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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The top 10 dives in football history

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Manchester United’s Ashley Young and Chelsea’s Didier Drogba have caused controversy over the past fortnight by diving to win penalties and going down quicker than your average High Street hooker.

Ashley Young started it all off by winning a cheap penalty against QPR’s Shaun Derry, when the tough midfielder hardly touched him. The former Aston Villa winger then won another penalty seven days later against Aston Villa. There was minimal contact but Young threw himself into the air like he’d stepped on a landmine. His dives have been that good that British gold medal hopeful Tom Daley wants Young to be his partner in London 2012.

To top it off we then had Didier Drogba and his dying swan impressions in midweek against Barcelona, who are no angels themselves when it comes to play acting. Drogba spent more time on the floor than he did on his feet against Barca, but he, like Young, managed to achieve a great result for his side.

Is diving right? Of course it isn’t, especially when you are playing against them, but the foreigners have been doing it for years. Should we demand an end to this carry on or should we embrace it? If Young won a disputed penalty against Spain in Euro 2012 like he did against Villa to make England European champions, would you be singing his praises or would you condemn him?

With the issue of diving high on the agenda in the British media, I’ve decided to take a look back at the top 10 dives in the history of the game.

10.  Morten Gamst Pedersen – BLACKBURN ROVERS v Arsenal

The Norwegian international was in the box at the Emirates but was heading away from goal when he decided to flop to the ground looking for a penalty. Bacary Sagna was in pursuit but was nowhere near Pedersen when the winger took a tumble. Pedersen looked down the line, took his eye off the ball and fell to the ground, hoping to win a penalty. There was no penalty but he could have won an Oscar. It’s bad, but there’s worse to come.


9. Arjen Robben – BAYERN MUNICH v Bochum

The former Chelsea winger had a reputation for diving in England but deary me this is dreadful. The ball broke to the Dutch international inside the box and he did well to dodge the incoming tackle, managing to stay on his feet. However, with the ball running away from him he did a ridiculous bunny hop and dropped to the ground.


8. Steven Gerrard – LIVERPOOL v numerous clubs

The Liverpool and England midfielder has saved his clubs on so many occasions down the years with some blistering strikes but even the best can be found guilty of going down too easy. In this video Gerrard can be seen winning a penalty against Brad Friedel at Anfield and for England against Andorra. Both are terrible decisions proving that diving is not just a foreign problem.


7. Wayne Rooney – MANCHESTER UNITED v Arsenal

The Invincibles travelled to Old Trafford looking to make it 50 league games on the trot unbeaten, but they didn’t count on Wayne Rooney’s diving skills. The former Everton man, who always plays well against the Gunners, nipped into the box, Sol Campbell tried to make a challenge but didn’t make any contact. Rooney though made sure the ref had a decision to make by going down. Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger it was to award a penalty. And to think that Rooney had the cheek to tweet about Drogba going to ground too easily!


6. Cristiano Ronaldo – MANCHESTER UNITED v Chelsea

The Portugese international has more tricks up his sleeves than David Copperfield but boy is he a diver. There are numerous instances of Ronaldo rolling around on the floor like he has been shot, but I think this is one of the most conclusive pieces of evidence. United were at Stamford Bridge and were 1-0 up. Following a poor free-kick by Frank Lampard the ball broke to Ronaldo on the touchline. With Lampard running towards him to win the ball back, Ronaldo span – forgetting to take the ball with him – and fell to the ground as Lampard pulled out of the tackle. However, the winger’s theatrics were enough to convince the ref to award a free-kick.


5. Eduardo – ARSENAL v Celtic

Arsenal took on Scottish giants Celtic at the Emirates in a Champions League qualifier and Croatian striker Eduardo was public enemy number one after diving to win a penalty. The Arsenal striker, not long back from a horrific leg break at Birmingham, burst into the six-yard box as Celtic’s Artur Boruc came racing out. However, the keeper pulled his hands back, but that didn’t stop Eduardo falling to the ground a heap in front of the irate Celtic fans.

4. Alberto Gilardino – AC MILAN v Celtic

Another injustice against Celtic, but this time the referee wasn’t fooled. Kaka played a delightful ball into the path of Gilardino who got there before a Celtic defender and the onrushing keeper and could have slipped the ball into an unguarded net. Instead he went on four or five yards and inexplicably fell to the ground. It was an outrageous dive and one that cost him a yellow card.


3. Kyle Lafferty – RANGERS v Aberdeen

Not so much a dive as a piece of downright cheating. One of the worst bits of play acting ever witnessed in the Scottish game occurred at Ibrox when Aberdeen took on Rangers. The Dons’ Charlie Mulgrew and Rangers’ Kyle Lafferty locked horns on the touchline after competing for the ball. However, without any movement from Mulgrew, Lafferty threw himself to the floor to the amazement of the Aberdeen defender. Worse was to follow when Mulgrew was shown the red card and Lafferty was later shown winking to one of his colleagues. Lafferty was banned for two games while Mulgrew’s red was rescinded.


2. Didier Drogba and Jens Lehmann – CHELSEA V ARSENAL

It’s a double whammy this time from the Premier League as Chelsea and Arsenal locked horns. Didier Drogba may be as strong as an ox but he does go down far too easily while Jens Lehmann has always been dafter than a box of frogs. Tempers were getting frayed at this stage of the crunch derby when Lehmann gave Drogba a gentle push to clear him out of his area, Drogba went down like he’d been shot. Realising the referee was not watching, he rushes to his feet to square up with Lehmann, brushes into him and the big German then goes down on his arse. This video really does give the Chuckle Brothers something to worry about. They are great pals now though and were recently spotted drinking together at Oktoberfest in Germany.


1. Jurgen Klinsmann – GERMANY v Argentina

Humans can’t physically fly, but Jurgen Klinsmann gave it a great shot in the World Cup Final against Argentina in 1990. The German striker broke free down the right and nicked the ball inside a lunging challenge from the defender Pedro Monzon. However, instead of bursting into the box to shoot, Klinsmann launched himself six feet into the air, hit the deck and rolled around like a pig in muck. The referee bought it hook, line and sinker and sent the Argentine defender off. Germany went on to win the World Cup 1-0.


Well that’s our top 10 dives but I’m sure you will have your own suggestions. Please share them with us (video links will be gratefully received) by using the comment box below.

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Colin Illingworth



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