There has been a lot written about the penalty by Barcelona in their 6-1 win against Celta Vigo at the weekend, where Lionel Messi simply passed the ball for Luis Suarez to stride on to and net his hat-trick. It’s caused all manner of furore, from both sides of the debate, so let’s lay out the land.
With the home side winning 3-1 and cruising, many are saying that to score a penalty like that is disrespectful. Others are saying that it’s adding to the entertainment of football, showman being showman and it’s not against the rules to do it.
In an essence, both sides are right, mainly because you have to take all angles into context.
Let’s start with the obvious before the debate, the penalty is an arrogant gesture. Whether you love it or hate it, you aren’t wrong if you are either way inclined, you have to have bundles of confidence in it to perform it as it looks awful to miss it.
On the side of those who find it disrespectful, it’s not hard to see why. If that was against the team you loved, against a side with a vast amount of resources and talent, to add that kind of penalty to an already strong position is a little bit of a slap in the face.
It’s very difficult for the goalkeeper to stop, with many deciding a way to dive rather than worrying about rushing down a shot. Would it happen if they were drawing or losing? It’s highly unlikely and that’s why the accusations started.
On the side of it being fun, it is quite exiting for someone to do something different. It was a little bit of showmanship and craft, that people love, and it almost personified the players involved with the play.
Messi was being unselfish, even though he could score his 300th La Liga goal to set up Luis Suarez for his hat-trick. Their intricate passing play, along with Neymar, has been a highlight of the Camp Nou this season and will likely be for seasons to come.
There was no outcry from Celta, who accepted it, and it’s a totally viable way of taking a penalty. Like I mentioned previously, if you can pull it off it will tend to yield better results when employed as goalkeepers tend to make a move during a forwards run up to the kick.
The only problem I really personally have with it is the “entertainment” factor and many acting like it was some beautiful piece of genius. It was alright, I’ve seen it before and to me, I just wasn’t overly bothered about it. Then again I’m not really bothered about the classy chipped penalty, they are much like layups to a slam dunk, it’s just not as impressive as they hope for it to be.
In the end, the real annoying thing about this debate will be that it will drag on, because more people will copy it in this new social world. Look at the Panenka penalty, look at the amount of sportsman celebrating with a dab, this will also catch on like a house on fire.
So yeah, get ready for more of this. If only we hadn’t reacted at all.