Top 10: Europe's worst divers

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Football News

Few things get people riled up like a good dive. Nobody likes to be conned, nobody likes to look like an idiot, and nobody likes to be cheated.

That's why it's such an emotive subject. Get a red card for a two-footed tackle? Probably not that kind of player. A professional foul to stop a lightning counter-attack? Good thinking. Appeal for a corner-kick when the ball clearly came off you? It's just a corner, no worries! 

But go down in the box, hoping to win your team a penalty? Cheat! Charlatan! Crook! Dodgy, double-crossing defrauder! 

This year, something of a witch hunt is under way in the Premier League. Referees are said to be "clamping down" on the scourge that plagues the English game.

But, would you believe it, you've ain't seen nothing compared to Italy.

Serie 'A' is by far the worst for divers. Positively teeming with them, it is. 55 yellow cards have been dished out so far, almost double the highest total from one of the other of Europe's top five leagues.

In comparison, La Liga refs have dealt just 16, Premier League whistle-blowers 28. The German men-in-black have cautioned 11, and French chiefs just seven! Seven bookings, what a pious group of young gentleman.

In the Premier League at least, there are well-established villains. Those with a "reputation" for the devious dive - the likes of Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale.

The two chief proponents of the dark art get collared more than most - their record does them few favours though. 

Still, Liverpool fans can rejoice here, there is no place for them in the top 10. Two Premier League teams do suffer the ignominious honour, though - Chelsea and Tottenham.

Bale takes the rap for Spurs, while Fernando Torres and Oscar shoulder much of the burden for Chelsea. Branislav Ivanovic has also been nabbed. Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal have just one each. In La Liga, neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid have picked up a single booking this season.

But it's Serie 'A' that is infected to the most severe degree - seven teams  from the Italian top division populate the top 10. Have they no shame. 

Actually, a few of them were probably unlikely. Making the most of contact is not a dive, and shouldn't be punished like a dive - i.e. with a yellow card.

It's either a foul, or it's nothing - just play on. The idea that it's black and white - foul or dive - is flawed.

That's not even mentioning the fact that, when it comes down to it, most supporters wouldn't mind their player diving to win an important penalty if it meant the difference between relegation and survival, promotion and stagnation, or first-place and second.

Anyway, let's not get bogged down with the nitty-gritty, it's far more fun to get all self-righteous - let's nail those dirty cheats!

Looking at just the top 5 European leagues - Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie 'A', GMF has counted down the top 10 clubs with the most bookings for diving this season.

Does your team make the list? Find out below… 

10. Bologna - 3 bookings | Serie 'A'

9. Tottenham - 3 | Premier League

8. Catania - 4 | Serie 'A'

7. Palermo - 4 | Serie 'A'

6. Malaga - 4 | La Liga

5. Torino - 5 | Serie 'A' 

4. Parma - 5 | Serie 'A'

3. Atalanta - 5 | Serie 'A'

2. Chelsea - 6 | Premier League

1. Pescara - 7 | Serie 'A'

All statistics courtesy of

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