Footballers, they’re a strange breed aren’t they? Some take joy out of crashing into a 50/50 tackle, while others leave you wondering if they’ve been shot by a sniper in the crowd. Taking hilarious tumbles isn’t just a recent event; though it seems they’ve been up to it for quite some time now. Here’s a few that wouldn’t look out of place in a primary school gymnastics class, walking the line between utter hilarity and making you want to punch your screen in sheer anger at the barefaced cheating on display. Let's dive in shall we?
Rivaldo vs Turkey (2002)
Footballing genius and Brazillian superstar Rivaldo truly did baffle world football with his supreme technical ability at times. What baffled us even more though was why exactly his face hurt after he was struck by a football in the leg? Somehow the linesman (standing next to Rivaldo) didn’t spot this either, with Turkey’s Hakan Unsal being sent off after kicking the ball. Brazil went on to win the game 2-1 and Rivaldo received a £5,180 fine from FIFA, which he probably laughed at.
Sergio Busquets vs Inter Milan (2010)
Controversial Barcelona man Sergio Busquets clearly still has a burning passion for acting and he certainly convinced referee Frank de Bleeckere with his performance here. Famously crashing to the floor after being tapped by Thiago Motta, Busquets couldn’t resist a little peek at the reaction to his play-acting. Unfortunately for Busquets his team could only win 1-0 on the night and went out of the Champions League, nice try though.
Emmanuel Eboue vs Manchester United (2009)
Oh dear Eboue… When your own fans start to boo you, taking dives like this against your biggest rivals is probably not a good idea. As Patrice Evra steps completely out of the oncoming Ivorian he falls and certainly looks very foolish indeed.
Jurgen Klinsmann vs Argentina (1990)
Klinsmann was certainly famous for diving as a celebration (just check your local Sunday league team)- but he also took a few other dives too. In the 1990 World Cup Final heavyweights West Germany faced off with Argentina. The South American outfit provided tough opposition for the Germans and, while this was a clear foul by Pedro Monzon, Klinsmann's reaction saw him leapt gazelle-like into a series of electrifying rolls on the floor. The result; a red card for the baffled Argentinian and West Germany winning 1-0.
Alberto Gilardino vs Celtic (2007)
Gilardino never really quite cut it at the top level for AC Milan, being offloaded after a short period with the club. Perhaps incidents like this left the Milan outfit simply too embarrassed to keep him in their squad? In any case, this has to go down as one of the worst dives in footballing history, hang your head in shame Alberto.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Chelsea (2008)
Aside from being one of the best players to ever play football, Ronaldo is also guilty of taking a number of tumbles. Famous amongst opposition fans for diving incessantly in the Premier League, Ronaldo did nothing to ease that reputation at times. Check out Frank Lampard’s reaction after the winger’s jump here…
Diego Simeone vs England (1998)
There may have been contact in this instance but the Argentinian did himself no favours with his pleading towards the referee and play-acting afterwards. Condemning England to play with 10 men and eventually lose the game, he certainly deserves a place on this list for his pre-mediated villainous actions that left David Beckham public enemy number 1 back home.
Bryan Carrasco vs Ecuador (U20s) (2011)
It seems that diving has penetrated to every level of the modern game, infiltrating a South American under 20s match in spectacular fashion here. Just what possessed Carrasco to hit himself with someone else’s arm is beyond us, but his plan certainly didn’t pay off.
Steven Taylor vs Aston Villa (2005)
In slightly different fashion to the others on this list, Taylor’s dive came in desperation after making a goal-line clearance with his hand. Would he admit it though? Of course not. Instead, the Newcastle defender imitated receiving a wound from a double barrelled shot-gun, reeling in agony and clutching his side. Luckily team mates Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer overshadowed the incident by fighting on the pitch. 10/10 marks for effort though.
Kris Boyd vs Dundee United (2008)
Before they were spectacularly relegated, Rangers were one of the two strongest Scottish football teams for decades, with players surpassing the ability of the teams below. It therefore makes you wonder just why Kris Boyd felt they needed a helping hand with this bizarre fall (it can hardly be called a dive) against Dundee. Running towards the ball he seemed to trip over an unusually long blade of grass, resulting in complaints from the Dundee players.
Norbert Meier vs Albert Streit (Cologne) (2005)
Perhaps the most bizarre dive in football (although there are a few) involves a manager. Norbert Meier was in charge of his MSV Duisburg side against FC Cologne when he had a side-line altercation with Cologne player Albert Streit. The ensuing head-butt led to both men falling dramatically to the floor in something that wouldn’t look out of place on a slapstick comedy, yet resulting in Streit being sent off. That’s not all though, after review from the German FA, it became clear that it was in fact Meier that did the head-butt and he was banned from managing for three months, after his club had already sacked him.
Adriano vs Roma (2007)
Brazillian big boy Adriano (whatever happened to him?) takes a big tumble here in a rather fishy looking penalty appeal. He got the penalty, but later received a two match ban. Cheating never pays (OK, sometimes it does).
Morten Gamst Pedersen vs Arsenal (2009)
Another one that falls into the category of simply bizarre, Pedersen sent himself flailing to the floor in his team’s 4-0 loss to Arsenal. What was even more bizarre was the fact that he claimed afterwards that he hadn’t been trying to win a penalty. We’ll leave you to make your own decision…
Robert Pires vs Spurs (2004)
Pires was a fantastic footballer for Arsenal, he was also notoriously known for easily going down at times. For some reason here he feels that he can justify falling to the floor after he is mildly stroked by the Spurs defender.
Steven Gerrard vs Chelsea (2009)
Lastly is one you may not have expected. It just goes to show how much diving has become a part of football when even big tackling dynamo Steven Gerrard resorts to going to ground easily. Famed for his comments about how diving was ‘ruining the game’ here he is taking a very obvious tumble against Chelsea and receiving a yellow card for his efforts.
Gareth Bale vs Aston Villa (2012)
One of the few things which has tainted Bale's route to the top, as the world's most expensive player, is his penchant for taking the odd tumble here and there. Many argue that his sheer pace makes any touch knock him off-balance, but we're not quite sure that thin air should have the same effect; here is one of his classic 'efforts'.
Ashley Young vs Real Sociedad (2013)
Another like Bale, whose reputation is starting to precede him, he has earned rebukes from not one, but two of his own managers - Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes alike - for his diving antics. He shows no signs of stopping the theatrics, as this recent beauty against Real Sociedad proves.
Didier Drogba vs Napoli (2012)
Drogba: wonderful player, but an infuriating individual. When he is in full flight there are few better sights in world football, but when he was in the mood for a spot of play-acting, it was painful to watch. His Champions League semi-final 'display' against Barcelona will live long the memory for the sheer persistence of falling to the floor and rolling around, but this shocker against Napoli - complete with cheeky look to see what was going on - was probably his 'high' point.
Luis Suarez vs Stoke City (2012)
Well now here's a surprise. Everyone's favourite footballer, usually so endearing, appears to be in our list of cheats. No-one saw that coming did they? This one looks like he's taking off.
Kyle Lafferty vs Aberdeen (2009)
This is truly special, and is best summed up by the YouTube uploader who gave us this gem: "Kyle Lafferty is knocked out by a ninja death whisper". He received a two-month ban for this piece of play-acting and, to his credit, did apologise. Still, what an idiot.