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The cheating footballers cheat sheet!

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Who can forget the unedifying moment when Thierry Henry, at the time under contract to Arsenal of the English Premier League, committed that hideous handball in a 2010 World Cup qualifier? He controlled the ball with his hand to pass the ball across the goal area of the Irish keeper only for William Gallas to score with his head and, ultimately, prevent the Irish from reaching the 2010 World Cup finals?

To this day Irish football fans refer to the incident as the ‘hand of frog’. It is a fitting play on words of the appalling cheating incident, involving an infamous Argentinean dwarf, a blind referee and blurred white lines at the 1986 FIFA World Cup Finals held in Mexico. It is the incident known universally as the ‘hand of God’ and any mention is guaranteed to drive English football fans to distraction.

These are just two incidents of high profile footballers cheating their opponents, but, sadly, they are not isolated incidents. It happens in International completion as well as the domestic leagues such as the Premier League, French Ligue 1 and La Liga in Spain. Read on for a cheat sheet of shame which, if it was on the FIFA computer game, would be worth its weight in gold.

Luis Suarez

The Saurez cheat against the Ghana team in the 2010 World Cup Finals is breathtaking in its audacity. He can be seen punching the ball off the goal line behind the last defender, which prevented what would have been the winning goal It was in the last minute of extra time and the Ghana team would have gone through to the semi-finals. The resulting penalty for Ghana, which hit the bar and went over, was the last kick of extra time, the game then going to penalties which Uruguay won.

To be fair to Suarez, it was a move that any self-respecting volleyball player would be proud of. To be fair to the referee, he obviously brought his guide dog to the match, the dog probably barking to the referee to inform him of the transgression by Saurez. Unusually for football, the referee didn’t miss this cheat.

Neymar

Neymar is quite the actor and, if his football career hadn’t taken off, he would have had an excellent and successful career as a stunt man. He constantly practices to perfect his falling technique and is always joshing with his opponents. Neymar’s specialties are diving, falling over and tumbling, his tumbling more clown-like than anything else. He has cheated his way from Santos to Barcelona and now to Paris St Germain. What a fabulous career hat trick to achieve.

Rivaldo

The 2002 World Cup was in full swing and Brazil was playing against Turkey. Rivaldo was at the corner flag, waiting for the ball to be passed over to him so he could take the corner kick. One of the Turkish players ‘passed’ the ball to Rivaldo, the ball hitting him on the knee. Rivaldo went down clutching his face as if he had just been poleaxed by an uppercut from Mike Tyson.

The poor old Turkish player saw red – literally. Sent off by the referee for violent conduct, the Turkish player must have wondered if the linesman, standing right next to Rivaldo when the incident took place, was wearing a Brazil shirt beneath his black top. 

These are some of my ‘favourite’ cheats from the footballers’ cheat sheet. Perhaps you have some favourites I haven’t mentioned, but I do know one thing – I am sure ‘your’ cheats are all equally devilish and we would probably all like to exact our revenge on all those cheats who spoil the game we love.

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