Discipline is one of the parameters for knowing a complete and standard footballer. Of course, there are some players with zero red cards in their professional football careers, past and present.
Profile-wise, only midfielders and defenders are open to getting red or yellow cards during a football match. It’s actually part of the rules of the game.
An attacker or a winger doesn’t usually get booked for those cards. Because his job on the pitch revolves around causing havoc inside the opponent’s box.
Speaking of players with zero red cards in their professional football careers. It’s surprising that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo aren’t on the list.
The Portuguese magnifico and the 2022 FIFA World Cup champion have been booked for red cards many times. Despite the fact that they play as attackers.
Only a reckless attacker can pick up a yellow or red card in a game. Perhaps of his reckless tackles or any action that goes against the rules of the sport.
Defenders are always open to picking up cards on the pitch. Their job is to defend their respective boxes, preventing the opponent’s players from penetrating.
Of course, Lionel Messi is considered a very disciplined player. Because he doesn’t get into fights on the pitch, or make any reckless tackles.
Regardless, he has picked up one or two red cards in his professional football career, particularly at Barcelona. Meanwhile, he’s not a defender, but a playmaker.
What does a red card in football mean?
A red card is used to discipline a player for any fouls, misconducts, or bad behaviors during the game. It usually gets a player sent off the pitch.
There are many things that can result in a red card during a game. Nevertheless, it all revolves around fouls, fights, and the rest. That’s why it’s used to discipline players.
A player who’s given a red card won’t be able to play the rest of the match. At the same time, he will be suspended from playing the next matches.
However, there’s a straight red card. Which means a player commits a severe foul that gets him sent off instantly. It usually results in a three-game ban.
On the other hand, two yellow cards in a single game can result in a red card. But that usually leads to 1-match ban.
Who are the players with zero red cards in their professional football careers?
Andrés Iniesta (midfielder)
The Spaniard is literally one of the coolest players in the world of football. He doesn’t get into fights or make any stupid fouls on the pitch.
Of course, Andrés Iniesta has picked up many yellow cards in his career. However, he has never been booked for a red card in his football career.
The former Barcelona has now made 600 appearances for both club and country. Amazingly, he’s one of the players with zero red cards in their professional football careers.
Iniesta is currently playing for Vissel Kobe in Japan, making 113 appearances for the Japanese side. Nevertheless, he hasn’t picked up a red card.
Hernán Crespo (striker)
The former Argentine central-forward played more than 500 games in his career, without a single red card. Of course, he was a striker, always stayed up front.
Many strikers, like Harry Kane of Tottenham, are fond of dropping deep into the midfield to link up with their teammates. However, Crespo was a different type of No.9.
He picked up many yellow cards in the Premier League when he played for Chelsea. Regardless, he’s still without a red card despite the league’s toxicity.
Hernán Crespo played for 10 different clubs during his football career, making more than 60 appearances for the Argentina national team. Yet, no red cards were added to his record.
João Moutinho (midfielder)
The 36-year-old Portuguese midfielder is currently playing for Wolverhampton in the Premier League. He has already played more than 170 games for the Wolves.
It’s unbelievable to see João Moutinho on the list of players with zero red cards in their professional football careers. Because of his aggressiveness.
The Portuguese central midfielder is an aggressive player. He always puts his physicality into action on the pitch, but he hasn’t picked up a red card in his career.
At the club level, he has played for the likes of Sporting CP, Monaco, and Porto. Nevertheless, he hasn’t committed any severe fouls on the pitch that would result in a red card.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
The 2022 Ballon D’or winner may be one of the most aggressive and dangerous strikers in Europe’s top-5 leagues. However, he’s always careful on the pitch against the opposition.
Karim Benzema has now played more than 400 games for Real Madrid, scoring over 200 goals. Regardless, no red card adds to his name.
The Frenchman is usually aggressive in the UEFA Champions League. He loves playing impressively, and scoring goals in European competition.
Many other strikers in Europe have been booked for red cards many times. Nevertheless, Benzema is always careful on the pitch, making flawless tackles.
Ryan Giggs (midfielder)
Despite playing in the Premier League at Manchester United. The former Welsh midfielder didn’t pick up a red card throughout his career at Old Trafford.
Ryan Giggs was more like Andrés Iniesta. They were usually cool and careful in every football match. They focused on making passes and creating chances.
The former Welsh international played for only Manchester United in his football career. He made over 600 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 114 goals.
Even though the Premier League is usually toxic, regardless of the fixture. Giggs wasn’t carried away by the toxicity, he always stayed alert on the pitch.
Damien Duff (winger)
This is another star footballer who was able to manage the toxicity in the Premier League. Of course, he played as a winger throughout his career.
Damien Duff played over 80 games for Chelsea in all competitions. Regardless, he was able to stay away from a red card at Stamford Bridge.
The Irish football manager was poor defensively. As a result, he didn’t have any defensive weapons, never made himself available to help the team at the back.
He was more like Romelu Lukaku. Damien Duff preferred to stay up front, waiting for his teammates to create chances for him. So, he has no reason to commit reckless fouls.
Raúl González (striker)
It’s believed that Karim Benzema learned many things from Raúl González. His focus on the pitch revolves around scoring goals, and creating chances.
The former Spanish central forward is one of the players with zero red cards in their professional football careers. Meanwhile, he’s very successful as a player.
Raúl González never committed himself to any defensive work—no tackles or interceptions. As a result, he made himself stay away from the red card.
However, the Real Madrid legend picked up many yellow cards with Los Blancos. He made over 500 appearances, scoring 228 goals for the club.
The 40-year-old Portuguese centre-back is one of the most dangerous defenders in Europe’s top five leagues. He has single-handedly terrorized many strikers in his career.
Pepe is currently playing for Porto in Portugal. Surprisingly, he made some appearances for his national team during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Obviously, the centre-back was very aggressive. Nevertheless, he has never picked up a red card in his professional football career.
Meanwhile, he has many yellow cards to his name as a defender. But he hasn’t committed any unnecessary fouls against the opponents in a football game.
Philipp Lahm (full-back)
Despite being one of the most dangerous fullbacks of all time in football history. He has never been sent off in his entire career, making more than 300 appearances for Bayern Munich.
Pep Guardiola once said Philipp Lahm was one of the most intelligent players he ever managed. The German international was always careful on the pitch.
Of course, defenders are usually open to picking up a red card on the pitch. Regardless, the former Bavarians star player was very intelligent.
Philipp Lahm wasn’t as aggressive as Pepe. However, he was sound defensively, never allowed the opponent’s players to get past him on the pitch.
Gary Lineker (striker)
The former English striker’s intelligence as a footballer is on a different level. He was such a complete and disciplined player throughout his career.
Gary Lineker once played for Barcelona, making 103 appearances and scoring 42 goals. Also, he played for Everton, Leicester City, and Tottenham.
The Englishman was a prolific goal-scorer. He’s the highest goal-scorer for the Foxes and the Toffees. Such a striker with flawless finishing prowess.
Amazingly, Gary Lineker didn’t receive a yellow or red card in his entire professional football career. He didn’t pick up any cards as a striker.