Neymar has been in the headlines right from the start of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia more for the wrong reasons than right, in the process doing injustice to the immense talent he possesses. Against Switzerland, he received ten fouls which is quite a number but his theatrics while going down under the challenges were grossly overdone, to say the least. This is not the first time Neymar has been accused of diving, but he has made it some sort of habit in this competition. Against Round of 16 rivals Mexico for a berth in the quarter-final stage, the PSG star rolled around on the touchline wasting crucial five minutes for the opposition which was stated in the post-match interview by Mexican coach Juan Osorio. Not just Neymar but these histrionics by footballers prove them to be good in acting than playing the sport. From serial diving offender Arjen Robben to Brazilian legend Rivaldo, watch these videos of footballers displaying their acting aka cheating skills by faking injuries or simply, diving!
Neymar’s never-ending roll in the game against Serbia on the flanks is also fresh in the minds of football fans, which made him a laughing stock and subject to a lot of memes. The worst part of this story so far has been the lack of dressing down from the match officials or Brazil’s management meted out to the PSG forward which just goes on to shows how play acting is becoming part of football culture.
— Vanessa Middlet★n (@veethelegend) July 2, 2018
Let us look at some other instances where players turned actors to gain an advantage.
Arjen Robben vs Mexico (2014)
The Dutchman is a serial offender when it comes to diving, and against Mexico in the round of 16 match in Brazil, his act saw his much deserving opponents crash out of the competition. In the dying moments of the match, where the Netherlands were hanging on to a 1-1 all draw, Robben flew and went down under dramatic circumstances following a challenge by Rafael Marquez. The referee awarded the Dutch a penalty which Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored to dump the El Tri out.
Rivaldo vs Turkey (2002)
Rivaldo is regarded by many as one of the greatest Brazilian players of all time, but he too had his dark moment. Playing against Turkey in the 2002 World Cup, Rivaldo put all his acting skills to good effect to get a Turkish player sent off. When hit on the leg by a ball kicked in frustration by Hakan Unsal, Rivaldo went down in a heap catching his face. An impulsive referee Kim Young Joo sent Unsal off, but the event led to Rivaldo earning the wrath of the global audience.
Sergio Busquets vs Inter Milan (2009)
Under pressure to turn around a two-goal deficit from the first leg against Inter Milan, Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets who always has a soft spot for acting in his life made the most of a Thiago Motta touch on his face to go down as if he was slapped. His acting seemed to have convinced the referee who sent of Motta, but on the night, justice prevailed with Inter Milan knocking out Barcelona.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Celta Vigo (2014)
The great Cristiano Ronaldo is not immune to play acting either as Celta Vigo found out in a Spanish La Liga game of 2014/15 season. As defender Jonny and Portuguese skipper crossed over the 18-yard line, Ronaldo dived to the ground under minimal contact to earn his side a penalty which he coolly dispatched. In the post-match interview, Jonny claimed Cristiano Ronald’s crime was for everyone to see and that the forward should be ashamed of himself.
David Luiz vs Manchester United (2012)
David Luiz play to get fellow countryman Rafael sent off is one of the low points of his fluctuating Chelsea career. The dead rubber, which Chelsea won thanks to a Juan Mata strike, is forever etched in the hearts of United supporters for that dreaded smile of David Luiz after getting the full-back sent off. He later claimed, he only smiled for the abuse he received from the home fans, and there was nothing malicious about it.
These examples just goes on to show the evil this game brings out from the professional athletes who have the utmost respect for their opponents yet stoop so low for personal and team gains.