I love soccer. Always have. That’s why I wish the old European dudes who oversee the world’s most popular sport would make it easier for me to defend “the beautiful game” to the haters here in North America by coming down hard on dives.
You see, it’s hard to make a case for the game when you have grown men flopping around all over the pitch like imbeciles. Someone gets within five feet of them, and they immediately collapse, grab their ankle, face, or both, and start rolling around in pretend agony. Then the idiot referee walks over and pulls out a yellow card—and nothing even happened. So you see my conundrum. How am I supposed to convince someone who loves American football that soccer isn’t for sissies when this kind of stuff is going on?
Still, I will say one thing for soccer’s great floppers: it’s really fun to hate them. Plus, they do make me laugh. And I’m willing to bet they’ll make you laugh, too. So here are 21 hilarious animated GIFs featuring some of the greatest soccer flops you’ll ever see.
"Oh crap, the keeper just cut off my angle. Well, better collapse to the ground and writhe in agony."
21. Free Goal
This isn't even a good dive. If you're tripped, you go flying through the air. You don't crumble to the ground...doofus.
20. Phantom Tackle
Why is the instinct always to grab the face, like somebody gouged them in the eye?
19. Kaka is so vicious
It's tough when your opponent has two regular arms and two invisible arms—especially when he uses one of the invisible ones to karate chop you in the throat.
18. The Invisible Hand
Okay, upon close inspection, it's obvious this isn't a dive. Jozy just trips on his own feet, and he doesn't really even embellish it. But it is still funny, so I left it in.
17. Altidore trips on his own feet
Like Altidore in #17, Torres just trips on his own feet here. (It's hard to see, but watch his shoes and you'll spot his right foot hitting the back of his left ankle.) However, Torres is a skilled soccer actor who knows how to turn clumsiness into a foul. Look at the way he just throws his head back and lowers his left shoulder in preparation for the dramatic tumble! The guy can really sell it, can't he?
16. Torres trips, tries to sell it
Now this guy knows what he's doing. He's obviously spent hours fine-tuning his craft (of diving). He knows that it's the left foot that would have been snagged had the goalie actually made contact, so as soon as it hits the ground he stops it on a dime and extends the left leg.
Of course, the stupid thing is that he actually had the keeper beat and managed to maintain possession of the ball. All he had to do was shoot it in, so why take a dive at all here?
The DC United player got suspended for this embarrassment. Rightly so.
In fact, I've long held that they should suspend players for 10 games for any dive. Some people say, "but you can't always tell for sure! What if they get it wrong and a guy is suspended unfairly?" And to that I say, yes, there may be a few innocent casualties. But I guarantee that if you started with 10 games, then doubled the amount for every subsequent infraction (so 20 games the second time, and 40 the third), you would eliminate this nonsense from the game.
Besides, you only need to go after the obvious ones. Those are the ones that are so embarrassing to the sport.
14. Charlie Davies' dive
Here's another very skilled diver. He really makes this one look convincing. I had to watch it about 7 times before I was sure there was, in fact, no contact.
His dad must be so proud!
13. Mad diving skillz
Dude, you can grab your face all you want, but we all saw you head-butt the other guy with the top of your head. No sale.
12. Head-butter become head-buttee
Hey, I love soccer. I really do. So it's sad that this is so true.
11. Pretty much
I wish more players would mock their diving opponents.
10. You're mocking me, aren't you
I guess this guy was trying to make like the goalie spit in his face. In any case, my favorite part is the reaction from the supposed spitter when the guy suddenly throws his head back. He's actually startled!
This is an all-time classic. Rivaldo is hit in the thigh with the ball, so obviously he falls to the ground and grabs his face...even though the linesman was standing 5 feet away. You gotta be pretty confident in your acting skillz to try that one.
"Hey, Gunther, do your Cristiano Ronaldo impersonation again!"
6. Dramatic dive reenactment
These two jackasses are made for each other.
The funny thing is, after the coach drops to the ground in feigned agony, the player hesitates for a split second before realizing that the only way he can avoid getting kicked out of the game is to act like he was the victim. So you have two dives stemming from one fake head-butt. Just wonderful.
4. Even coaches take dives
Yeah, you might as well try to see if the ref is even watching you. Otherwise, might as well get up and rejoin the play.
3. No peeking
Well, that's one way to draw a foul...if you're a walking piece of human garbage.
2. Very clever
And this is the one you'll watch over and over for about five minutes. Enjoy!