Sunday, October 2, 2022

Play-acting ruining football

David Nugent in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 29 Nov 2018

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I despair watching football sometimes these days. I was looking forward to PSG v Liverpool last night in the Champions League as a not so neutral. However, for all the quality players on the pitch, all I could focus on was the play-acting of the home side.

At times, it was embarrassing to watch from PSG, and this is coming from an Everton fan. It gets me annoyed and winds me up so much, as it seems to be an epidemic in the world game.

Neymar is the worst offender

I love and hate watching Brazilian superstar Neymar. I love watching him for the skill and technical ability he brings to a game. When on form, he is quite simply a joy to watch. In fact, he is one of the most entertaining footballers in world football. He even worked hard for his team last night.

The flip side is his incessant need to fall over whenever an opposition player goes near him. Sometimes I am not sure if he is a footballer or a lover of amateur dramatics. What gets me is he does not need to do it.

He has fantastic ability but seems to think he needs to throw himself on the floor and roll over ten times feigning injury. It is now just embarrassing. He was not the only offender on the PSG team, though, as a few of his teammates also went down after being blown over by a gust of wind.

Premier League has a big diving problem

I remember a time when it was very rare to see players diving, well in the English top-flight. However, it has been going on in foreign football for a long time, in South American football it is just regarded as part of the game, a way to get an advantage over your opponent and trick the officials.

It has become rife in the Premier League in the last 25 years or so, as players learn traits from their more well-travelled teammates.

There have been some really embarrassing and cringe-worthy cases of diving in the Premier League of late. One good example was Leicester’s James Maddison, who received a second yellow card for a dive at the weekend against Brighton. The midfielder has since apologised for the dive and so he should.

I am enjoying watching Everton play at the minute under Marco Silva. The style of football is good to watch. However, what I do not enjoy is the play-acting of Brazilian pair Bernard and Richarlison.

Both are exceptional players and two of my favourite Everton players. What frustrates the hell out of me is seeing them dropping on to the floor on a regular basis. It annoys me as an Everton fan, so I just wonder how opposition fans about the pair.

Neither player is likely to change especially now that Richarlison is in the Brazilian squad alongside best actor nominee Neymar. It is only going to get worse.

Play-acting helped PSG

I remember when it first came about that players would receive a booking for simulation/diving in the Premier League. It was a good start in trying to stamp out the seemingly worldwide epidemic.

However, stronger action needs to be taken when it comes to play-acting. The PSG-Liverpool game was a prime example. The antics by the home side were embarrassing to most right-thinking fans.

They helped achieve the result that PSG needed on the night, though, so nobody connected with the French club will be too bothered by the gamesmanship, as the French team are now one of the favourites to win the group at odds of 4/7.

I know many teams do it and its part of the modern game and probably always will be. Maybe I am old-fashioned or just naïve, but I enjoy football much better when the players are not doing an audition for Swan Lake.

Will play-acting in football just keep getting worse?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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