One of the biggest pet peeves of watching football is that players go down too easily. Some say the attempt to woo the ref into pulling out a red card is strategic thinking but for most fans, the act of diving is immoral. That being said, here are the top eleven fails by players who successfully and/or unsuccessfully duped referees.
Neymar vs Serbia, World Cup 2018
What convinced Neymar to engage in ridiculous theatrics at World Cup 2018 is anyone’s guess. But he just kept doing it, against Mexico but most notably against Serbia when he rolled continuously in agony. It became fodder for one of the best internet memes in ages.
Rivaldo vs Turkey, World Cup 2002
The former FIFA Player of the year and 1999 Ballon d’Or seems to have taken some acting classes as well. In a World Cup 2002 Group Stage match against Turkey, Rivaldo goes down in agony after Turkey’s Hakan Unsal kicks a ball at him in the legs. Rivaldo nonetheless falls down holding on to his face. FIFA fined Rivaldo £5,180 for his overreaction.
Sergio Busquets vs Inter Milan, Champions Leage 2010
If you’re going to go down, at least try to be consistent with the part. In a Champions League match between Barcelona and Inter Milan, Sergio Busquets exaggerates a knock from Thiago Motta. The camera caught him taking a peek of the ref’s conclusion, which turned out to be a foul on Motta. Perhaps it was karma because Barcelona lost the game one nil and exited Champions League.
Ashley Young vs. Man City, Premier League 2011
In a 2011 Premier League match between Manchester United and Man City, United’s winger Ashley Young lunges forward in an apparent dirty tackle by James Milner. But it was much to do about nothing. Milner whiffed the tackle and Young played the victim.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs.Chelsea, Premier League 2008
Sometimes the greatest players in the world play to the Hollywood script. In a 2008 Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea, Ronaldo feigns a foul from Frank Lampard who didn’t even touch him. Somehow the Chelsea legend keeps his composure and just laughs off the ridiculous call.
Emmanuel Eboue vs Manchester United, Premier League 2009
Emmanuel Eboue makes a fool of himself with this blatant overstretched dive against Patrice Evra of Manchester United. Evra never even touches him and still, Eboue puts his hands up for the foul.
Casemiro vs Tottenham, Champions League 2017
In what looks like he’s doing his best to hang on a balance beam, Casemiro stages a fall on his own will. Knowing that the act is not going so well, he even reaches for his quad to allay the chicanery.
Samuel Umtiti vs Juventus, Champions League 2018
The Frenchman may need to take some acting classes after feigning an elbow from Juventus frontman Gonzalo Higuaín. Now in his third season with Barcelona, let’s hope that he’s learned a thing or two from failing his few courses.
Leonardo Bonucci vs. Palermo, Serie A 2012
When defender Leonardo Bonucci finds himself on the other side of the field in front of goal, instead of pulling the trigger he decides to take a joke of a dive. The ref punished his failed deception with a yellow card.
Bryan Carrasco vs Ecuador, U-20
In an under-20 match between Ecuador and Chile, Bryan Carrasco uses the Ecuadorian player’s arm to foul himself. To add insult to the fake injury, he won his team a free-kick. Given the million-plus views the incident received on YouTube, we don’t suspect that he ever pulled one as cheap as that again.
Dele Alli vs Liverpool, Premier League 2018
The 22-year old Tottenham and England starlet Dele Alli has all the skills in the world but somehow continues to commit the crime of diving. There are compilations. But the one against Liverpool was especially horrendous.