Six biggest maverick characters in football as David Luiz celebrates birthday

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A footballer doesn't have to be a great player to be a maverick, he has to have a different aura about him – just like David Luiz.

The Arsenal centre-half is celebrating his 32nd birthday today, and while many would regard him as a decent enough defender, it's not his ability to play the game that endears him to fans.

Rather, it is his willingness to take risks, run with the ball and generally do something a little bit different to what you might expect from a conventional central defender.

With that in mind, Daily Star Sport have looked at the six biggest mavericks in football, starting with the Brazil nut himself.

David Luiz

It’s hard to put a finger on what makes Luiz such a maverick. He’s just a little bit…different.

The former Chelsea man is as unpredictable as they come, with supporters always unable to second guess what Luiz is going to do.

It’s that unpredictability that makes Luiz so interesting to watch and makes him one of the most exciting players to have in the team.

He might be suspect defensively, but you’re always guaranteed fireworks with Luiz in the starting line-up.

Jamie Vardy

How could a man who used to drink Skittles-flavoured vodka not make it into our list of the biggest mavericks in football?

Don’t be fooled, though, it’s not just Vardy’s love of an alcoholic treat that makes him such a maverick, it’s his all-round play.

The Leicester City title winner is always on the absolute edge of his game and loves nothing more than to wind up the opposition.

They don’t make players like Vardy anymore, and if they did, there would probably be a warrant to close down the factory.

Mario Balotelli

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  • There are mavericks – and then there are mavericks, and it’s difficult for any player on this list to compete with Mario Balotelli.

    From his ‘Why Always Me’ shirt to letting off fireworks in his own bathroom and his tribulations with a warm-up bib while at Manchester City, the Italian striker really is one-of-a-kind.

    Now with second-tier side Monza in Serie B, Balotelli will always hold a place in the hearts of English football fans.

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    “When you buy me, you are buying a Ferrari. If you drive a Ferrari you put premium petrol in the tank, you hit the motorway and you step on the gas. Guardiola filled up with diesel and took a spin in the countryside. He should have bought a Fiat.”

    No ordinary footballer could come out with a quote like that, but then Zlatan Ibrahimovic is no ordinary footballer, not by a long chalk.

    The AC Milan ace has long been one of the game’s most colourful characters thanks to his incredible aura both on and off the pitch.

    Joey Barton

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    There aren’t too many footballers who have courted the kind of controversy that Joey Barton has, appeared on Question Time and then gone on to become a manager.

    The ex-QPR and Man City doesn’t do things by the book, and while he wasn’t a mercurial talent on the pitch, he sees the world in a unique light to most people.

    His general outlook and outspoken approach to football and politics mark him out as being a little bit different to the norm and make him worthy of our maverick tag.

    Luis Suarez

    The definition of a maverick is an “independent-minded person.” They don’t get much more independent-minded than Luis Suarez.

    The Uruguayan has made some decisions over the years that only he could explain, yet we still fall in love with his ability on the pitch.

    Any ordinary footballer wouldn’t have gotten away with half of the crimes Suarez has committed – from the biting to the handball against Ghana in 2010 – but somehow, he’s still adored by supporters.

    It’s not his kind and gentle nature that endears fans to Suarez, rather its his maverick talent that keeps people coming back for more.

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    • Premier League
    • Manchester City FC
    • Arsenal FC
    • Leicester City FC
    • Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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