It is a commonly held belief among soccer fans that diving, or simulating a foul, has become more prevalent in recent years and that today’s athletes are not as tough as those from previous eras. While it is difficult to measure the exact frequency of diving or compare the toughness of players from different eras, there are several factors that may have contributed to these perceptions.
Firstly, modern soccer players are under more pressure to perform than ever before. The stakes are higher, with more money and prestige on the line, and the game has become more physical and fast-paced. As a result, players may feel more pressure to win at any cost, including by diving or exaggerating the impact of a foul to gain an advantage. The prevalence of social media and the 24-hour news cycle also means that incidents of diving or unsportsmanlike behavior are more widely reported and scrutinized than in the past.
Secondly, changes in the rules and regulations of the game may have encouraged diving. For example, FIFA has implemented stricter rules around physical contact and dangerous tackles in recent years, which may have made it more difficult for players to legitimately win fouls. This has led some players to exaggerate the impact of a tackle or contact in order to gain a free kick or penalty.
Thirdly, advances in sports science and technology may have made today’s athletes more prone to diving. For example, players are now able to monitor their physical performance and recovery more closely than ever before, which may make them more aware of their own vulnerabilities and more likely to exaggerate the impact of a tackle or collision. Similarly, advances in sports medicine mean that injuries are now more easily diagnosed and treated, which may have led to players becoming more cautious or risk-averse in their play.
In terms of the perception that today’s athletes are not as tough as those from previous eras, it is worth noting that this is a subjective judgment that is difficult to prove. However, it is worth noting that the game has become more physical and competitive over time, and that advances in sports science and technology may have led to players becoming more specialized and less well-rounded in their skills. Additionally, the increase in the amount of money involved in the game may have led to players becoming more risk-averse and less willing to put their bodies on the line for the team. Ultimately, the question of whether today’s athletes are less tough than those from previous eras is a matter of debate and opinion.