Football

Does Neymar dive?

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Brazil star Neymar will take to the pitch tonight a hero in the eyes of millions of Brazil fans.

But there's a growing number of football watchers who aren't interested in the tricks and flicks, the samba flair, the drama, joy and the goals.

Instead they see a con artist. A cheat. A diver. It's a familiar refrain, and an easy label to tag on a player who invites contact.

The likes of Gareth Bale and Neymar are singled out as divers. No smoke without fire the critics would say. And they would point to the stats - Bale has a pretty terrible track record when it comes to the dark art of the tumble.

Neymar too has been booked for diving far too often. But to what extent is their reputation self-fulfilling? Call a player a diver enough, and referees will begin to view players within that context.

So, another question - to what extent is that reputation warranted? We'll take a look at some YouTube clips of Neymar 'diving' and grade the suspected offences - 1 is no dive, 10 a blatant con.

Feel free to disagree with our marks in the comment section below…

Neymar v Gremio July 2012 | 2 out of 10

He works hard here, keeps the ball in play and his opponent comes steaming in ready to clatter him. 

He does well to avoid the contact, and as a result he doesn't feel the full force of the challenge. Definitely a free-kick though, you can't tackle like that.

Exquisite dive? You've got to be joking.

Neymar v Corinthians March 2013 | 10 out of 10

Can't defend this one. A straight-up dive. He squares his defender and beats him round the outside.

Corthinians centre-back Gil thinks about hanging out a leg, then thinks better of it. That split second draws Neymar in, and over he goes. Absolutely no contact whatsoever, and no challenge made.

Dive. Massive dive.

Neymar v Italy June 2013 | 4 out of 10

Another recent suspected offence. Neymar wins the free-kick here, but the YouTube user is pretty sure it's a dive.

And we tend to agree. There's a hand in the face from Andrea Barzagli, but nothing that comes close to a foul.

He's felt the hand and went down, which he's entitled to - but it's not a foul, and it's not an outright 'dive'. The referee would be smart to just play on.

Neymar v ? | 8 out of 10

You can't expect to pull off these kind of tricks without a little rough-housing in return. And this isn't even that bad.

The defender just stands his ground, Neymar hits the deck. Another dive. It's not looking good for him. 

Neymar v Netherlands June 2011 

A collection of five suspicious incidents. Lets run through them one by one.

Number 1 - Bad tackle, Neymar entitled to go over - no dive. 1 out of 10

Number 2 - embarrassing. Dive. 10 out of 10

Number 3 - needs to be stronger here. Not a dive, not a foul. 5 out of 10

Number 4 - inconclusive from the footage. It's a reckless kick from Heitinga but it doesn't look like he lands. 6 out of 10

Number 5 - the final straw for the ref - Neymar sees yellow. Fair enough. 8 out of 10.

Of course, it's important to remember every time the Brazilian takes to the field, he comes in for this kind of treatment. Diving can be evasive action...

So, what do you think - a deserved reptuation or not? Have your say in the comments section below...

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Topics:
Barcelona
Neymar
Football

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