Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t need to say that he was irritated by Lionel Messi’s penalty against Celta Vigo last weekend, it was written all over his face during Real Madrid’s press conference on Tuesday evening.
“I know why Messi took the penalty like that and I'm not saying anything else,” the three-time Ballon d’Or winner was quoted as saying by Catalan newspaper Sport. “Think what you want.”
Soon after, while walking out for training at the Stadio Olimpico ahead of Wednesday evening’s Champions League clash against AS Roma, Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammates were filmed joking about Messi’s unorthodox spot-kick.
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Antena 3 recorded the conversation between Ronaldo, Alvaro Arbeloa, Marcelo and Keylor Navas - and Sport have handily translated it.
Scroll down to see what was said.
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Marcelo: "Cris, Arbeloa will take it"."
Cristiano: "Arbeloa will take it and then finish it."
Arbeloa: "Wait and see, I'll do it!"
Cristiano: "I'm sure Arbeloa will shoot." (simulates a slip up).
Keylor Navas: "The other way around, the other way around, Arbeloa will take it and pass to Cristiano."
Arbeloa: "That's it."
Not an easy penalty to execute
Joking aside, executing the pass penalty is probably easier said than done - just ask Thierry Henry and Robert Pires.
The penalty taker needs to get the pass spot on - if it’s over-hit or under-hit the ball could end up with the opposition - while the second player needs to time his run to perfection and then finish past the goalkeeper.
Messi's penalty was intended for Neymar
Messi and Suarez managed it against Celta but only just. It turns out the pass was actually intended for Neymar, rather than Suarez, but the Uruguayan striker stole in and produced a composed finish nevertheless.
Cristiano wants to win the Pichichi
You might be wondering why Ronaldo was perturbed by Messi’s penalty - but the answer is fairly obvious.
By passing up the opportunity to score and setting up Suarez instead, Messi allowed his Barcelona teammate to pull two goals clear of Ronaldo in the race for the Pichichi - the award handed to the top scorer in La Liga at the end of each season.
Messi, having missed two months of the season with a knee injury, is unlikely to win the coveted individual accolade and would surely prefer his close pal Suarez to win it over Ronaldo.
Tribute to Johan Cruyff?
But some believe the penalty was a tribute to the great Johan Cruyff, who is currently battling cancer.
The Dutch football legend, who is synonymous with Barcelona, executed a similar penalty for Ajax back in 1982.
Should more players attempt this type of penalty - or is it too difficult? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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