The 23-time grand slam champion stunned the watching world in the 2018 US Open women’s singles final by branding chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "liar" and a "thief" amid a series of code violations. Williams' comments eventually landed her with a game penalty, which ultimately gave Osaka the chance to serve out for a 6-2 6-4 triumph and a first major title.
Eric ‘the King’ Cantona was the Premier League’s first international superstar. The mercurial Frenchman was a fan favorite at Manchester United where he played a pivotal part in helping Alex Ferguson’s side to its first four league titles. But like all geniuses, Cantona was far from perfect and was equally famous for his temper as for his technical and tactical prowess. His most famous outburst saw him king-fu kick a Crystal Palace fan after receiving his marching orders for a rash challenge.
Williams' rant at Ramos is far from the first at a tennis major. During the first round of Wimbledon in 1981, McEnroe became enraged by umpire Edward James' decision to call his serve out. "Excuse me?", began McEnroe, who went on to utter the immortal words "You cannot be serious!" That setback did not prove much more than a bump in the road, however, as a 22-year-old McEnroe went on to lift his maiden Wimbledon crown - the first of three titles in four years at the All England Club.
Days before the Republic of Ireland’s opening game at the 2002 World Cup, captain and noted hot-head Roy Keane stormed out of the team’s camp in Saipan after a expletive-laden rant at then manager Mick McCarthy. Despite the loss of the talismanic midfielder, the Boys in Green acquitted themselves admirably at the tournament, reaching the last 16 where they lost to Spain on penalties.
Arguably the most scandalous entry on this list. Having lost the WBA heavyweight crown to Evander Holyfield in November 1996, Tyson was hyped up for the rematch seven months later. But the red mist descended as early as the third round, when Tyson was sensationally disqualified for biting off a part of Holyfield's ear. Tyson was subsequently fined $3million and his boxing licence was rescinded and only restored over a year later.
A long, long time ago when Sheffield Wednesday were still in the Premier League, the Owl's Paulo Di Canio didn't take kindly to referee Paul Alcock showing him a red card. In retaliation to the sending off the fiery Italian midfielder (and fascist sympathizer) shoved the official to the ground, receiving an 11-game ban in the process.
One of the greatest players to ever pull on a pair of football boots bid farewell to the game in astonishing circumstances. Having given France the lead against Italy with an ice-cool Panenka penalty, Zidane had seen his side pegged back by Marco Materazzi's equaliser. And in the first half of extra-time, the Italy defender aimed a few choice words in the direction of Zidane, who turned and planted his head into the chest of his opponent. Referee Horacio Elizondo had little choice but to show a straight red card, before France went on to lose in the shoot-out.