Bellen d’Or 2022 – Ronaldo, Zouma and Infantino fight for Daily Star idiot award
Drum roll please as we announce the Daily Star's Bellen d'Or winner of 2022 – an award that shines a light on this year's biggest idiot in sport – and there are some worthy contenders.
Matt Le Tissier sadly hasn't made the cut in order to defend the crown he won last year for his loopy conspiracy theories and outrageous anti-vax content, after becoming the inaugural winner of our prestigious award in 2021.
Instead, there are some real sporting zeroes that have all left us groaning throughout the last 12 months, including spoilt primadonnas, loudmouthed fools, animal abusers, alleged drug cheats and racists. However, there can be only one winner, so without further ado, let's take a look at our 2022 Bellen d'Or contenders.
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Back in February, shockwaves were sent out across the country when a video showed Kurt Zouma kicking and slapping his cat across his kitchen, along with his brother Yoan. It led to widespread outrage over his actions while the West Ham star was even taken to court for animal cruelty.
The defender pleaded guilty and had his cats taken off him by the RSPCA, while he was ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service and pay £9,000 in court costs. He was also banned from keeping cats for five years, while Hammers manager David Moyes took some flak for playing him against Watford in the immediate wake of the disgraceful footage.
What do you do when you're already one of the richest and most famous people in the world? Sell your soul for some extra cash, of course. And that is exactly what Manchester United and England legend David Beckham was accused of doing by agreeing to become Qatar's ambassador for a reported £10million.
Despite an appalling humans right record in a country where you can be killed for being homosexual, Becks took the money and caused an uproar among the LGBTQ+ community, including comedian Joe Lycett, who called him out and shredded the famous edition of gay magazine Attitude with Beckham on the cover. Beckham's excuse that "sport has the power to be a force for good" just read like complete fluff, as well.
The phrase 'all bark, no bite' might perfectly sum up Shannon O'Connell, who engaged in some savage jibes directed at fan favourite Ebanie Bridges. One distasteful incident saw the Aussie boxer call the Blonde Bomber a 'skanky stripper' before their fight for Bridges' IBF bantamweight title, while she also bizarrely labelled her compatriot a "fat c***" – despite the fact Bridges is as much renowned for her stunning figure as her boxing skills.
When the pair finally met in the ring, Bridges battered her loudmouthed rival – after the referee ended the contest in the eighth round as O'Connell took serious damage. That included her getting a brutal black eye, before the sore loser flipped a middle finger at the crowd in Leeds, while her son allegedly screamed expletives at Bridges on the sidelines. Stay classy, Shannon.
Where to start with this guy? Not only has the FIFA president proposed awful plans to revamp the Club World Cup, to make the World Cup every three years and to alter the iconic tournament's format, he was probably responsible for Salt Bae being on the pitch when Argentina won the trophy and harassing Lionel Messi and co.
That, and Infantino's excruciatingly awful speech where he felt "gay, disabled, a migrant worker and a woman" in a bizarre attempt to defend Qatar. Something tells us the millionaire Swiss football administrator might not feel exactly how it is to be persecuted on a daily basis.
What a year it has been for Ronaldo, who did his best to alienate as many people as possible. Not only did his incendiary interview with Piers Morgan lead to his Manchester United exit, he even picked a fight with longtime Portugal manager Fernando Santos at the World Cup, leading to his relegation to the bench.
Further shows of petulance include smashing a kid's phone, storming out of Old Trafford before a game had finished, and posing with whack job Jordan Peterson in a recent Instagram post.
But hey, 2022 is coming to an end, and while his great rival Lionel Messi celebrates winning the World Cup, Ronaldo can console himself with his 47 goals scored across all competitions and the lavish Rolls Royce his girlfriend bought to cheer him up.
The former F1 driver caused fury when comments resurfaced from the Brazilian where he racially abused Lewis Hamilton, as well as homophobic language used against the Brit in footage from 2016. In July 2022, Piquet was banned from the F1 paddock while he also had his British Racing Drivers' Club membership suspended.
He eventually apologised, using the old excuse that the term he used was commonplace in Brazil and wasn't used in a racial context. But he then caused anger with his comments on new Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who beat far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro to office. He said: "We're going to get Lula, son of a b****, out of here. And Lula there in a cemetery, son of a b****."
Defending Vladimir Putin is a surefire way to get yourself on the Bellen d'Or list and that is exactly how Ecclestone arrived here when he claimed he would "take a bullet" for the Russian wardog, who he described as a "good guy".
Instead blaming Ukrainian President Zelensky for failing to avert war with Russia, the former F1 boss said live on GMB: "Unfortunately he's like a lot of business people, certainly like me, that we make mistakes from time to time and when you make the mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it.
"The other person in Ukraine, his profession I understand, used to be a comedian – and I think it seems that he wants to continue that profession."
Couples break up, it happens. But not everyday does your ex-girlfriend accuse you of sleeping with your mum's best mate. That is exactly what New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson allegedly did, according to ex-partner Abbey Gile.
NFL star Wilson only had this pearl of wisdom when asked why did he go through with the affair: "It is what it is." An appearance on Loverat Island beckons, we believe.
Professional whinger Novak Djokovic made headlines when he was detained and sent home in January due to his Covid vaccine status when trying to enter the Australia Open.
Somehow, the Serb has tried to make out he is the victim of the situation, when he moaned: "You can't forget those events. It's one of these things that sticks with you, it stays with you for I guess the rest of your life."
Here at the Daily Star, we don't bear grudges or have any bias. Now an entirely separate point, World Cup referee Wilton Sampaio had an absolute nightmare performance during England's defeat to France in Qatar.
A litany of errors included not spotting a blatant foul on Bukayo Saka before Aurelien Tchouameni scored and a gobsmacking decision not to award a penalty when Dayot Upamecano bundled Harry Kane to the floor.
There was widespread hype ahead of Conor Benn's fight against Chris Eubank Jr, the next generation rivalry between their respective dads, Nigel and Chris Sr. However, just days before the clash, Benn was prohibited from fighting after testing positive for banned substance clomiphene.
The 26-year-old had been regarded as one of Britain's best boxers after 21 wins out of 21 – but that record has now been thrown into doubt as a result of his alleged drug cheating.
2022 Bellen d'Or winner – Gianni Infantino
With so many sporting idiots this year, it's been a tough choice to decide where the prestigious Bellen d'Or should go. But, ultimately, there is only one answer – Infantino.
For crimes against football that include trying to ruin the World Cup by implementing his hare-brained schemes and his bonkers speech defending Qatar, the FIFA chief takes home the award.
Making some serious dough off the backs of thousands of dead migrant workers is, frankly, unforgivable and in an ideal world, greedy Gianni would be out of a job.
However, instead he becomes the Daily Star's second winner of the Bellen d'Or.
Salt Bae, open the kitchen!
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