Gareth Bale has rejected claims that he dives and insists the only reason that he goes to ground so often is because he needs to get out of the way of potentially career-threatening tackles.
Bale became one of the most highly-rated players in world football last year after some stunning displays for Tottenham both at home and in Europe. One of the few criticisms aimed at the speedy Welshman is that he goes to ground too easily - an accusation that surfaced most recently when he appeared to drag his trailing leg in order to win a penalty against Arsenal two weeks ago.
"If people want to say I'm diving then they can, but I'm trying to get out of the way and save myself, save my career if you like," said Bale.
"It's a bit annoying (when people say I dive) but you've got people flying in at you, you're trying to get out of the way of the challenge. If you stand there, you're going to get a whack.
"You can see why people say you're diving but I'd rather get out of the way than get hurt, that's what it is. It's football, a contact sport, things do happen and you've got to try to be clever with it. I'm more likely to try to get out of the way and not get hurt, rather than get hurt. I tend not to dive."
Despite being the victim of a number of rash challenges this season, Bale sees the treatment as a backhanded compliment to his abilities.
He added: "People want to take you down and get you out of the game and I suppose you can take it as a compliment. It's not nice but I think it's to be expected now. In a way they think that's the only way they can stop you. You get up and get on with it like the best players do and go at them again.
"You get used to it. I've got a few people sent off by doing that this year. You get up and get on with it, it's a part of the game."
Bale, meanwhile, is hopeful of being fit for the trip to Goodison Park to face Everton on Saturday after coming through Wednesday night's game despite suffering with a virus recently.
"I found it difficult in the first half but I felt stronger as the game went on," he said. "It was good to get some running into my legs and hopefully now I can kick on."