Cristiano Ronaldo dives, or, more properly speaking, he simulates fouls. It’s true, and I readily concede that point. This column, or more accurately, this particular one that I’m writing, isn’t about trying to say that Ronaldo doesn’t dive, or the slightly less controversial argument that simulating is a natural part of the sport, and should be embraced rather than condemned.


In fact, I hate diving, and I think that it should be punished much more harshly, in post-facto referee review sessions, with either fines or suspensions (to be honest, though, this particular way to prevent simulation could be pretty hard to implement, just like goal line video cameras or sensors and all that rubbish).

This column is to expose the treatment of Cristiano Ronaldo, and to a lesser extent Didier Drogba, by the British press and some fans as what it is: blatant, unabashed racism.

There’s a trend in the English press, and in the game in general, to create a dichotomy between the “good ol’ English lads who’re out there giving it all for their team (or country)” and the “foreign, greasy, cheating dirtbags, who ‘go to ground with just the slightest gust of wind blowing in their direction’” (from the English site “, affiliated with the Telegraph). This same website wasn’t defending Cristiano Ronaldo from claims of “diving,” but was, oddly, making the case that there were more players out there who dove just as often as him. Their examples? “Didier Drogba [and] Deco.”  “Hell, sometime’s Drogba just like[s] to go for a leap of faith when no one is near. Yet, still looking for a penalty.”  The argument was, basically, “Ronaldo isn’t the only foreigner who dives in the EPL! Look out!” The article does deserve some credit, though, because they do say “It’s the English media that has got everyone thinking Ronaldo is the one that invented the art-form of diving.” Of course! But, of course the real problem is “the culture in which players are being brought up now from Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and even England.” To be fair, they did include “and even England.” But honestly, this smacks of racism.

I mean, come on, people. Let’s be realistic: the main headlines in English newspapers tend to criticize foreign players for being divers–“Winker Ronaldo is diving, again” (The Sun, 9/13/2008) or “Cristiano Ronaldo Urged to ‘Start Diving’ By Real Madrid Teammates” (, 10/4/2009), or even entire foreign countries for being racists: “The leaders of England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup yesterday attempted to regain the initiative, taking the fight to rivals such as Spain by inviting comparisons with its record on tackling racism.” (The Guardian, 10/9/2009)

In comparison, whenever an Englishman simulates, he tends to either be portrayed as a hero who would give anything for his team or country (for example, after his dive against Hungary in the 2006 World Cup, Steven Gerrard was applauded by former England striker Ian Wright–, 5/31/2006), or sparks a one sided, good faith article about the player (for example, when Wayne Rooney dove to get a penalty in a recent match against Arsenal, he was treated warmly by the press, who called him “honest”–, 9/3/2009).

Another ridiculous example of the racism displayed by the English media is in the coverage of Rooney’s ejection from the 2006 World Cup after STOMPING ON A PLAYER’S BALLS!

As one can hear, the commentators are blaming Rooney’s act of blatant violence on Ronaldo, rather than condemning the act itself. This was actually the universal reaction that the English press had: rather than talk about how horrifying that act was, they demonized Cristiano Ronaldo for “winking” at the Referee, and talked about Rooney’s feelings of sadness after being ejected: “The players told me not to worry, that it wasn’t my fault. I appreciated that. And that’s when I felt a few tears in my eyes. I don’t cry often and I hadn’t cried when I’d been sent off” (The Sun, 10/3/2006).

I guess I agree with the English columnist Des Kelly, who talks in his column about the inherent hypocrisy of being a soccer fan–diving is awful, and a terrible sin (unless it’s by one of us). “The same contradictions will be evident when Michael Owen trots out. Surely this is a player who has been involved in many more diving controversies than Eduardo? Ah, but he’s an English diver. He also reserves his best work for when England play Argentina. So that’s all right then” (Daily Mail, 8/29/09). Exactly.

As a Real Madrid fan, it’s easy for me to defend Cristiano. He’s one of us. But as a Spaniard, and a fan of Football worldwide, it’s incredibly offensive to me to see the treatment of foreign players in the English media. And even Des Kelly, who seems to understand this problem, still makes the same remarks: “Cristiano Ronaldo should collect enough diving bans to earn himself an entire gap year at Real Madrid. Barcelona captain Carles Puyol and his new colleague Zlatan Ibrahimovic routinely spend so much time rolling around for no discernible reason they might as well retire now, while Chelsea’s Didier Drogba may have to consider an entirely new career as a Denise Lewis lookalike.”

The players he cites? Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and African (Ivory Coast).

About Gabe Lezra

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides with the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon those with great vengeance and with furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know that my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. Ezekiel 25-17.
  • john wayne

    this article makes me laugh especially the part where you mention the english players (rooney and gerrard) diving. The problem is the english media darent critisize the overrated english players, insted they hype them up to be world beaters when the lot of them are medeocre footballers when compared to the best. Many people jump at the chance to critisize ronaldo for diving because he is the best player in the world and people immediatly look for ways to get at him and put him down. Diver or no-diver the fact is that these players who are often accused of diving (foreign players) are the best players in the world. Look at last years top 5 players in the world rated by FIFA. Ronaldo-Messi-Torres-Kaka-Xavi. All forgein? Divers or not i know who i would rather be…

  • Bravo John Wayne

    GREAT COMMENT! I agree with you 100%

  • margarida

    Wonderful piece! I am glad someone has shined a light on this issue. As a “foreigner” who has lived in England I truely appreciate this article. Good on you!

  • Anonymous

    Finally a piece that doesnt criticise Ronaldo on his own yes he does dive but why is it only him that is only criticise… why not other players.. does anyone remember the incident about Eduardo anymore no .. what about Eboue diving in the game againist Man U? No But people can still remember how Ronaldo dives… Thats just plain jealousy…

  • raysagres

    the best English diver is Liverpools GERRARD

  • Gera

    hmmm well Ronaldo does dives some times…but you have to agree he is the best dam player out there…….many said he was not going to do nothing in spain and yeh guess what now…he is killing it..just wait till he returns back….hate is what makes one better and better!!!!!!!!that’s why Ronaldo is so dam good…..Messi yes he is a grate player but come on can he or has he done does grate plays like Ronaldo like the kicks dang crazy….Messi cant kick the ball that way…but yeh they are both grate but Ronaldo to me is the Number one…he dives so what the man is putting in work….!

  • Ryan

    Good article. I especially liked the bit where you touched upon the English media’s reaction to Rooney being sent off. Rooney can step on someone’s crown jewels and push another player and still be portrayed as the victim, while Ronaldo is the ultimate evil for having a twitch in his eye. Laughable!

  • Katie

    It depends hugely on which side of the fence you’re standing on, and to me, the referee’s decision will be received in direct proportion to how it benefits/disadvantages my side. I’ll find a foul where I want to, and dismiss one just as easily. I’m Australian, and to me the drama surrounding England’s 2006 World Cup exit was entirely ridiculous – they weren’t a great team, and they were beaten. Rooney was sent off for a fairly obvious foul, Ronaldo probably shouldn’t have gotten involved, but he hardly cost England the Cup.
    On the other hand, Australia’s World Cup exit?! International sporting travesty! ;)

  • Katie

    And all players ‘simulate fouls’ – some more intelligently, and far more subtly, than others.

  • yonga

    This article is awesome, english players are not given the same treatment as foreign players. Drogba is the best diver of them all. Ronaldo is the best player and Deco is better than Lampard(but Deco is unappreciated)

  • Caterina

    Look Ronaldo is The Best and about the curse thing i think it is all false and even if it is true i think someone should give the witch double/triple the money he is getting. if i was famous i would surely do this for Ronaldo, because without him football is nothing.

  • Paul martin

    Great piece of journalism,

    Absolutely clear to anyone with a brain that English are some of the most racist and self righteous people.

  • victor

    Well as a portuguese living in england that’s the true most part of england is racist
    But they never remember this country was build by foreign
    What a same they are

  • teddy!

    That the British media has a racial bias or that Cristiano Ronaldo has been targeted by said bias is not really up for dispute. However, Cristiano Ronaldo should not be regarded as a good model for prospective young footballers, and especially not as a persecuted victim! As a Liverpool fan, I will admit that i have witnessed Steven Gerrard simulate fouls on several occasions, and each time I have reacted with disgust, not praise. However, Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have set the bar labeled “how to look like an asshole” to an almost unreachable level. He simulates fouls and injuries more frequently and more obnoxiously than any other player out there, with the possible exception of Didier Drogba.

    But the more pressing issue with this article is the fact that a Real Madrid fan is complaining about racism in the Premier League, when La Liga is plagued with embarassing incidents involving black players being subjected to monkey chants and other racist abuse. Need I even mention Luis Aragones (former manager of the Spanish national team) and his “black shit” comment about Thierry Henry?

  • Gabe Lezra

    The idea of this article wasn’t to highlight racism in football, but rather to expose the dichotomy that exists in the English media. They treat English-born and bread players like Gods, and foreign players like greasy cheaters. I don’t intend to defend Cristiano, though I could, but rather I want to expose this absurd criticism for what it really is: anti-foreign racism.

    Cristiano Ronaldo is, like it or not, a great player–even when he was on Man U I know you acknowledged that. The point is that he, and other foreign EPL players have been victimized by the English press.

    No doubt racism exists in Spain (no shit! Just look at some of the recent controversies involving bananas being thrown at black players), but the point of my column was to address racism inherent in the English media, which, I would argue, does not exist in the Spanish media (a controversial statement, I know).

    PS. I love you, Teddy.

  • teddy!

    Point taken! A magnificent talent, to be sure. Still a douche. Love you too, man.

  • Dina

    I agree! The English are very racist and self righteous. Im from Madeira and live in England and I can say first hand the majority are very racist. Great Article! Forca Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Anonymous

    enlgish hypocrits smear others and potray themselves as saints truly sickening.

  • Anonymous

    This isn’t racism. That would imply that people are out to get CR9 because of his race when in fact you are saying they are out to get him because of his nationality. Your point otherwise is well taken.

  • Gabe Lezrao

    Just a quick response: I was equating racism with anti foreign sentiment because in a lot of cases they are the same, or at least have similar effects. The real problem i was trying to highlight was the nationalistic, anti-foreign racism inherent in the english media. Race plays the same role that nationality does in that it “otherizes” the foreigner (especially the dark skinned ones).
    Just athought

  • cristiano ronaldo

    hay.i am ali reza sarbaz.