There's no doubt Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo often get physically abused by inferior opponents, but neither of them are even close to being the most fouled player in Europe this season. According to sports data company Opta, that painful honor goes to Bologna midfielder Alessandro Diamanti.
As the graphic above from Sky Italia shows, Diamanti has been fouled 123 times this season, while Messi and Ronaldo have been fouled 72 times and 70 times, respectively. They're not even in the top five. Wolfsburg's Diego is the only other player to top the century mark, while 36-year-old Francesco Totti comes fourth, which just makes everything he can still do all the more impressive.
The 29-year-old Diamanti, who played a season with West Ham, has been a consistently bright performer in Serie A and made three appearances off the bench for Italy at Euro 2012. And his opponents apparently don't like him very much.
Of course, this stat only counts fouls that are called and probably includes a fair bit of simulation while excluding all those times Ronaldo and Messi get hacked and stay on their feet that go into fawning YouTube compilations.
Dream Chasers from Yahoo! Sports:
• Baylor basketball star Brittney Griner at ease with coming out
• Byron Scott is out as coach of the Cavaliers
• Broncos, Ravens to kick off NFL's 2013 regular season
- Sports & Recreation
- Lionel Messi
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Alessandro Diamanti