The player tumbles to the ground, writhing around as if he has been mortally wounded. Television replays, however, show that his opponent has made no contact at all.
It's an ever-increasing sight on football grounds around the world, and -- in the English Premier League, at least -- it's becoming an increasingly emotive issue.
Santi Cazorla was labeled a "con artist" after his theatricals earned Arsenal a match-turning penalty kick in a game against West Brom on Saturday.
Earlier this season, Liverpool's Luis Suarez was the subject of countless negative headlines as he went to ground in the penalty area, and Tottenham's Gareth Bale has been booked four times for diving -- double that of any other EPL player.
The scourge of trying to win free-kicks, and especially penalties, in such a way has long been a thorn in football's side, with fans often outraged by what they see as sporting fraud. CNN's very own Arsenal fanatic Piers Morgan took to Twitter to decry Cazorla's actions, saying he was "ashamed to see an Arsenal player cheat so badly."
One man who has also never been short of opinions on the subject of cheating is former World Anti-Doping Agency chairman Dick Pound.
The Canadian lawyer presided over WADA from its inception in 1999 until 2007, a year when cycling's governing body tried to sue him for critical comments about its former chief Hein Verbruggen.
Pound had earned the wrath of Union Cycliste Internationale for saying it could do more to target doping, but his words were comprehensively borne out years later by the U.S. Anti Doping Agency's report into Lance Armstrong, in which everyday items such as butter (apparently short-hand for the hormone EPO) and olive oil (the vehicle for absorbing testosterone) took on very different meanings.
Pound believes there are five main reasons why athletes resort to performance-enhancing drugs -- considered by most sports fans to be the worst form of cheating.
"There are reasons but then there are also excuses," he told CNN.
"1. A desire to win at all costs -- even if that means lying.
2. For financial reasons -- with professionals trying to extend a career.
3. National pressures -- as exemplified by the old East German system.
4. Individual pressure from coaches -- who get paid better if they coach winners, and that can apply for administrations too.
5. Finally, they dope because they believe they will not get caught -- they believe they are invincible."
On the latter point, the sad truth is that many do successfully beat the drug testers, as did Armstrong and his former U.S. Postal teammate George Hincapie, who confessed all in a plea bargain in October.
'Leveling the playing field'
"Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them," said Hincapie, who decided to end his 18-year top-level career.
His account tallies with the view of Ellis Cashmore, a professor of culture, media and sport at Staffordshire University in England who has conducted research into the use of drugs in sport.
"I don't think there's a conscious motivation when people dope to gain an unfair advantage. My strong belief is that they are trying to level the playing field, knowing that there are so many others doping that they will be disadvantaged if they don't," says Cashmore, whose low opinion of drug testers and high hopes for healthier athletes makes him that rarity -- a public advocate for the use of drugs in sports.
"I won't divulge names but one sprinter, who doped with impunity, told me: 'For several years, I was coming fourth or fifth despite training as hard as I could. Yet I knew that the people beating me weren't training as hard nor did they have the same athletic capacity.' "
So the sprinter doped -- with the "leveling the playing field" argument used by many sportsmen, including Ben Johnson's coach Charlie Francis, who said the disgraced Canadian was left with no alternative given the riddled nature of athletics at the time he was winning, then losing, the 1988 Olympic 100 meters final.
The plunge into drugs is also tempting because it tends to lead to ever-increasing fortunes, with better performances leading to better results and hence greater earnings.
"If you use drugs, it's because you want a shortcut -- a shortcut to everything," says South African athlete Hezekiel Sepeng, a silver medalist at the 1996 Olympics whose career ended in controversy when he tested positive for an anabolic steroid.
"Once you start winning, sponsors will be attracted and then money will come. It is an easy way to make money. Some athletes will dope for four to five years without being caught and will make a lot of money in that time," the former 800m specialist, now 38, told CNN.