For the longest time, football has been branded as a soft sport.
And while I completely disagree with this statement, many players in the course of footy history have done little to dispel this notion.
Being "soft" in football terms can mean a few different things, but the players listed contribute a lot to the criticism.
The style of the modern game has turned more towards showmanship and gamesmanship, and the current stars resort to diving, faking injuries and time wasting to better gain a competitive edge. That being said, that doesn't mean players of yesteryear didn't try referees as well.
Here is a list of the 20 softest players ever in footy, and you will be surprised with many of the names on this list.
A Brazilian legend, Rivaldo could do marvelous things with the ball at his feet and carved a lengthy career that still is going strong to this day.
But this infamous incident from the 2002 World Cup dents the playmaker's reputation, as he gets a Turkish player sent off for a mysterious injury to his face.
Nani was brought to Manchester United with hopes he could fill the shoes Cristiano Ronaldo left on his way to Real Madrid.
While he has come into his own a bit the last two seasons, Nani also took the playacting role for United with CR7's departure.
The former AC Milan goalkeeper has since retired from the game, and many will argue another incident involving a flare makes Dida's inclusion on this list a bit unfair.
But in this Champions League match against Celtic, Dida mysteriously succumbs to a ghost punch from a fan who entered the pitch.
Now, I am all for security and keeping hooligans off the field, but I am pretty sure that fan's tap on the shoulder wouldn't even do damage to me.
Michael Ballack is a fiery player who captained Germany for a long, successful period.
He is a hardman who utilizes his strength and intimidation in bullying opponents.
But he is also a whiner, and when things don't go his way, he brings out his petulant side. And if you are truly an "enforcer" in football, you don't need to elbow people when the ref isn't looking.
Robin Van Persie can do no wrong at the moment, and he is currently the most prolific striker in the world.
Yet he has a reputation of going down far too easy not only on the pitch, but when it comes to injuries.
Always being hurt contributes just as much to a soft rep as a diver, a cheat, etc. But RVP can flop with the best of them...or the worst of them, depending on how you view it.
Emmanuel Eboue divided fans at Arsenal because he was a lovable character who was questionable on the pitch.
And his personality was adored by his team and coaches, but more often than not he was flailing to the floor in humorous fashion.
This is the best of the bunch though, as Eboue virtually goes to ground untouched.
Diego Armando Maradona is a legend in his own right, but controversy seemed to follow the Argentine wherever he went.
Whether it is a history of drug abuse or the hand of God, Maradona's reputation was deemed soft because he often dispersed blame to others.
He was also one of the first players to incorporate diving into the game, and even found it necessary to take a spill in a charity game.
Arjen Robben is another Dutchman who is blessed with skills, speed and trickery, but is prone to go down injured at any second.
He uses this to gain an advantage though, and you will find Robben hitting the deck just as much as you see him skinning a defender.
In this video from the 2010 World Cup final, Robben steps over Iker Casillas and looks back at the referee in hopes of getting a weak penalty call.
It didn't work, by the way.
Thierry Henry has scored so many goals in his life that he probably forgets about most of them.
But how could he forget this feeble incident from the 2006 World Cup?
It is funny listening to this commentary, because both announcers know exactly what the Frenchman was trying to get away with. While Carles Puyol's yellow is soft, Henry's so-called facial injury is softer.
The Ivorian doesn't make too many friends on game day, because he is a notorious actor.
For being such a big man, you would think he could take a knock. But it is not surprising to see Didier Drogba begging for calls as he lays on the pitch.
This one is just unreal, though. I thought he had a seizure, so I was relieved to see Drogba was alright.
Marcelo is a rising youngster who has consistently broken into Jose Mourinho's first team at Real Madrid.
He is adept both defensively and going forward, but if he stayed on his feet a lot more, he could be even better.
This video proves this, as I feel he could have taken a goal for himself if he didn't have the urge to go down.
Milos Krasic is a massive diver, and it is to the point where he literally looks to go down before an opponent even touches him.
He is a very good winger who gets overshadowed by the fact he is so soft.
Currently on bad terms with his club Juventus, many are looking to take on the Serbian in the transfer window, if they are willing to risk a few bookings for simulation.
Yes, Fernando Torres is as soft as he looks.
The boyish Spaniard has been struggling to get out of a funk and hasn't had a year to remember. Since making a record-setting move to Chelsea, he is been ridiculed for soft performances and failed expectations.
El Nino still has the talent to break down just about everyone, but he needs to stay on his feet first.
You know you are a soft player when you have compilation videos of your best dives.
Angel Di Maria wins a lot of penalties for Real Madrid, but he gets numerous bookings as well for his antics. It is a risk he is willing to take as an elusive winger, but sometimes enough is enough.
This video gets me every time, and the first clip in the Madrid derby emulates people's disgust with his diving.
Neymar doesn't care if he is playing in a friendly or a Cup final, if he feels any contact he is going down like a sack of bricks.
He can get away with it because he is so technically gifted and is able to keep the ball so close to his feet, but he is going to feel the anger of a defender if he doesn't clean up his act.
This particular clip shows Neymar diving five times in a friendly match against Holland. Some are just too funny not to chuckle at.
Alberto Gilardino personifies the Italian way of gamesmanship, even if he does it very weakly.
And if you go to YouTube and type "Gilardino" into the search bar, the very first thing that pops up is this clip of his famous gaff for AC Milan.
I wish I could feel sorry for the Italian, but I just can't...
The current United States national team coach is probably the first person ever to take diving to the level we are familiar with today.
The writhing, the exaggeration, the time wasting—he mastered it all, and this clip from the 1990 World Cup brings every element together.
Klinsmann is an originator, and with the struggles his team is having at the moment, perhaps his next training session will be based on learning how to get cheap calls.
I feel that if I walked through a door with Dani Alves behind me, the gust of wind from it shutting would not only knock the Brazilian to the ground, but would cause significant damage.
The Barcelona man is one of the softest player this game has seen, and it is a shame. His talent is abundant, but it is impossible for me to respect a man who cannot do anything without causing controversy.
He seems to bring out his best acting against the biggest teams, so I guess I can't fault him for his timing.
Where do you even begin with Sergio Busquets?
The Barcelona midfielder has quickly made a name for himself in world football—for all the wrong reasons.
His diving and dirty habits on the pitch are discussed more than his performances are, and he is easily one of the softest players not only today, but in history.
The man who made an art out of being soft, Cristiano Ronaldo is pointed out among critics and players alike for his diving.
Although he has toned down the flopping dramatically, people will always remember him for being a fragile individual who goes to the ground instantly. His talent is rare but his arrogance puts a massive target on his back, and defenders put a little bit more crunch in their tackles against CR7 to see whether or not he is acting.
He will certainly go down as one of the greatest players in history, but very few will ever deny his soft tendencies.