Former Chelsea and AC Milan star Ruud Gullit has claimed that modern footballers aren't as hard as they were in his day – and former top ref Anders Frisk thinks that's because cameras are everywhere these days. “In the old days sometimes you had people who just wanted to hurt you," said Gullit, on a video released by Ford’s Feel Football programme and available in FourFourTwo.com's video interview section. "When you had to play on hard pitches, people came with athletics spikes and sometimes someone would sharpen the spikes, just to hurt you. These things don't happen any more.” Anders Frisk thinks that television has played a part in cleaning up the game: “I have the feeling that today we are not seeing so many hard footballers because of the cameras – and also because of the punishments."
Asked to name football's hardest men, Gullit was spoiled for choice. “In those days you had a lot of players that were tough. You had Miguel, for one," he says, recalling the Barcelona player who played a Cup Winners Cup final despite having a broken collar bone.
Frisk suggested Claudio Gentile, but Gullit disagreed: "Gentile wasn't hard-hard, but he was a bloodsucker, difficult to play against. Dennis Wise was really tough. He was small but he really dug in, had a good sense of humour and was also difficult to play against. [Daniel] Passarella was hard: he just smashed you in your face when there was a corner kick or whatever.
"Sometimes you had people who just wanted to hurt you. The funniest one was Vinnie Jones. He wanted to kick me when I played him and he couldn't kick me – he'd get a red card against me without even hurting me! And I told him, and he was very upset about it!” Ford's Feel Football programme engages fans in debate with Champions like Jose Mourinho, Anders Frisk, Patrick Vieira and Ruud Gullit at live events around Europe. Watch the video (and others)