Zee Media Bureau/Jayanta Oinam
New Delhi: Diving is also an art. It`s a different matter though that it can sometimes be contested as a sporting event too. But the beautiful game of football has seen some of its finest players trying to incorporate this art in the field of play. One such player is Arjen Robben.
Considered as one of the greatest wingers of modern football, Robben has also perfected the art of diving. Latest examples of his theatrics were at full display during Bayern Munich`s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties against Arsenal. In both the matches, the Dutchman earned two penalties and have had sent off a player – Arsenal goal-keeper Wojciech Szczesny.
In the first game at the Emirates Stadium in London, Robben was checked by the onrushing Gunners goal-keeper following a chipped delivery from Toni Kroos. The subsequent over-reaction from the Bayern player, forced the referee to show a straight red-card for Szczesny and the hosts were left with 10-men against the marauding visitors from Bavaria. Though the resultant penalty, taken by David Alaba, failed to find the back of the net, the decision would only serve the visitors. After full-time whistle, the reigning champions found themselves victorious, by two goals to nil. A deserved score-line for the visitors, but the gamesmanship from one of their stars was strange, to say the least.
A week later, inside the imposing Allianz Arena, Robben continued his theatrics – this time with approval from the boisterous home crowd. Arsene Wenger`s outfit, chasing an improbable task to overturn the two-goal deficit, started to gain momentum after initial sluggishness. That`s when both the teams started to play the game at the highest level. However, Robben`s simulations were there to spoil the day. In more than a couple of times, the Dutch winger tried to fool everyone – sometimes taking a fall out of nothing, sometimes exaggerating the slightest of contacts. In fact, in the latter stages of the match, he managed to win a penalty for the home team. The conversion never happened, like in the previous leg.
The match ended 1-1, for a 3-1 aggregate win for Pep Guardiola`s side. A fair result for an ensemble of some of the brightest footballing talents available across the world. And nobody seemed to complain about the result. But Arsenal boss Wenger, like many others, who have witnessed those matches, believed that besides being a great player, Robben is also a very good diver who can get the maximum out of nothing.