When football teammates fight – Sadio Mane leaves Leroy Sane with ‘bloody lip’, Robbie Keane decking Edgar Davids, kung-fu kicks in Big Sam’s office

When football teammates fight – Sadio Mane leaves Leroy Sane with ‘bloody lip’, Robbie Keane decking Edgar Davids, kung-fu kicks in Big Sam’s office

Nov 16, 2023

Teammates turning on each other is one of the most bizarre sights in football but ultimately passion sometimes becomes too much.

Competing at the top level means so much to each player and usually, they take out their frustrations on the opposition, however, that is not always the case.

 Sometimes players turn to friendly fire


Sometimes players turn to friendly fireCredit: Getty Images – Getty

We have seen many arguments and scuffles over the years, from the iconic Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer fight to Leroy Sane and Sadio Mane having a punch-up.

Football is rife with these types of stories, so without further ado, talkSPORT.com takes a look at the best fights between teammates…

Sadio Mane vs Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich)

Mane allegedly punched Sane in the face during an angry dressing room bust-up with his Bayern Munich teammate in April 2023.

The pair argued on the pitch during the club’s 3-0 loss to Manchester City and tempers boiled over after the full-time whistle.

Mane and Sane were said to have been involved in an altercation that saw the former Liverpool star punch his teammate in the face and split his lip.

He was then temporarily suspended by the German side before breaking his silence on the scuffle.

Discussing the high-profile incident for the first time with 2stvsenegal, he said: “As I’ve always said, I’ve never liked comfort. I’ve never liked that.

“Afterwards, there are incidents. It happens, it’s over. We were able to solve this little problem.

“It’s also good to solve some problems, maybe not in this way, but it’s behind us now, we will try to fight together to be able to help the club achieve its objectives next season.”

 Things got very heated between the pair


Things got very heated between the pairCredit: Getty

Eyal Berkovic vs John Hartson (West Ham)

Frankly, you’d have to be mental to upset big John Hartson. So, we can only assume Eyal Berkovic is indeed mental.

The not-so-big Israeli took offence to a strong tackle from Hartson during a West Ham training session in September 1998 and responded with a quite frankly pathetic punch on the big Welshman’s leg.

Hartson’s response was instant, with a powerful kick to the head knocking Berkovic back to the floor.

Unluckily for Hartson, the whole incident was captured on camera which meant he made history by becoming the first player to be charged with misconduct for a training ground incident.

The man himself explained to talkSPORT in 2020: “The pictures are there for everybody to see and I don’t know why I was aggressive but obviously I don’t know why I did that reaction and it’s the biggest regret of my life. I should never have done it.”

 John Hartson lashed out at Eyal Berkovic at training in 1998


John Hartson lashed out at Eyal Berkovic at training in 1998Credit: Sky

Nick Barmby vs Jimmy Bullard (Hull)

Having been hammered by Everton, Hull’s players were ordered to train at a local park the following day.

Tensions boiled over and Barmby and Bullard kicked off, which in fairness happens at training grounds around the country almost every day.

Except this particular altercation occurred in front of horrified members of the local Women’s Institute. Which doesn’t happen every day.

Robbie Keane vs Edgar Davids (Tottenham)

Few details of the incident are known, except for the fact Keano is handy in a scrap and the fight happened shortly after midfielder Davids joined Spurs from Inter in 2005.

Former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara told talkSPORT: “I remember him giving it to Keano in training and they were having a barney, and I think he tried to step to Robbie Keane and say something – and Keano just sparked him, bosh!

“He just went, bang – one punch. Gone.

“Then Davids has just picked himself up and walked off – and that was it.

“He came in the next day like, ‘morning, Robbie…’”

 Davids (left) and Keane (middle left) don't look particularly happy here either...


Davids (left) and Keane (middle left) don’t look particularly happy here either…Credit: Getty

Derek Hales vs Mike Flanagan (Charlton)

The Charlton pair both saw red for brawling during an FA Cup third-round clash vs Maidstone at The Valley in 1979.

Hales had vented his fury at his strike partner after being caught offside, claiming Flanagan should have played him in sooner, and the permed pair decided there was only one to settle the argument – FIGHT!

Hales was sacked by the Addicks after the game before being reinstated on appeal, while Flanagan was flogged to Crystal Palace.

Steve McManaman vs Bruce Grobbelaar (Liverpool)

Merseyside derbies often descend into all-out war between rival players but this time it was two teammates who lost it with each other.

Liverpool’s experienced goalkeeper Grobbelaar was furious with McManaman after he hit a weak clearance that resulted in Everton taking the lead, back in 1993.

The young winger gave Grobbelaar a mouthful back and the now even more furious Zimbabwean responded by grabbing McManaman around the throat.

McManaman threw an arm out then wisely decided to retreat and fisticuffs were avoided.

Graeme Le Saux vs David Batty (Blackburn)

Just four minutes into Blackburn’s 1995 Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow, Batty got the hump after Le Saux took possession from him, then proceeded to miscontrol the ball and give away a throw-in.

Batty berated the full-back, who responded by throwing a punch at him – breaking his hand in the process.

 Perhaps Le Saux and Batty were better served playing against each other!


Perhaps Le Saux and Batty were better served playing against each other!Credit: Getty

Bulent Akin vs Bernard Mendy (Bolton)

An epic training ground fight at Bolton that ended up spilling into Sam Allardyce’s office courtesy of a fly-kick through the door.

How hadn’t we heard this story before!?

Craig Bellamy vs John Arne Riise (Liverpool)

John Arne Riise hardly seemed like the most aggressive of characters during his spell at Anfield but that didn’t stop everyone’s favourite Welshman from picking a fight with the Norwegian in 2007.

Bellamy lost it with his Liverpool teammate after a karaoke night on a ‘team bonding’ trip to Portugal and confronted him with a golf club.

Bellamy made light of the incident a few days later after scoring against Barcelona in the Nou Camp, celebrating his strike by pretending to swing a seven iron. Nice.

 Bellamy made light of the situation


Bellamy made light of the situationCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Joey Barton vs Ousmane Dabo (Man City)

Dabo claimed he looked like the Elephant Man after an unprovoked attack on him by Barton during a Manchester City training session.

The Frenchman required hospital treatment after being punched several times by the seething midfielder.

City responded by banning Barton, who was later given a suspended four month jail sentence after admitting a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. All very unsavoury.

Lee Bowyer vs Kieron Dyer (Newcastle)

Most players save their scraps for the training field, so top marks must go to these two for deciding to ‘sort it out’ in front of 50,000 plus fans at St James’ Park – not to forget the millions watching on TV.

With Newcastle 3-0 down to Aston Villa, Bowyer took offence to Dyer not passing him the ball and the pair lashed out at each other like a couple of schoolgirls.

Gareth Barry played peacemaker before they were both sent off. Cue an awkward-looking photograph of the pair sitting either side of boss Graeme Souness being forced to apologise at a conciliatory press conference.

 Who could forget this one?


Who could forget this one?Credit: Getty Images – Getty


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