Dangerous footballers: The mercurial characters on your team capable of terrifying opponents witless, the wide eyed mavericks intent on causing chaos across the field through every second of the match, the tough tacklers who referees will always watch with a hawk-like stare.

Over the years, there's been a select few hard men who have gone above and beyond for their sides, turning their rugged style of play into a trademark, taking one for the team in the booking department and giving their sides some real edge against their opponents.

Let's take look at five of the toughest footballers to have ever graced the pitch.

Sergio Ramos

UEFA Champions League'Real Madrid v Liverpool FC'

​Real Madrid stalwart Sergio Ramos has made a career out of controversial tackles and collecting bookings - just ask Mohamed Salah.

The Los Blancos legend helped his side power to their third Champions League trophy on the bounce last season, after comprehensively taking Liverpool talisman Salah out of the game with a 'calculated' challenge. 

It's not just on the grand stage either that he shows how dangerous he is; Ramos is a bustling titan of a player week in, week out at the Bernabéu​ - regardless of the game, or the opponent. Ramos has picked up more cards - be it yellow or red - than any other player in the history of La Liga, the Champions League, and the Spain national team.

Nigel de Jong

Netherlands' midfielder Nigel de Jong (R

The 2010 World Cup Final will be remembered for just one thing: Absolute chicanery from the Netherlands team.The pick of the bunch was Nigel de Jong, whose (not at all uncharacteristic) flying karate kick of Xabi Alonso was somehow not deemed a red card offence by referee Howard Webb.

The Dutch side came oh so close to claiming the trophy, but were denied by Andrés Iniesta's dramatic extra time winner. De Jong would later be dropped from the Dutch team, partly because of his extraordinarily bad disciplinary record.

Gennaro Gattuso

A.C. Milan's midfielder Gennaro Ivan Gat

Cut AC Milan legend Gennaro Gattuso and he bleeds black and red. The tenacious midfielder spent over a decade with I Rossoneri, playing a starring role in their star packed midfielder during their mid-2000s peak.

Never one to shy away from a tackle, Gattuso often got himself into a number of confrontations throughout any given 90 minutes - despite his relatively small stature. He was gritty, determined and full of fight - characteristics that he has taken forward into the next chapter of his career as Milan's manager. 

Roy Keane

Roy Keane, Alf Inge Haaland

There probably isn't enough space on the internet to list Roy Keane's misdemeanours as a player, but suffice to say, he was rather partial to the odd two-footed challenge.

The Republic of Ireland international was the rough diamond in the heart of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United midfield, and his dogged style of play saw the Red Devils win seven Premier League title, four FA Cups and a Champions League with him on the field.

His most infamous moment on the pitch saw him exact revenge on Manchester City midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland for a challenge that Keane had received a couple of years previously - and it wasn't pretty viewing.

Gerardo Bedoya

André Santos,Gerardo Alberto Bedoya

You can't really have a list of the most dangerous footballers time without a little mention of the most red carded (46!) player of all time - Gerardo Bedoya.

The combative, to say the least, midfielder plied his deadly trade throughout South America, and won the Copa America with Colombia as he went on to make 49 appearances for the national team.

So deadly they'll probably name a species of rare, venomous viper after him in years to come, Bedoya was an absolute nightmare of an opponent.

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