Making a Splash: Worst dives of the Year
Dear readers, do not be mistaken by the featured image of this piece. Here we will be discussing diving in football, not the ones that take place in a swimming pool. The problem however is in convincing a certain group of players who have made a habit of mixing up the two sports. Someone needs to grab them by the ear and shake them up. Tell them that if they are really serious about ‘diving’, they better go and train at an aquatics center and improve their country’s chances at the Olympics. Their precocious talent may be better put to use elsewhere and not on a football pitch.
Here at Sportskeeda, we recognize the supreme diving abilities of these talented individuals and present before you the worst (or the best, in case you are someone from the aquatics fraternity) dives of this year.
A player who has been in the news a number of times for his simulation. One of his more outrageous dives came against Napoli in a Champions League encounter. He pretends that he has been hit in the face and starts writhing in pain on the floor. The audacity of his playacting was fully shown when he took a sneaky look at the referee to check whether the accused player had been booked.
Ashley Young is back to what he does best on a football pitch – provide assists. Though this would not be one he would be particularly proud of (or will he?). In what has become his signature move on a football pitch – flying spread-eagled in mid-air, the Englishman repeated the trick in back to back weeks even after his act against QPR attracted a lot of flak the previous week. For when Sir Alex admits that it was “dramatic” and that the player “overdid it”, you certainly know that things were really bad.
Another Manchester United player who decides to follow the footsteps of Ashley Young. Yet another Manchester United player who convinces the referee he is ‘fouled’ inside the box and should be awarded a penalty. Thankfully, ‘poetic justice’ prevails as Javier Hernandez sees his penalty parried away by Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, the perpetrator of the supposed ‘foul’.
Luis Suarez loves to be in the headlines. More often than not, for all the wrong reasons. The Uruguayan international’s blatant dive in an attempt to win a penalty drew scathing criticism from Stoke manager Tony Pulis, who termed it as an “embarrassment” and called for the striker to be banned for three games. It looks like Suarez’s reputation has got the better of him, as nowadays referees are hesitant to award penalties for even genuine fouls committed on the Liverpool star.
In a match in which much of the pre-match talk centred around the theatrics of Luis Suarez, Phil Neville probably chose the most inappropriate time to embarrass his manager David Moyes. The referee was right on hand to book him. The Toffees’ skipper received a ticking-off from his manager at the half time interval and was forced to issue a public apology at the end of the match. A shameful moment in what was shaping up as a thrilling Merseyside derby.
Upon his return to the Tyneside for the first time following his £35m transfer to Liverpool, the Geordie had the balls to blatantly dive against his former employers. After rounding the Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul, Carroll inexplicably chose to hit the ground at a moment when it appeared far easier to tap the ball into an open net. Upon his substitution, he was rightfully booed off the pitch by both sets of supporters.
The latest entrant to the ignominious category of footballers labelled as ‘divers’. In a match which was looking evenly poised at 0-0, it was the dive, the ensuing penalty and the resulting goal that turned the match on its head. Despite being widely scorned by player and pundits alike for his theatrics, the Arsenal midfielder refused to apologize for his simulation stating:
“It’s something that happens in football. Sometimes you’re thinking: “Will they touch me or won’t they touch me?” You go over and then realize they haven’t touched you. It just happens.”
The Blackburn Rovers winger tries his hand at Scuba diving when he went down without contact in the Newcastle penalty box. He puts up such a convincing show that he goes scot free while Ryan Taylor is booked for remonstrating at the player. It is at moments like these that you cringe at the decision making abilities of certain referees.
Juventus defender Bonucci decides that it is time to show his playacting skills to the world. A swift counterattack following a clearance from a Palermo corner-kick, and Bonucci finds himself presented with a shooting opportunity. He bungles up the opportunity and then shamelessly throws himself to the ground in an audacious attempt to win a penalty. Fortunately, the referee had the incident right within his sights as he rightfully produced a yellow. Bonucci finds himself suspended for a match and facing a fine from the Italian Football Association following his eighth yellow of the season.
In what is surely the most EPIC video on our list, Ekanga will walk away with an Oscar for the best theatrical dive of the year when he fakes an injury in an African Cup of Nations match versus Senegal. Ever wondered why such obvious talents go wasted on a football pitch? The poor fellow even needs to be stretchered off the field in order to bring the act to a successful climax.
Which was the worst/best dive among those featured in this series. Discuss your choices in the comments below.