Diving is either football’s worst crime or its darkest skill but whichever side of the debate you fall on it can be collectively agreed some are far better than others.
The feigned fall has been a topical debate of late with examples across Europe and on the international stage bringing it back into discussion.
After Cristiano Ronaldo‘s pathetic attempt to deceive the referee in Portugal’s 3-0 loss to the Netherlands, we examine five current footballers with a reputation for diving.
Rochdale, Huddersfield, Watford, Liverpool and Crystal Palace are just five clubs to have witnessed the exploits of “Divey Alli”. The 21-year-old Tottenham midfielder has been booked three times this season for simulation, burgeoning his reputation as a serial diver. The personal nadir no doubt was against Palace when he laughably collapsed to the ground despite non-existent contact from goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
No, this is not an agenda against Spurs or English players but Kane has also faced several accusations of simulation this season. He’s better than his teammate Alli at it, however, earning a penalty against Liverpool and avoiding punishment in the Champions League win over Juventus. Kane is a little more subtle, deliberately looking to attract contact before going to ground, as opposed to decking it with no touch.
The Arsenal forward is prone to naturally falling over, albeit from aired shots rather than an intentional bid to con referees. However, his blatant dive to earn a penalty in the Europa League second-leg tie with AC Milan was one for the ages. It was the latest evidence in the case against Welbeck with two other incidents – one against Wigan and the other against Spurs – occurring during his Manchester United career.
Level with Alli on three bookings for simulation in the Premier League this season is Crystal Palace winger Zaha. “Zaha is a wonderful, exciting player but diving is his biggest flaw,” said Chris Sutton after the controversial penalty he won against Manchester City. He won another under dubious circumstances against Bournemouth but was retrospectively cleared on both occasions by the FA.
And to our most obvious target. There is a playlist on YouTube dedicated to Ronaldo dives and while new camera angles suggested his effort against the Netherlands wasn’t quite his worst, it’s not the first time he’s stood/fallen accused this term. Against Celta Vigo a poor attempt went unpunished and in the trip to PSG in the Champions League he was felled by minimal contact. In recent years, the Real Madrid star has been equally prolific in front of goal as he is at finding the ground.
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