SUNDERLAND, England (AP) — Tottenham winger Gareth Bale was forced to defend himself after being given a yellow card for diving for the third time this season, saying referees are booking him for "no reason."
The pacy Wales international has picked up a reputation for being a diver and he was cautioned for going to ground too easily in Tottenham's 2-1 win over Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
"I've been clipped and booked for no reason again," Bale said. "There's nothing I can do, the referees need to look a bit closer. People think I'm diving when there's contact."
Footage showed Sunderland defender Craig Gardner put his arm across Bale, whose knees buckled as he fell theatrically in the penalty area in the 81st minute.
It's the fifth time Bale has been booked for diving over the past two seasons — more than any other player in the league — and he was booed off by Sunderland fans when substituted just before the final whistle.
"If there's contact, what do you want me to do — hit my head on the floor?" Bale said. "I have to put my hands down to protect myself. If people kick me, I'm going to go down. It doesn't bother me, people keep saying I'm diving but it doesn't bother me whatsoever."