Footballers who deserve an award for their diving skills
Diving is one attribute which is generally associated with forwards or attacking midfielders, who go down easily in hope of getting a foul or a penalty; rarely is it ever associated with a defensive midfielder. Though, Real Madrid’s Casemiro is a rare case. On his day, the Brazilian is easily amongst the best defensive midfielders in the world. He has been the backbone of Real’s success in recent years, sitting at the base of the midfield, doing all the dirty work while the likes of Modric and Kroos create magic higher up the pitch. But, as good he is defensively, the same cannot be said for his diving skills. His act against Tottenham in the champions league was comical if anything when a slight touch of hands from Harry Winks almost brought down Casemiro to his knees.
4) Samuel Umtiti
In fairness, Umtiti has been arguably Barca’s best defender since arriving at the club after Euro’16. He has settled in nicely, and has finally looked like the player Barca were craving for since their legendary skipper, Carlos Puyol, called it quits. Comfortable with the ball at his feet and equally aggressive without it, Umtiti could become a Barca great in the future. Though, there is one aspect of his game which needs significant improvement. Fortunately though, that has nothing to do with his footballing skills, rather it is the acting skills. Often, a slight touch can make Umtiti shake like anything. Against Athletic club, he certainly crossed a level with his theatrics.
3) Leonardo Bonucci
One of the best ball playing defenders in the world, it is a huge shame that Bonucci gets his name on our list. The Italian has some fine skills with the ball with his best asset being his ability to spray the ball forward while he is equally good at organising defences. This summer, Bonucci shocked the football world with his decision to leave Juventus for AC Milan when he could hand picked Chelsea or Manchester City. Barring his performances in last few games, Bonucci has been a real flop with many fans even calling for him to be dropped. He is a fine defender and will eventually find his form, but if his theatrics are under consideration, he deserves to be frozen out.
2) Gareth Bale
One of the fastest and most powerful players in the world at the moment, Gareth Bale, despite his critics, has been a huge success in Spain. Winning three Champions league titles is a thing of dream but Bale has achieved it and has been at the heart of those achievements. One of the things few do know about Bale is that he is a hopeless diver. In fact, he holds the record for the most yellow cards for diving since 2011-12 with six yellow cards to his name. At Real, some of it has definitely gone down and if he does repeat those acting skills, it is mostly because he is actually injured.
Like the former Tottenham star Gareth Bale, Alli has been a revelation since his breakthrough season for the Lily Whites. And like Bale, Alli has all the ingredients of becoming one of the world’s elite footballers. A major flaw of his game though is his temparement. Amongst the easiest ways to neutralize his quality is by pushing him psychologically, thus getting to his mind. That has been the case so many times this season, with his altercation with Young and a stamp on De Bruyne. Diving is also another area where Alli needs to be really careful. Like Young, Alli has built a reputation for diving, which means that in situations when he is actually fouled, referees are inclined to overlook it because of Alli’s tendency for exaggerating.