European soccer players are often tripping over themselves and any potential impediment in an attempt to goad referees or opponents into overreaction or, ideally, the receipt of a penalty. It’s an ugly part of the game, but a part of the game nontheless. Still, no dives that we have ever seen can compare with the attempt made by Valencia youth teamer David Pascual.
That’s Pascual in the clip above with Spain’s Valencia facing off against Scottish club Celtic in the UEFA Youth League competition. After Pascual, a right back, was set loose by an incisive ball ahead from a teammate, he began to trip and sent himself full flow forward, legs akimbo as if he was tripped up by a chasing Celtic defender.
He wasn’t. In fact, there wasn’t a defender within three feet of Pascual. Still, he went down as if caught in a nasty challenge and tackle. It’s a completely ridiculous move, made only more ridiculous by the fact that the referees for the match actually agreed with Pascual and rewarded his Oscar-winning cameo with a free kick.
It’s hard to even come up with a directly comparable flop, perhaps because there may not be on. The sadder implication of Pascual’s dive is that he has developed the habit (and skill in execution) at such a young age.