Did anybody see Lionel Messi’s “penalty” for Barcelona the other night?
If you missed it, he did something that almost broke the internet, such was the social media interest in the situation.
Basically Luis Enrique’s side were awarded a spot kick whilst leading 3-1 against Celta Vigo at the Nou Camp.
Messi was the man charged to take it, and had the chance to net his 300th goal in La Liga.
However, instead of slapping the ball past Sergio Alvarez to extend the host’s advantage, he decided to gently prod the ball to his right, allowing the on-running Luis Suarez to tap home and complete his hat-trick.
Barcelona eventually romped to a 6-1 victory, but naturally the spot kick was the main talking point of the game.
I am sure you will make your own mind up on the incident, and if you have not seen it yet, just type “Lionel Messi penalty” into Google and choose from one of the many videos available.
Personally, I thought it was poor form. Of course, it is not against the rules, but is it bad sportsmanship? I reckon so.
Having a penalty is supposed to be an advantage. On 99.9% of occasions, shooting is all that goes through the taker’s mind.
Nobody else in the stadium is expecting anything different and if the ‘keeper moved the goalposts by coming off his line, the referee would order the kick to be retaken.
So why should Messi be allowed to do something like that, where he is passing the buck and completely fooling whoever is in net?
Is he not disrespecting Alvarez and the opposition? Or is it pure genius and near arrogance to do such a thing?
Another point I would make is on playing the situation. If Messi and his team had not been easing to victory, would he have still taken the decision.
For example; imagine Barca were playing in the Champions League final. Seconds remain, and they trail 1-0. The chance of another European crown is drifting further away.
Suddenly, Neymar goes down in the box and a penalty is awarded.
Would Messi have clipped the ball to Suarez then, or would he have tried his upmost to smash the ball home, level the game and take the match into extra time? I am pretty certain it would be the latter.
Surely he is just rubbing the opposition’s noses in it by effectively saying “we are home and dry here, you can’t catch us, so look what we can do.”
I cannot think of a similar situation in sport where that would have been allowed. There is bending the rules and there is taking the mick – and I know what I think Messi and Suarez did.