The times footballers have broken the rules


Messi, Melo & the Pogbas: The best #StayAtHome challenges

Life has been put on hold throughout the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as people deal with the realities of social distancing and self-isolation.

Footballers are not immune to these restrictions and have already been coming up with novel ways to cope with the boredom and loneliness during this unexpected break.

But, while never this extreme – or serious – restrictions are nothing new to professional players, who already have to abide by club rules on lifestyle, curfew and clothing.

Earlier in March, Chelsea reminded their entire first-team squad of the rules around self-isolation after midfielder Mason Mount was pictured playing football with West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.

While Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish said he was “deeply embarrassed” after being pictured at the scene of a car accident on Sunday, despite having urged fans to stay at home hours earlier.

BBC Sport looks back at a selection of other times footballers have flouted the rules for one reason or another.

Taxi for Baggies players

Rooted to the bottom of the Premier League after just one win in their previous 25 matches, West Brom manager Alan Pardew could not have imagined things getting any worse when he took his side on a mid-season break to Barcelona.

Instead the trip went horribly wrong, with Baggies quartet Gareth Barry, Jonny Evans, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill having to apologise after a taxi was stolen from outside a fast-food restaurant in the city.

The players were interviewed but not arrested by police after the incident, which happened in the early hours of the morning after “breaking curfew”.

West Brom manager, Alan Pardew, said it was “unacceptable” and he “felt a bit let down” by the incident.

Mario Balotelli is currently playing in Italy’s Serie A for Brescia

‘Why always me’ – Balotelli’s costly curry

When it comes to being punished for breaches of club discipline, Italian forward Mario Balotelli is no stranger to being the wrong side of guidelines – as he highlighted in 2011 during the Manchester derby.

The 29-year-old has courted controversy for numerous on and off-field incidents in a chequered career.

And, while at Manchester City, he once broke a club curfew to have a late-night curry in the city centre fewer than 48 hours before the club played a Premier League game.

The incident reportedly incurred a hefty £150,000 fine, with any attempt to be inconspicuous not helped by his readiness to sign autographs and pose for pictures with fans, as well as staging a mock sword fight with a friend – using a rolling pin.

Tottenham players pay price for Dublin bash

It’s not often that Harry Redknapp goes on the warpath but, while he was in charge of Tottenham, he did just that after a golfing break to the Republic of Ireland was used as a pretext for an unauthorised Christmas party.