Premier League referee Michael Oliver has named former Liverpool and Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy as the worst player he's had to deal with in his career.
Oliver has been refereeing for over 20 years since being encouraged to get into the profession by his father, Clive, who was also a match official.
Now aged 36, Oliver is arguably the Premier League's top official and has been in charge of some of the biggest matches in football.
And Oliver has opened up on dealing with difficult players in an interview with The Athletic; where he admitted that Bellamy, in particular, was "a nightmare".
“Craig Bellamy was incredibly difficult," admitted Oliver when quizzed on the worst players he's had to deal with.
"What you find is that some teams are difficult. Teams that aren’t winning for a starter — that’s the same at every level — and teams who aren’t used to losing, the frustration level is higher for them.
"But one player, it would be Bellamy. I watched him for two or three years — I’m a Newcastle fan and you wanted him in your team because he was a winner. But he was a nightmare to referee because he would argue about everything. If you told him it was black, he’d tell you it was white.”
Bellamy, who also had spells at Manchester City and Cardiff City, had a reputation for his time in the Premier League for being a handful for match officials and he was often in the thick of things on the pitch.
Who do you think would be the worst player in the Premier League to deal with as a referee? Let us know in the comments section.
And Oliver isn't the first referee to accuse Bellamy of being a handful.
Former referee Mark Clattenburg also namedropped the fiery Welsh star when discussing nightmare players.
Speaking on talkSPORT last year, Clattenburg said: "Even if he was wrong, he was right.
"I think I got on the wrong foot with him because I remember he was at Manchester City. It was tongue-in-cheek, I was like that as a referee.
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"I wouldn't be smart with players because I knew that in the game they would be upset so there was times you could have banter and times you couldn't. It was the same for players with me.
"But I remember Craig Bellamy coming off at half-time, he was giving me dogs abuse. I gave him a caution for dissent and I said to Man City: 'How do you put up with this week in, week out?' Because I was getting it on a one-off basis.
"And that got reported in the media which was bad because whatever is said on the pitch should say on the pitch."
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