Wayne Rooney sat in front of dozens of media people, cameras clacking, microphone bristling, keyboards tapping, and set the record straight regarding the penalty he won against Arsenal last Saturday, saying:
I have never intentionally dived. There have been times when I have tried to stay on my feet and tried to get the shot off rather than going down. I don’t think it is fair for players to dive and cheat the other team.
These things have happened for years and I am sure many big games have been decided by the wrong decisions. You can only bank on the referee making the right decision and giving the right punishment. It is important the game is played honestly.
Not one coach is proud of the fact that they have players who simulate to get decisions. Coaches can’t be proud if they have won the game that way. I certainly wouldn’t be.
We all agreed that education is the best way forward, from youth teams through to first team players. We all have a responsibility, particularly the players of today, on how it impacts on young people.
And so it’s settled, Wayne Rooney has never dived because he’s a fair player and he would never cheat to win a game. Moreover, Sir Alex Ferguson would never want to win a game because of a dive and tries to educate his players about the evils of diving. Which raises just one question for me: do they both suffer from cognitive dissonance or is it a case of having over-sized brass balls? I mean, Rooney and Fergie have both publicly apologized for Rooney’s diving, so which is it, is he the kind of guy who needs to apologize for diving, or is he an honest player who just dove that once?
Wayne Rooney versus Almunia — watch his left leg, he’s going to ground before he kicks the ball into the Stretford End:
Rooney versus Arsenal again. This “penalty” ended Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run. How is this different than what Eboue did against United when he anticipated contact from Evra? Oh wait, it happens in the penalty area and Rooney is awarded a penalty:
Rooney versus Tottenham, here he gets a yellow card for simulation, which proves he’s a diver, right?
This is as close as you are going to get to direct evidence that someone is intentionally trying to deceive the referee into giving a penalty. Given the fact that he felt the contact, then when he had no chance of getting to the ball flopped to the ground seconds after the contact, this, for me, is on the magnitude of Dida’s playacting and Rivaldo grabbing his face. Note that the ref isn’t interested in the dive, note that Fergie appeals for the penalty (they were losing at that point) and then note Rooney’s hotheaded tackle on Christopher Samba after which he is STILL complaining that he deserved a penalty:
Wayne Rooney versus Chelsea. Here he seems to roll around on the ground simulating injury and getting Bosingwa a yellow card, note the lack of contact on the reverse angle:
There are others, I’m sure. I only spent about an hour combing through YouTube to come up with this list. Pretty damning evidence, as far as I’m concerned, and it makes you wonder how they could get up in front of the press and say with a straight face “I have never intentionally dived.”