Betfair blogger Gareth Freeman focuses on the worse divers in football.
This incident involving David Ngog has got a lot of people talking. But just how disgraceful was it? I’m no Liverpool fan but in all honesty, as far as dives go, it wasn’t that bad. Sure he didn’t touch him and he went down, but Carsley came in like a steam train and didn’t get to the ball so you can’t blame the referee for giving it.
Anyway, like I say I didn’t think it was that bad – but it did get me thinking. Eduardo got branded with the diving tag earlier in the season when he went down in a Champions League qualifier with Celtic, which created a lot of hype. Both Ngog and Eduardo have been thoroughly smeared with the diving tag, but there are far worse candidates – here are a couple.
Didier Drogba, Chelsea
For a big bloke Drogba goes down pretty easy, if I walked past the hulking Chelsea striker in the street I’d be scared to breathe on him in case he inexplicably falls over. He is without doubt one of the best, if not the best, strikers in the world but he’ll still resort to shady tactics to get a result. Sometimes Drogba throws himself to the floor like he is ducking gun-fire.
When Jose Mourinho was in charge at Stamford Bridge he used to defend Drogba all the times. As soon as he left he had this to say: “I am not the Chelsea manager anymore and I don’t have to defend them anymore, so I think it’s correct if I say Drogba is a diver.” – thanks for clearing that up for us then Jose.
El Hadj-Diouf, Blackburn
As a Bolton fan I saw a lot of Diouf in his time at the Reebok. I know he is one of the league’s most hated players but he was pretty good for us and I’ve got a lot of respect for Diouf. However, I understand why fans of other clubs hate him – there are plenty of reasons – and he isn’t averse to taking a tumble. One of his most memorable in his time as a Bolton player was ironically against his current employers at Ewood Park, Diouf kicked his own leg and went down, he took the penalty himself and saw his effort saved but buried it past Brad Friedel on the rebound. We won 1-0, happy days – granted, I wasn’t bothered it was a dive that particular day!
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
As a player you can’t question Gerrard’s ability. For a long time now he’s been at the top of his game and one of the best midfielders in the world. One of the things the Liverpool captain is praised for is his determination – but how far will Gerrard go to see his beloved side win? As the Anfield side chased a crucial goal in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid last season he took a fall that could have won an Oscar.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Manchester City
Again, awesome player – perhaps not as good as he thinks he is (I’m better than Thierry Henry? Somehow, I think not Ade) – but still an awesome player on his day. As good as he clear is, he still doesn’t mind taking a tumble – he took quite a memorable plunge when Arsenal were beaten 4-0 at Old Trafford a couple of years ago, though it wasn’t good enough to win the decision as the referee awarded him the yellow card.
Ashley Cole, Chelsea
Maybe putting Cole in here is a little harsh, he doesn’t get forward enough anymore to be in the top five but at Arsenal he was accused of it enough times. Roy Keane had a few words for him once, as did David O’Leary – he is still the best choice for left-back next summer, no arguments there, but nevertheless a bit of a cheat.
Then of course there are the players no longer with us, departed abroad or retired. Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud Van Nistelrooy in particular stick out, while further back Jurgen Klinsmann and even the now respectable and well-groomed Mark Hughes used to practice the dark arts of diving. If anyone thinks I’ve left someone out, feel free to post at the bottom, time to name and shame!