Newcastle bust-up: Ranking the 13 biggest training ground clashes


Things aren’t going particularly well for Newcastle United on the pitch right now.

Steve Bruce’s side are just three points above the relegation zone and look set for a nervy few months as they look to survive the drop.

And their struggles on the pitch have boiled over on the training ground.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Bruce and Matt Ritchie clashed as they traded insults with the manager even barging into the Scot.

It’s understood that Ritchie has now apologised for his role in the clash, in which he called Bruce a ‘coward.’


While training ground clashes are probably more common than we realise, they rarely involve the manager.

So, how does that rank in the biggest training ground bust-ups in football?

Let's take a look:

13. Steve Bruce vs Matt Ritchie

No punches were thrown. No injuries. Just a bit of argy-bargy. The fact it involves a manager means it’s well worth a place on the list, though.

12. Joe Gomez vs Raheem Sterling

Perhaps the most high-profile bust-up as the Liverpool and Manchester City stars clashed on England duty. Okay, this wasn’t strictly on the training ground as Sterling scratched Gomez’s face in the canteen while putting him in a headlock.


11. Sergio Ramos vs Sergio Reguilon

Ramos trains as he plays and wasn’t happy when Reguilon put in a rough challenge on him. The Real Madrid captain retaliated by kicking the ball at the left-back and had to be calmed down by Luka Modric.

10. Neymar vs Nelson Semedo

Shortly before his move to Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar clashed with Semedo in an incident that was caught on camera. Neymar had to be held back by his teammates before storming out of training.

9. Mario Balotelli vs Roberto Mancini

We love it when managers get involved. After a poor tackle, Mancini tried removing Balotelli from training by grabbing his bib and dragging him off the pitch. It took him ages to put that bib on, Roberto!


8. Aleksandar Mitrovic vs Aboubakar Kamara

One place you wouldn’t expect a bust-up is during a yoga session. But the two Fulham forwards managed that with Mitrovic believing his teammate was being disrespectful to the yoga teacher. Just weeks previously, Kamara had stolen the ball from designated penalty taker Mitrovic to take a spot-kick which he missed.

7. Freddie Ljungberg vs Olof Mellberg

Not how Sweden would have wanted to prepare for the 2002 World Cup as two of their biggest players clashed. Ljungberg wasn’t impressed with some strong challenges from the defender and grabbed him by the neck and wrestled him to the ground.

Incidentally, the two players clashed once again in the dressing room following a match against Trinidad and Tobago.

6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Oguchi Onyewu

Another Swede was involved back during his first spell at AC Milan. It resulted in a broken rib for Zlatan as he had a fight with defender Onyewu. In his autobiography, Zlatan wrote about the incident: “I headbutted him, and we flew at each other. We wanted to tear each other limb from limb. It was brutal. We were rolling around, punching and kneeing each other. We were crazy and furious — it was like life and death.”

5. Danny Drinkwater vs Jota

Drinkwater’s loan spell at Aston Villa didn’t go well and it was summed up by his moment of madness in training. The Premier League winner launched a headbutt on teammate Jota, to which Drinkwater later said: “I apologised straight away and I had to go home. I texted him straight after to apologise and take full responsibility. I Google translated it into Spanish as well to make sure he’d understand.”

4. Andy Carroll vs Steven Taylor

This deserves the No.4 spot based purely on the story behind it. It’s reported that Steven Taylor suffered a broken jaw after Andy Carroll discovered the defender had been texting his ex-partner. Both players apparently required surgery.


3. Thomas Gravesen vs Robinho

Like many of these bust-ups, this started with a rough tackle in training. Gravesen put in a strong challenge on Robinho which the Brazilian wasn’t happy about. But he picked on the wrong guy as the Dane lost his head and started throwing punches.

2. Eyal Berkovic vs John Hartson

Hartson’s tackle on Berkovic was the catalyst for a brutal training ground clash. Berkovic punched Hartson before the Scottish striker kicked the Israeli in the head. Wow.

1. Joey Barton vs Dabo

The biggest training clash we’ve ever heard of. Barton was given a six-match ban and a fourth-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting Dabo in training. When speaking about the incidents, Barton said “Dabo slapped me at the training ground so he got put a kip.”

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