According to the Collins dictionary, a 'shithouse' (noun) is either a lavatory, or an obnoxious and despicable person. It's the latter definition that has helped ensure the term is now part of football parlance – the perfect description for the masters of the dark arts.
Anyway, with uber-shithouse (or should that be mierda-casa?) Diego Simeone leading his team out at Old Trafford tonight, we thought we'd compile a list of the game's great villains.
Undeniably one of the greatest defenders of his generation. But, as anyone who has ever seen more than a few minutes of the Spaniard in action, there's more to Sergio's game than big tackles and headers. Ramos has an unrivalled charge sheet of mayhem and mischief (including repeated assassination attempts upon a Mr L Messi), amassing an incredible 27 red cards along the way.
An unashamed shithouser of epic proportions, Pepe can do the lot – waist-high tackles, off-the-ball bollock pinching, theatrics to win free kicks. The Portuguese defender has built a fine career on the principle that anything – literally anything – goes.
A proper snarling super-bastard, there is an argument that Costa was, at times, so explicitly horrible that he doesn’t really qualify as a sneaky, conniving shithouse. However, there’s been more than enough off-the-ball mischief that has gone unpunished, so he makes the list.
Another player who would kick his granny to get three points. An exceptional player whose career will rightly be remembered for incredible goals and performances – as well as biting, handballs, diving and the rest.
He looks like a choirboy but Ander can be a proper bastard when he feels like it, which, incidentally, is fairly regularly. The master of the sneaky elbow/kick/punch, Herrera has written the manual on how to employ the dark arts to overcome opponents.
An absolute pantomime villain, Diego’s trademark touchline black shirt is like something out of a spaghetti western. The man who got David Beckham sent off at France ‘98 has taken his dubious moral compass into the dug-out, turning Atletico into a brilliant but belligerent bunch.
If you were a fan of the team Wisey was playing for, he was the heartbeat of your team. Otherwise he was an irritating little shit whose malevolent behaviour often seemed to be invisible to referees. VAR would surely have been his nemesis - but thankfully for Dennis, the tech arrived too late to curb his unique brand of cockney shithousery.