Gerardo Bedoya. Not a household name for the average football fan, but for South American referees the most notorious of all.

Bedoya was capped 49 times by Colombia during his playing career and was a key member of the 2001 Copa America squad, which remains his country's only major tournament success.

But outside of his native Colombia, Bedoya is known for one thing and one thing only: red cards. 47 of them to be exact. That makes him, officially, the dirtiest player in the history of football.

During a 20-year playing career between 1995 and 2015 with spells at 12 clubs across Colombia, Argentina and Mexico, Bedoya was sent off an unprecedented 45 times.


His 46th red card came just 21 minutes into his first game as part of Independiente Santa Fe's coaching set-up. After Junior FC scored to cancel out Santa Fe's early opener, he ranted at the referee and fourth official for 10 minutes straight until he was eventually ordered to the stands.

And just last week, Bedoya landed himself in hot water yet again during a fiery derby clash between Santa Fe and another of his former clubs Millonarios.

After his player, Wilson Morelo, was shown the first of two late Santa Fe red cards, Bedoya once again took exception and angrily protested the decision vigorously with his fellow assistant Agustin Julio. Both coaches were sent to the stands and Bedoya was given a three-match touchline ban.

In response Bedoya cryptically told reporters at the post-match press conference 'this is the beauty of football' before abruptly walking out of the room.

It capped off an inauspicious beginning to his coaching career and one that has followed the same path as his playing days where he forged a niche as a tough-tackling midfielder.

Fittingly nicknamed 'Beast', Bedoya was a stocky defensive midfielder who could also feature at full back, where he played with distinction for Colombia during their victorious Copa America campaign in 2001.

His disciplinary issues began early when he was sent off five times at his first club, Deportivo Pereira, as they battled against relegation from the Colombian top flight.

But despite managing five red cards in just 45 league appearances with Pereira, Deportivo Cali were persuaded to sign the fiery midfielder. He spent two spells at the club, sandwiched between a successful three years at Argentina's Racing Club, and won the Colombian top flight in 1998.

During those 136 league appearances, Bedoya earned a remarkable 14 red cards and yet still retained his place in Cali's first team in between his numerous suspensions.

Spells in Mexico with Club Puebla and at Argentine giants Boca Juniors followed before featuring for both Bogota's rival clubs Millonarios and Santa Fe towards the end of his playing career.

Only during brief stints at Argentina's Boca Juniors, Mexico's Club Puebla and Colombian sides Envigado, Boyaca Chico and Fortaleza did Bedoya avoid being dismissed.

His most notorious red cards include a brutal clash while playing for Santa Fe during a Bogota derby clash against rivals Millonarios in 2012.

After a Santa Fe cross was delivered into the box well out of Bedoya's reach he instead threw a vicious elbow into the face of Millonarios's Yhonny Ramirez, a former team-mate from their spell at Boyaca Chico.

As Ramirez writhed around on the ground, Bedoya flicked his boot at the head of his victim catching him with his studs. He was immediately shown a red card and his assault led to a brawl breaking out. Three others followed him off for an early bath.

Following the final whistle Bedoya defended his actions, saying he 'wasn't normally like this'. It was the 41st red card of his career and earned him a 15-match suspension. By way of comparison the most in Premier League history is eight - a record shared by Richard Dunne and Patrick Vieira.