Ball of Shame
GRRRRRRR! Diving – it makes us so mad. It’s the still most infuriating thing about football these days. Apart from multi-millionaire players throwing hissy-fits. And ticket prices you need to remortgage your house for. And bad refereeing. And the fact Sam Allardyce still gets work.
According to pundits who played in the good old days, diving is a fairly new innovation. It wasn’t around in their day – no sireee. It was all honesty and snapping an opponent’s shin with integrity. It’s all those pesky foreigners coming over with their fancy haircuts, silky accents and reluctance to spend the afternoon in the pub drinking 15 pints with team-mates that brought it here.
While that view is tinged with a large dose of nostalgia, there’s no doubt that diving is on the rise. The multitude of camera angles and slow motion replays make it easier to call players out when they fall to the ground under suspiciously minimal contact.
One player to come out on the wrong side of all this technology is Gareth Bale. The Spurs/Real Madrid superstar is almost as famous for his dives as he is for single-handedly making Tottenham a decent team. The Welshman tops the charts for Premier League divers, which may shock anyone who just sees his goals and not all the diving he does.
Here’s an infographic of the Top 10 of Premier League players who have been booked for ‘simulation’ in the last five seasons, featuring a few names that won’t surprise you and a couple that almost certainly will.