullduggery, before being swiftly loaded into an iron cage and sold off to the highest bidder in the Chinese Super League.
With the former Liverpool flop unable to defend his crown this year, it's all up for grabs. So without further ado, here are the top ten worst disciplined players across Europe's top 5 leagues in 2017/18...
NB: To avoid confusion, the scoring system is as follows: Yellow card = 5 points. Yellow card x2 then red = 12 points. Straight red card = 15 points. Also, since La Liga players have gone out of their way to dominate proceedings, a maximum of three players from each league will be included.
10. Oriol Romeu - Southampton - 55 Points
Kicking us off it's Southampton's Oriol Romeu, who picked up a staggering eleven yellow cards throughout his side's tricky campaign.
While we're here, it must be stated that this is the end of the Premier League players' contribution - a truly pathetic effort this year.
Leicester City's Wilfried Ndidi and Huddersfield Town's Jonathan Hogg almost made the top ten with their exertions, but they paled into insignificance against the hard tackling lunacy of their continental cousins this season.
Shame on you, for your disciplined play and generous refereeing, Premier League.
9. Naby Keïta - RB Leipzig - 62 Points
Well, well, well, 'Baby Keith', you have been a naughty boy!
Surging his way into the list is RB Leipzig - soon to be Liverpool - midfielder Naby Keïta, whose seven yellow cards and two reds saw him in an awful lot of bother in Bundesliga this season.
The Guinean's savagery didn't stop in the league either - as he went on to pick up red cards in the domestic cup and during a World Cup qualifier against Tunisia.
8. Francesco Magnanelli - Sassuolo - 69 Points
Not content with being his club's all-time record appearance holder, Sassuolo's Francesco Magnelli launches his way into the top ten after a season of unrelenting brutality.
At the age of 33, the defensive midfielder is perhaps not as agile as he once was, meaning his tackles have been somewhat clumsy of late, causing him to be sent off twice this season.
Perhaps the most embarrassing of his dismissals was against Chievo, where the former Fiorentina man essentially rugby tackled his opponent from behind to stop him breaking away.
7. Mario Balotelli - OGC Nice - 70 Points
Ahhh, hello old friend! For the second year in a row, Nice's notorious maverick of the game Mario Balotelli finds himself in the Bad Boys top ten. Well, of course he does.
Picking up 11 yellow cards and one straight red, the Italian international has produced his standard season of goalscoring excellence (18 in 26 games) marred with utter madness.
Case in point: Upon losing possession against Dijon in November - in the 89th minute when his side were winning - Super Mario chased down his opponent, landing a vicious two footed tackle from behind. Straight red card, obviously.
Oh Mario. Why always you?
6. Fallou Diagne - Metz - 70 Points
To say Metz's loanee Fallou Diagne had a explosive start to the season would not be doing his crimes justice.
Having seen red in a fiercely fought loss at home to Dijon, in which he pushed an opposition player to the floor and kicked him in the backside, the Senegalese powerhouse returned from suspension a month later...to only go and get a straight red again! This time for a catastrophic two-footer.
Sadly for his hopes of winning the Bad Boy award, Diagne wised up after this spell, but still managed to pick up a host of bookings throughout Metz's miserable campaign.
5. Daniele Baselli - Torino - 72 Points
Another bad boy tearing it up in Serie A, Torino's Daniele Baselli has taken a similar approach to Nicolò Barrella (you'll see him later), in terms of consistently picking up bookings for silly fouls - racking up 12 bookings and one red card in the process.
The combative midfielder came a cropper against Juventus early on in the season, after a truly outrageous, karate style lunge at I Bianconeri man Miralem Pjanić.
Torino went on to lose the match 4-0, and Baselli (or, most likely, his advisors) felt compelled to provide a grovelling apology on Twitter after the game. Oh dear...
4. Álvaro - Villarreal - 77 Points
Racking up a mountain of bookings and one sending off, Villarreal's tackling machine Álvaro has been the scourge of his opponents all season.
Picking up his solo dismissal in style, Álvaro took exception with the referees decision to allow a questionable Athletic Bilbao goal during a 3-1 hiding, and nonchalantly applauded the officials efforts.
Needless to say it didn't go down well, and saw him dispatched from the field of play. But surely this minor inconvenience was worth it for a strong finish in the Bad Boy rankings.
3. Nicolò Barella - Cagliari - 77 Points
Cagliari's Nicolò Barella has had his fair share of appearances in referee notebooks across Serie A this season, including a sending off against AC Milan for a wild, studs-up tackle on Lucas Biglia.
A constant thorn in the side of his opponents, the Rossoblu youth product has become notorious for his dogged, gameplay disrupting displays in midfield.
It may be fair to put the 21-year-old's ill-discipline down to the arrogance of youth, but he'll need to buck his ideas up if he's to avoid similar sanctions next season.
2. Damián Suárez - Getafe - 85 Points
Oh he tried, he came so close, but Getafé's Damián Suárez just fell short of claiming this year's prize. I wouldn't fancy being the one to tell him that, though.
Suárez offered a true masterclass in being a downright pain in the backside for referees this season, picking up 14 bookings and a red card as part of his rage against the disciplinary machine.
The Uruguayan's comeuppance finally came against Girona, when he was sent off for pushing an opposition player in the face during an off the ball incident. Crikey.
1. Daniel Parejo - Valencia - 90 Points
Ladies and genteman, taking the crown (Actually, the trophy is more like a knuckleduster) this year is none other than...Valencia midfielder Daniel Parejo!
Bizzarely, despite his outrageous record of 15 bookings and one straight red, the 29-year-old has excelled for his side this season, to the extent that in March he even earned his first international cap for Spain.
Snatching his award from the grasp of last year's champion Palletta, Parejo lifted his head back and roared a sinister laugh, before proclaiming: "This is all the proof you need. The bad guys always win in the end!".