When Lionel Messi decided he would pass, rather than shoot, from the penalty spot against Celta Vigo earlier this month, he must have made absolutely sure that Gerard Pique was nowhere near the edge of the box.
Why? Because the Barcelona defender attempted this type of penalty in an indoor match back in 2012 and got it horribly wrong.
Fortunately, it didn’t matter for Barcelona. Pique tried the pass penalty - made famous by Johan Cruyff in 1982 and replicated by Messi this month - in an uncompetitive indoor match between two Barcelona teams, one managed by Pep Guardiola and the other by his successor at the Camp Nou, Tito Vilanova.
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Pique demonstrated that it’s harder to score a penalty in this unorthodox way, compared to the conventional method of just shooting from 12 yards.
The World Cup winner put a little too much weight on the pass, forcing his teammate to stretch in order to return the ball. Pique still should have buried the chance but somehow put it wide with his left foot.
Video: Pique's attempt at the pass penalty
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Pique's reaction said it all
Pique ended up with his head in his hands in the back of the net, before emerging with a big smile on his face.
Guardiola looked bemused by the incident, while Villanova - who tragically passed away in 2014 - was left sporting a wry smile but probably told Pique never to attempt such a thing during a proper match.
Although Pique is technically gifted for a defender, he doesn’t quite possess the same natural ability as the likes of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
Even the MSN made a mistake with their penalty
But even the ‘MSN’ made a mistake with their pass penalty.
This will be forgotten as the months and years roll by, but Messi’s penalty was actually intended for Neymar rather than Suarez.
"It was for me, we had practiced it in training!" Neymar said with a smile, per ESPN, after the 6-1 win over Celta. "Leo and myself had practiced but Luis was closer and he scored it.
"Our friendship is the most important thing. It doesn't matter who scores the goals just that we win the games."
Cruyff: Messi's penalty wasn't disrespectful
Some accused Barcelona of being disrespectful with their unusual penalty - while Celta Vigo captain Hugo Mallo told Messi his spot-kick was “uncalled for” - but Cruyff believes such accusations are nonsensical.
“How is it possibly a lack of respect?” Cruyff was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “Back then [when Cruyff scored his unusual penalty] nobody thought anything of the sort. It just doesn't make sense at all.
“It's football, it's entertaining, something different. And football is just that, entertainment; it's a game.
“And that's what Messi is about, having fun and entertaining people.
“And how can it be a lack of respect when Celta played so well? The real folly is not to recognise the fact that Celta had a great game.”
Was Gerard Pique’s penalty worse than Robert Pires and Thierry Henry’s effort? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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