There have been and currently are many players who have been branded ‘cheats’ in the Premier League, some deservedly more than others. There are those cheats who seem to get away with it most of the time and those who are singled out and vilified by opposition fans.
So what constitutes cheating in football? In my opinion the title of ‘cheat’ should go to those players who dive, deliberately aim to get an opposing player sent off, deliberately set out to injure a fellow player or feign injury.
So bearing that in mind here and in no particular order are my Top 5 Premier League cheats, past and present:
Robert Pires (former Arsenal and Aston Villa midfielder) – The hugely talented Frenchman used to wow the crowd at the old Highbury with some wonderful skills and a countless number of goals. But Pires created a reputation for himself as a diver and there were many examples of this that he would not too proud to watch back today.
Cristiano Ronaldo (former Manchester United winger) – The Portuguese international was one of the greatest players to ever ply his trade in the Premier League. His last two seasons at Old Trafford were sensational and he won every possible trophy with the club. But in his early years at the club he also had a reputation that preceded him, as something of a diver. The winger would constantly throw himself to the ground at any opportunity in an attempt to con the referee into awarding him a free-kick or penalty. But to be fair to Ronaldo, this is something which he has largely eradicated from his game nowadays.
Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) – Lee Cattermole has never made headlines for his footballing ability, instead he seems to make headlines for the wrong reasons. A player who isn’t short of yellow and red cards in his career, Cattermole has created a reputation for himself as a bit of a dirty player. You cannot fault his commitment or passion, but some of the tackles he goes in for do not help brighten his reputation and when he recklessly lunges in for unnecessary tackles, it makes you wonder whether it crosses his mind to injure a fellow player.
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United) – Many people will be surprised by this inclusion but I have seen Vidic get away with several acts of cheating over the years. Due to his lack of pace the Serbian defender tends to do a lot of shirt pulling, some of which he gets away with. He has been caught out by some referees but the majority of Premier League refs have been reluctant to punish him for it.
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) – The Uruguayan striker is beginning to create a name for himself in the Premier League as a fantastic striker, but also as a bit of a cheat. He has lit up the league with some wonderful goals and individual bits of skill, but he is now also making headlines for the wrong reasons. Controversy seems to follow Suarez around quite a bit, his famous handball on the line for Uruguay in their World Cup match with Ghana will never be forgotten, but let’s be fair, who wouldn’t have done that for their country?
This season he has been criticised for contributing to Jack Rodwell’s harsh sending off in the Merseyside derby and he has now been accused of racism by Patrice Evra. Something tells me we’ll be hearing a lot more about Suarez this season, the good, the bad and the ugly side of him.