10 Worst Flops In Soccer History (With Videos)

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The process of embellishing a foul or claiming to be fouled when none was committed in an attempt to fool the referee is known as diving, flopping, or simulation in official FIFA terminology.  If a referee notices flopping, he or she might issue a yellow card to the offender.

Despite old farts’ claims that youngsters are ruining the game, flopping has been a part of the game for as long as there have been refs, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

But why exactly do soccer players – including the world’s biggest names – flop?

Currently, the gains of flopping far surpass the risks. Soccer players dive because the possibility of receiving a yellow card for getting caught is insignificant compared to the benefit they can get in return, which is a free kick in a strategic location or a penalty.

Because most of the gain is in or near the 18-yard box, most soccer flops occur there from attacking players.

Players who trick the referee into giving a penalty kick or a free-kick from a sensitive spot can present their side with a significant edge in a game.

And since soccer is low-scoring compared to other sports, it seems like any decision that leads to a golden opportunity to score is worth a little deception to these players.

Neymar left of Barcelona approaches the ball during a match against Rayo Vallecano on the eighth matchday of La Liga at Camp Nou stadium Barcelona on October 17 2015. ○ Soccer Blade

Top 10 Worst Flops In Soccer History

Now that you know why soccer players flop, we will show you when and how they did that. So here’s a list of 10 of the hideous soccer flops ever!

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10. Ashley Young

This is honestly not the worst dive in the world of soccer, and we don’t know if Ashley Young deserves the ‘awful’ and ‘disgraceful’ comments that have haunted him for years.

Ashley Young dive Vs Manchester City

It does look like a well-mastered and legit dive, exactly what you expect from Ashley Young, who keeps getting fouls for his perfect dives. 10\10 diving, 0\10 ethics. But since we’re not in the top 10 best flops, but rather the top 10 worst, the Villa man comes in 10th place.

9. Arjen Robben

You may well remember this moment from the 2014 World Cup match between the Netherlands and Mexico. In the 90th minute, Robben won a penalty when the referee ruled that he had been tripped by defender Rafael Márquez only yards from Mexico’s goal.

Robben penalty dive against Mexico

While it’s a convincing dive when you see it at first, slow-mo says it all. 

8. Rivaldo

Brazil won’t just be remembered for their great performance at the 2002 World Cup, but also for the hideous flop showcased by Rivaldo.

Rivaldo acting fail - World Cup 2002 Oscar winning performance

The former professional player is truly naturally gifted and has a successful career with prestigious clubs like Barcelona, but this was a really bad flop, Rivaldo! 

7. Danko Lazovic 

Danko Lazovic looked like a fish out of the water while playing in Hungary for the club Videoton.  Lazovic has been a part of big games and been in the international spotlight as a member of the Serbian national team.

Worst dive in football/soccer history by Danko Lazovic

We really don’t know how to feel about this dramatic, yet impeccable acting. An Oscar for best actor?

6. Jurgen Klinsmann

We can call Jurgen Klinsmann the father of diving as his dive back in one of the greatest stages (the 1990 World Cup) was something quite new to soccer.

Klinsmann's dive in WC 1990

Did you see the additional movement the German did with his legs after landing on the ground? No wonder he received a lot of abuse after this legendary dive.

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5. Lionel Messi

While this flop Lionel Messi is a kind of payback (since Fábio Coentrão tried to hold him back from getting up before him), we can still call it a flop due to Lionel Messi’s overdramatic reaction.

Lionel Messi Over Dramatic Flop

Yep, even the world’s best players do it. 

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

No matter how much hate he receives, Cristiano Ronaldo is hands-down one of the greatest players in soccer history. Truth be told, he’s also one of the worst floppers in soccer history!

Cristiano Ronaldo dive Vs Iceland (claiming a push)

But come on, this was in his early days with Manchester United (which he returned to after 12 years away from the club), let’s just overlook that and hope he won’t dive as badly with Man United as he did before! 

3. Didier Drogba

The sleazy art of diving isn’t only employed by lesser-known players, it is also common among the most famous players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben, and now Didier Drogba. 

Chelsea v Napoli Drogba Diving and caught on camera

It’s baffling, and we don’t understand why Didier Drogba wanted to get a foul against Napoli in 2012, even though Chelsea had been winning 4-1, three goals ahead of Napoli. 

2. Sergio Busquets

We all remember this hilarious and obvious Flop of Sergio Busquets. The mantra of Barcelona of keeping it on the floor was taken too literally in this flop!

Sergio Busquets Fail Dive

The Spaniard plays a very important role in Barcelona, as he’s one of the best ball passers in the world.  But he’s also a pretty infuriating player; when it comes to diving to take advantage of a situation, he’s more than willing to do it. But he still completely failed in this one!

1. Neymar

Flopping isn’t something foreign to Neymar. In fact, he’s one of the best-known players for diving. The talented Brazilian player absolutely deserves an Academy Award for his dive in World Cup 2018

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Neymar getting an Oscar for Diving FIFA World Cup 2018

Legend has it, Neymar is still rolling on the ground until now.

Soccer Analyst and Publisher at Soccer Blade | Soccer Blade | + posts

Joel is a seasoned soccer journalist and analyst with many years of experience in the field. Joel specializes in game analysis, player profiles, transfer news, and has a keen eye for the tactical nuances of the game. He played at various levels in the game and coached teams - he is happy to share his insight with you.

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Soccer Tactics FAQ

Can you block in soccer?

You can block a pass, shot, cross, or throw-in. It’s legal to block the ball using any part of the body other than the hands or arm (up to the shoulder). 

Why do players fake injuries? 

Although it’s disrespectful to opponents and fans, some players fake injuries to win a free kick or penalty, sometimes to stop a counter-attack, also to waste time to run the clock down, and they might try to get an opponent booked or sent off. 

How do you increase soccer awareness?

+ Scan the field before getting the ball
+ Keep an open body position
+ Keep your eyes in front of the ball when dribbling
+ Lookup after taking bigger touches

Why do soccer players and coaches cover their mouths when talking?

Soccer players hold their mouths when talking for 3 reasons: To keep conversations private from the public, Keep tactical discussions secret, and amplify their voices.

Why do soccer players raise their hands?

This is done to communicate with their teammates during a game for a pass, to say they are in space, plus to let teammates know what routine set-play is going to be taken. Players also raise their hands to celebrate a goal or signal that they are injured.

What are some ways to pass a soccer ball?

+ Inside foot: Using the area above and inside of the big toe.
+ Outside foot: This creates a spin on the ball to swerve the ball around players
+ The Laces: A powerful volley can be performed with a straight leg swing.
+ Spin: If the toes get underneath the ball with some force you create a backspin.
+ Back heel: Connect the heel with the ball to reverse play.
+ Header: Often used for clearing and shooting, but can be a creative passing move.
+ Body: Use any part of the body to deflect the ball into the path you desire.

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