Few incidents in football are as hotly debated as those where the player in question has been accused of diving.
Naturally, the fans of the two sides in question will weigh in with their partisan analysis, and then there are both the purists who like to see a war on diving launched by the football authorities and the player safety camp that advocates a more nuanced scrutiny of the issue.
Following are three incidents in which the principal went to ground inside the opposing 18-yard box—one of which resulted in a penalty earned for his side.
But we want you to be the ultimate judge.
After viewing the accompanying footage, cast your vote as to what, in fact, happened during the passage in play and what should have been the outcome.
Exhibit A: Gareth Bale vs. Sevilla
Vote on Bale!
A Canal Plus reporter questioned Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale about his antics after replays showed he had gone to ground despite not being touched by Sevilla defender Fernando Navarro during the capital side’s 7-3 La Liga win on October 30.
Reporter, via The Independent: “We have seen something which is not usual for a player who has been in the Premier League—going down in the area with no touch from the defender. What happened?”
Bale: “Yeah, I was going at pace, and to be honest I felt a touch...”
Reporter: “There was no touch.”
Exhibit B: Diego Costa vs. Valencia
Vote on Diego Costa!
Atletico Madrid won 3-0 at home against Valencia in their penultimate La Liga match prior to the Christmas break, and top-scorer Diego Costa scored twice in the victory.
He might have had a third had he been able to convert from the spot in the 74th minute.
Of course, that he had even been awarded a penalty in the first place was controversial, given that Valencia defender Victor Ruiz hardly seemed to touch the Brazil-born Spain international, who collapsed to ground as if he’d been shot.
Exhibit C: Luis Suarez vs. Chelsea
Vote on Suarez!
Luis Suarez felt he might have won three penalties at Stamford Bridge last Sunday, and in this instance his reputation as a serial diver might have preceded him.
The Uruguay striker did look to be barged into unfairly by Samuel Eto’o in the final minutes of the Reds’ 2-1 loss against Chelsea, although Blues boss Jose Mourinho, for one, was having none of it in his post-match remarks.
“It is not a tackle,” he told the BBC. “Suarez lost the duel with [Cesar] Azpilicueta, who has the ball and is leaving the box. Now he is doing an acrobatic swimming-pool jump to get a penalty.”