Soccer is one of the most famous games in the world for many reasons. From the outset it seems much less structured than sports like American football or baseball, but it does operate under a defined set of rules, without which the game could not retain its high level of credibility as an elite sport. Four officials are assigned to monitor the 90 minute games and ensure that none of the essential football rules are broken.
However, regardless of how much effort is invested in cementing the rules of the game, sports will always have those who put just as much effort into bending the rules to their advantage. As the saying goes, rules were made to be broken, and in soccer, drawing fouls and penalties by diving has become a skill of its own by many soccer stars.
Some of the most famous players in the world are also some of the biggest fakers in soccer. Competition is so high in professional football that players are keen to try anything to get an edge for their team. Even star players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Ashley Young and Neymar have been caught taking dives.
The soccer pitch is so large that it can be difficult for referees to spot diving when it happens. When players are in close contact it can be near impossible to differentiate a fake foul for a real one, and many a yellow and red card have come at the hands of a skilled actor. One would assume that this does considerable damage to the integrity of the game, but it seems like the phenomenon of diving has been embraced as an element of the sport and adds one more facet to the already heated competition.
However, as technology advances, the camera is getting better at catching fakers in football. Obvious soccer dives are often penalized and the players fined. Take Rivaldo for example, as he was fined over $8000 by Fifa for diving during a match. The following is a comprehensive list of ten of soccer’s biggest stars who have been caught red handed trying to cheat their way into a card for the opposing team.
10. Ashley Young – Net Worth: $9 Million
Ashley Simon Young, plays for Manchester United. The 28-year-old English footballer is also part of the national squad in England. Young is regarded by some as one of the biggest fakers in football. One of his recent incidents occurred during a match with Crystal Palace, in which he won a spot kick by diving. Other famous diving incidents include Young faking a fault against James Milner of Manchester City, as well as another incident during a match with Aston Villa. As with many athletes on this list, videos of Young’s dives have gone viral over the Internet.
9. Nani – Net Worth: $14 Million
Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha, known simply as Nani, plays for Manchester United in the British Premier League. The 27-year-old player is from Cape Verde and also plays for the Portugal National Team. He is worth over $14 million and earns a salary of $7.6 million per year. One of Nani’s worst dives happened against Jonas Gutierrez, in a game with Newcastle. He threw himself to the pitch at absolutely no impact but didn’t manage to draw a penalty.
8. Neymar – Net Worth: $32 Million
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, more commonly known as Neymar, plays for Barcelona in La Liga as well as for the Brazilian national squad. The 21-year-old was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is worth over $32 million and earns a salary of more than $9.4 million per year. Neymar’s most recent and talked about dive was against Uruguay. The captain of Uruguay, Diego Lugano, actually singled Neymar out and called him several names for diving and faking faults during the game. Brazil won the match against Uruguay and Neymar’s dives during the game went viral over the Internet.
7. Didier Drogba – Net Worth: $40.5 Million
Didier Drogba, born in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and at 35-years-old is worth over $40.5 million. He earns an annual salary of over $2.7 million as a forward for Galatasaray. In spite a successful career as a Champions League winner with Chelsea Football Club, Drogba is also known as one of the biggest fakers in football. An example of his diving came during a match with Napoli, where he dove to the ground and peeked thorough his fingers with a cheeky look, checking whether or not a penalty had been drawn.
6. Robinho – Net Worth: $50 Million
Robson de Souza or Robinho, was born in São Vicente, Brazil. He plays for AC Milan and the national squad in Brazil. The 29-year-old Brazilian is worth over $50 million and earns an annual salary of $5.4 million. Robinho build a diver’s reputation during his time at Real Madrid, where he had many faking incidents. Robinho does nothing to help his fellow Brazilians’ reputation for taking dives as he is one of three on this list.
5. Steven Gerrard – Net Worth: $51.8 Million
Steven Gerrard is a 33-year-old English player and captain of the Liverpool Club. Gerrard also plays on the English national squad with an annual salary of over $11.8 million and a total net worth of more than $51.8 million. One of Gerrard’s most famous dives happened whilst playing for England in a match against Andorra. He actually got booked for diving, making the incident very public and drawing attention to himself as an actor in the process.
4. Thierry Henry – Net Worth: $66.5 Million
Thierry Henry currently plays for New York Red Bulls of the MLS. The 36-year-old French veteran is worth over $66.5 million and earns a salary of over $5 million with New York. One of Henry’s worst diving incidents happened against Arsenal, an incident that provoked a lot of dispute and speculation and even lead Henry into a dispute with an Arsenal supporter.
3. Rivaldo – Net Worth: $74 Million
Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira, better known as Rivaldo, plays for São Caetano. The 41-year-old midfielder/striker hails from Paulista, Brazil. He is worth an impressive $74 million. One of Rivaldo’s most famous football fakes was during the World Cup in 2002. In a game against Turkey, Rivaldo faked an injury, pretending that a ball hit him very hard. The fake was quickly identified and he was fined about $8400 by Fifa, but Rivaldo continued claiming he was in fact the victim of the incident.
2. Wayne Rooney – Net Worth: $81 Million
A player for the Premier League’s Manchester United in and the English national squad, 28-year-old Wayne Rooney is worth over $81 million and has a diverse set of trophies including the Champions League title. He earns a healthy salary of over $25 million per year. Among Rooney’s most famous dives is one that occurred against Arsenal in 2009, in which his drawn penalty won the game for Man U.
1.Cristiano Ronaldo – Net Worth: $181.5 Million
Cristiano Ronaldo currently plays for Real Madrid in La Liga. The 28-year-old Portuguese forward is renowned as one of the best footballers in the world. Due to his top quality performance during the season, Cristiano Ronaldo is considered to be a favorite for the Ballon d’Or in January 2014. He is currently worth over $181.5 million and earns a salary of $28 million per year. However, Ronaldo is also known for his inept acting abilities on the field. One of his worst dives caught on the camera happened against AC Milan in 2010. Ronaldo faked a hit in the face, and made to the grass clutching himself in agony; an Oscar-worthy performance.
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