When Barcelona take to the pitch, you would be wise to put your money on them coming away with a victory.
Football is often a game of fine margins, but due to Barcelona’s undeniable class, they have been known to thrash the opposition with five, six or seven goals if they come to the grounds unprepared; what would be a miracle performance for most, but just another day at the office for the Spanish side.
This was exactly the case for Gary Neville’s disgruntled Valencia a couple weeks back, who came onto the Mestalla pitch with the confidence of a side playing at their home stadium, only to leave physically and mentally traumatised after Barcelona slotted away goal after goal until the final whistle sounded at 7-0.
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And so, the Catalans are faced with what is for many sides, a nonexistent, or at least uncommon dilemma; how much is too much and when does demonstrating world-class skill risk becoming boastfulness?
This was the case during their latest matchup against Celta Vigo, with many viewers coming to question the professionalism of Barcelona’s actions in their 6-1 victory. Particularly, the controversial penalty assist by Lionel Messi, who eloquently set up Luis Suarez for a simple tap in past Sergio Alvarez, instead of scoring the penalty himself.
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This was an unusual tactic, and surely not one that would be attempted by a side who weren't already winning by a comfortable margin, but Barcelona have been known to create rare moments of footballing magic.
Undoubtedly, this was a unique display, but was this really an act of disrespect towards their opponents? When you take a look at Messi’s unselfish history, you would be inclined to think otherwise. Not only is the Argentine known for his outstanding professionalism, but also his ability to find new and exciting ways to create – and this is exactly what he was doing.
By doing this, Messi allowed Suarez to clinch his hat-trick, forgoing his own personal glory and the opportunity to net his 300th goal for the club. An act of complete and utter unselfishness that many other players would not even dream of.
In similar fashion, Messi gave up a hat trick opportunity against AS Roma in the Champions League group stage to allow Neymar to come onto the scoring sheet and boost his confidence. Messi mentors new arrivals to the club and makes sure they are given the chance to demonstrate their skill and score goals – much like Ronaldinho did for him when he had first arrived at the club.
So we can conclude that this penalty assist was not an act of arrogance, but rather one of creativity and generosity towards his fellow teammates. Just another attribute that solidifies Lionel Messi’s status as one of the greatest and most professional footballers of all time.
Do you believe Messi's assist was disrespectful?
Have your say in the comments below...