Was Lionel Messi’s penalty disrespectful?
This is the question that’s currently being debated by football fans across the world after the Barcelona star passed his spot-kick to Luis Suarez, who converted past Celta Vigo goalkeeper Sergio Álvarez, during Sunday evening’s 6-1 victory at Camp Nou.
Fans are divided over whether the penalty was unsportsmanlike or not - but one man who wasn’t impressed, perhaps unsurprisingly, was Celta’s captain Hugo Mallo.
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The Spanish defender was seen approaching Messi while Barcelona were celebrating Suarez’s goal - he obviously wasn’t happy - and Spanish newspaper Marca have revealed what he told the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
In fairness to Mallo, he was civil to Messi and simply told Barcelona’s No. 10: "Leo, that was uncalled for".
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The report also claims witnesses said Mallo told Messi he wouldn’t have dared to take the penalty in that way had the scores been level. Barcelona were 3-1 up at the time with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
To prevent Messi getting even more of an earful from the 24-year-old, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba intervened and had a few words with the frustrated Mallo.
But, as Marca suggest, Messi was probably a little fortunate that Iago Aspas and Fabián Orellana - two of Celta’s more fiery characters - were suspended for the match.
Messi did not break any rules
Ultimately, Messi did not break any rules and it was a moment that football fans will remember for a long time - just like the original Johan Cruyff penalty in 1982.
Given that Messi’s success rate from the spot is pretty sketchy, perhaps the Argentina international felt this was the best way to help his team score their fourth goal of the afternoon.
Seriously, though, fans go to football matches to be entertained and this was patently entertaining.
Messi and Suarez gave those inside the Camp Nou a memory they’ll never forget and, who knows, perhaps more players will begin to take penalties like this in the future.
Until FIFA change the rule and make it clear that the penalty taker must take a direct shot at goal, footballers are well within their rights to try something different if they see fit to do so.
Messi's penalty surprised Carlo Ancelotti
Commenting on the penalty, former Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti told Goal: “I was really surprised. It is a rule, and if you respect the rules, you can do what you want.
“If you do this in Spain, it’s OK, but if you do it in Italy, maybe you’ll have more problems. But if you respect the rules, everything is possible.”
Was Lionel Messi being disrespectful with his penalty? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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