Gareth Bale under fire for 'diving'
Gareth Bale’s attempt to win a penalty during Wednesday’s 7-3 win over Sevilla has seen the winger branded a diver in Spain.
Bale had a night to remember on his first start at the Bernabeu, scoring twice and setting up goals for teammates Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo as Madrid triumphed in the frantic La Liga encounter.
However, he also courted controversy with an unfortunate attempt to win a penalty during the second half, which was ignored by referee Jose Antonio Teixeira Vitienes.
After the game, Canal Plus interviewer Ricardo Sierra asked Bale: “We have seen something which is not usual for a player who has been in the Premier League -- going down in the area with no touch from the defender. What happened?”
Bale replied: “Yeah, I was going at pace, and to be honest I felt a touch...”
Sierra interrupted Bale to insist “there was no touch”, and Bale said: “I felt something. I thought he was going to pull a leg out on me, so as usual I try and avoid the contact. But, er, it was not a penalty and we move on.”
The Wales international had developed a reputation for diving while playing for Tottenham Hotspur, and even held a meeting with referees’ representatives a year ago after repeatedly collecting bookings for simulation.
He now faces damage to his image in Madrid, too, with Marca including Bale’s ‘effort’ in an online poll to determine the most embarrassing dive of all time on Thursday.
On Friday morning, Bale was in third place, behind Neymar’s spectacular fall against Uruguay in last summer’s Confederations Cup and the infamous cheeky attempt by Chilean defender Bryan Carrasco during a South American U20 World Cup qualification match against Ecuador in February 2011.
Other infamous attempts featured in the survey included Sergio Busquets ‘peek-a-boo’ against Inter Milan in the 2010 Champions League semifinal second leg, AC Milan keeper Dida being stretchered off after a fan tapped him the shoulder at Celtic Park in a CL group game in 2007, and Brazilian midfielder Djalminha’s collapse when playing for Deportivo against Celta Vigo during the 1999-2000 season.
Marca also included a dive by Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, who owned up to diving to try to win a penalty in last Monday 1-0 Primera Division win at Getafe. An embarrassed Herrera said after that game that he had been wrong to the try to trick the referee.