Craig Bellamy squeezed my balls in the tunnel, Roy Keane tried to bully referees and John Obi Mikel still hasn’t apologised to me… Sportsmail’s MARK CLATTENBURG reveals the five most annoying players he’s officiated
*Mark Clattenburg has revealed the five most annoying players that he refereed
*Craig Bellamy was always a nuisance and was livid after a sending off v Bolton
*Roy Keane tried to bully referees – he got that from his boss Sir Alex Ferguson
*Jens Lehmann would always complain and other teams would wind him up
Mark Clattenburg has refereed the world’s greatest players and taken charge of the biggest matches, including finals of the European Championship, Champions League and FA Cup.
But while there have been plenty of successes, there have also been challenges and a number of players proved tough for Clattenburg – and his peers – to handle on the pitch
Here, Sportsmail’s columnist tells Craig Hope the five most irritating players he has presided over.
John Obi Mikel
I have picked Mikel because of the incident during a Chelsea v Manchester United match in 2012 when he accused me of making a racist comment, which was not right and I was later cleared by the FA.
He has never apologised and that is disappointing because it could have ruined my life. I fell out of love with refereeing for a while after that but couldn’t quit because I had a family to support and no other career to pursue.
It all left a bad feeling that still lingers today.
Mikel only heard the allegation from his team-mate Ramires, who did not speak English. Other Chelsea players have since apologised but nothing from Mikel.
He had the chance to say sorry and speak to me about it during a Nigeria friendly in the United States before the World Cup in 2014, and I would have welcomed that, but nothing, sadly.