5 Players Who Have Received The Most Yellow Cards In The 21st Century: Ex-Barcelona & Real Madrid Players Dominate List

Yellow Card
Yellow Card

In soccer, the referee brings out the yellow card to caution the culprit. Usually, the referee talks to the player after the first or second infringement, hoping to defuse the situation without consequences. However, when the offender does not heed his advice and continues on his destructive way, the referee goes to his pocket to bring out the yellow.

From dangerous fouls to topless celebrations, the cause behind yellow cards varies greatly. But the threat of receiving marching orders after seeing a double yellow remains all the same.

Continue reading to meet the most notorious players the referees have had the displeasure of managing. Here are the five players across the top 10 leagues (and associated competitions) who have seen the most yellow cards in the 21st century:

Note: Stats collected from Transfermarkt’s Instagram page on May 9.

#5 Xabi Alonso: 189 Yellow Cards

Xabi Alonso Drew An Obscene Number Of Yellow Cards In His Career
Xabi Alonso Won 2 UEFA Champions League Trophies

World-class player turned world-class manager, Xabi Alonso, is not seen as an aggressive person. However, on the pitch, he never hesitated to throw his elbows out. Master of cheeky fouls, Alonso saw 189 yellow cards in 686 matches in soccer. Interestingly, he was only sent off five times in his career, but none was due to a straight red card.

Alonso, who dominated the midfield in his heyday, won it all in club soccer. The Bayer Leverkusen manager bagged two UEFA Champions League trophies, one La Liga title, three Bundesliga titles, and two UEFA Super Cups, amongst other honors.

#4 Pepe: 191 Yellow Cards

Pepe Could Be Integral To Porto's Champions League Hopes
Pepe Has Won 3 UEFA Champions League Trophies In His Career

Notorious for his crunching tackles and rough marking, ex-Real Madrid center-back Pepe has seen 191 yellow cards in 737 matches across the top 10 European leagues and their associated competitions. The Portugal international has also been sent off 16 times, six through indirect reds and 10 through direct.

The 41-year-old FC Porto player has enjoyed a storied career, filled with many iconic moments. Most of his exploits came with Real Madrid, as he won three La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League trophies with them between 2007 and 2017.

#3 Dani Alves: 193 Yellow Cards

Dani Alves Has Seen The Third-Most Yellow Cards
Dani Alves Has Won 34 Trophies For Clubs

Former Barcelona man Dani Alves has claimed the third spot, having drawn 193 yellow cards in 760 matches in club soccer. Alves, who used to play as a right-back, also saw seven indirect red cards and five straight reds in his career.

Very few players in soccer history can hold a candle to Alves in terms of trophies won. Alves won a whopping 34 trophies in club soccer, including three UEFA Champions League trophies and nine league titles.

#2 Raul Garcia: 209 Yellow Cards

Raul Garcia Has The Second-Most Yellow Cards In 21st Century
Raul Garcia Won Copa del Rey With Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Bilbao star Raul Garcia is known for many things. He has endless stamina, can play in all positions in midfield and attack, is a fearless competitor, and does not like to play by the books. The Spaniard has seen 209 yellow cards in 814 matches in his career for his shoves and snide remarks. He also has four direct and four indirect dismissals to his name.

Garcia, who will become a free agent at the end of the 2023-24 season, won one La Liga, one UEFA Europa League, and two UEFA Super Cups with Atletico Madrid. With his current club Athletic Bilbao, he has won one Copa del Rey and one Supercopa de Espana.

#1 Sergio Ramos: 259 Yellow Cards

Sergio Ramos Has Seen The Most Yellow Cards In The 21st Century
Sergio Ramos Has Won 4 UEFA Champions League With Real Madrid

Sergio Ramos, one of the most sought-after defenders of the 21st century, has little regard for playing by the rules. The Spaniard, who has represented Real Madrid, Sevilla, and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) throughout his illustrious career, has drawn a record 259 yellow cards in 812 matches. He has also seen 19 indirect reds and 10 direct ones.

Despite his cheeky and often risky antics, Ramos is considered the best defender of the century. He has scored some otherworldly match-winning goals, made astonishing clearances, and led his troops valiantly when the going got rough. The Sevilla center-back has won five La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League trophies, and two Ligue 1 titles in his career, amongst other honors.

Arrow to top