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.
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!
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.
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.
While it’s a convincing dive when you see it at first, slow-mo says it all.
Brazil won’t just be remembered for their great performance at the 2002 World Cup, but also for the hideous flop showcased by Rivaldo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
Legend has it, Neymar is still rolling on the ground until now.
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.