There's an art to pulling off a dive in soccer and drawing a foul. And it's probably the most hated aspect of the game today. Here are some of the worst and most obvious offensives. Everyone from Cristiano Ronaldo to the United States national team coach gets in the act.
10. Cesc Fabregas – When the Spaniard was in his youthful Arsenal days, he had this interesting dive. In an effort to appear more pained, he actually kicked his own heel to tumble down in a dive that won Arsenal a dangerous free kick at the edge of the box in a match against Everton.
9. Nani – During a match against Liverpool, the Portuguese winger flopped in the penalty box in an effort to draw a penalty. Not only was his false claim ignored, but the commentators branded his attempt as “absolutely pathetic!”
8. Asamoah Gyan – The World Cup is supposed to be a celebration of the world’s greatest game, but when your country is staring down the barrel of defeat, the true divers emerge. Ghana was already down 2-0 to Brazil when Gyan fell down in the box. The referee was on to him and correctly awarded Gyan a red card, further adding to Ghana’s misery. (Start at 1:53) See video here
7. Christiano Ronaldo – The Real Madrid star made a smart dive on the edge of the box against Getafe. Not only does he exaggerate his collapse to earn the foul, but Ronaldo fools the referee into thinking it occurred inside the box. Therefore, Ronaldo earned a penalty kick and scored it to add to the pain for Getafe.
6. Ashley Young – In a traitorous move, the new Manchester United winger recently took flight against his old club, Aston Villa. The flop earned him a penalty which got the party started for United in a 4-0 drubbing. Villa fans will probably never forgive him for departing last summer, and now this latest act of betrayal will cement Young as a villain for the club.
5. Luis Suarez – Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker has long been involved in controversy, ranging from his goalkeeping antics in the 2010 World Cup to his recent charges of racism. In this match against Arsenal, he unjustly earned a penalty as he tripped over himself near the sliding goalie. Justice was served, however, when Andy Carroll missed the subsequent penalty kick.
4. Rivaldo – In the 2002 World Cup, Rivaldo branded himself a diver near the end of a group stage match against Turkey. Mistakenly clutching his face in pain, the Turkish player was sent off for kicking the ball at the Brazilian’s thigh. Rivaldo’s play-acting was one of the more delightful dives in soccer history.
3. Sergio Busquets – The hotly contested Champions League semifinal between Barcelona and Real Madrid last season was marred by dives all over the pitch. My favorite was when Busquets clambered all over Marcelo’s back and then fell over grabbing his face as if he was elbowed. The Spanish club has been the world’s best but also seems to harbor the finest divers.
2. Emmanuel Eboue – In the 2006 Champions league final, Arsenal were down to ten men. Eboue’s dive and subsequent free kick gave the English team a lead through a Sol Campbell header. Justice was served, however, and Barcelona eventually came back to win 2-1. His trip and graceful slide earn Eboue full marks.
1. Jurgen Klinsmann – There is no greater match for a player than the World Cup final. In the 1990 edition the German striker took control of the match with a spectacular dive that resembled a fish out of water. Incredibly, the Argentine defender received a red card, and the match was won by Germany. In the cruelest of ways, the ultimate game of sport was won by a silly dive.
Nicholas Spiller is a freelance soccer writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.