Many of the world’s greatest players have a reputation when it comes to manipulating referees.
We’ve heard it all before with the likes of Neymar hitting the deck too easily or Mohamed Salah looking for a light touch in the box.
Although, whilst there is some truth to those accusations, in reality, the majority of the time these players are so slippery that defenders simply can’t contain them.
The introduction of VAR has been controversial, but there can be no denying that the luxury of slow motion replays has drastically reduced the chances a player will be able to con the referee by going down under minimal contact.
Interestingly, though, a report by FBRep has shown that many of ‘usual culprits’ still top the list as the most fouled players in the box even despite the introduction of VAR a few seasons ago.
Check out what they came up with below.
Penalties won since 2016/2017
=19. Dries Mertens – 9 penalties
=19. Iker Munain – 9 penalties
=19. Marcus Rashford – 9 penalties
=19. Breel Donald Embolo – 9 penalties
=19. Gianluca Lapadula – 9 penalties
=19. Callum Wilson – 9 penalties
=19. Corentin Jean – 9 penalties
=19. Joaquin Correa – 9 penalties
=19. Moussa Dembele – 9 penalties
=19. Cristiano Ronaldo – 9 penalties
=16. Alexandra Lacazette – 10 penalties
=16. Luis Suarez – 10 penalties
=16. Timo Werner – 10 penalties
=13. Neymar – 11 penalties
=13. Santi Mina – 11 penalties
=13. Ismaila Sarr – 11 penalties
=8. Jamie Vardy – 12 penalties
=8. Andrea Belotti – 12 penalties
=8. Nabil Fekir – 12 penalties
=8. Mauro Icardi – 12 penalties
=8. Marcus Thuram – 12 penalties
=6. Federico Chiesa – 13 penalties
=6. Edin Dzeko – 13 penalties
=4. Wilfried Zaha – 14 penalties
=4. Mohamed Salah – 14 penalties
3. Ciro Immobile – 15 penalties
2. Kylian Mbappe – 16 penalties
1. Raheem Sterling – 18 penalties
Plenty of Premier League representation then as three of the top five come from England’s top-flight.
Manchester City’s Sterling tops the list with a staggering 18 penalties across the last six seasons. The sheer pace of the Englishman combined with Pep Guardiola’s dominant attacking style would certainly have contributed to that.
Mbappe comes in at number two. The explosive Frenchman is near impossible to contain, so it’s no surprise defenders end up throwing a clumsy leg out in his direction every now and then.
Salah is often one of the most widely criticised players when it comes to being over dramatic around the penalty area. The Egyptian narrowly misses out on a podium place having earnt 14 penalties over the time of the study.
However, the silky Brazilian Neymar – a.k.a. football’s very own Brad Pitt – can only manage 13th with his tally of 11 penalties. Maybe he doesn’t spend as much time diving as what people perceive?
Whilst a final notable inclusion is Manchester United’s Ronaldo who comes in 19th position overall. The Portuguese has adapted his game in recent years to accommodate his declining pace, otherwise, we have no doubt that he would be right up there at the sharp end of proceedings.