Messi penalty: was Barcelona routine disrespectful? Video

Argentine causes controversy with pass to Suarez as Barcelona thrash Celta Vigo


An audacious penalty routine from Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez against Celta Vigo has caused uproar and accusations of arrogance and disrespect from the Catalan team.

The incident came in the 81st minute of the match, which Barca eventually won 6-1. Messi lined up the spot kick after being fouled in the box and it appeared his 300th La Liga goal was beckoning.

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However, rather than shooting from the spot, the Argentine rolled the ball to his right for an onrushing Suarez to fire home.

It was reminiscent of Arsenal's botched attempt to pull off the same trick in 2005, when Robert Pires and Thierry Henry made a hash of the move, and similar to a goal scored by former Barcelona favourite Johan Cruyff in the 1980s.

On that occasion, the Dutchman passed the ball to Jesper Olsen, who drew the keeper before passing it back to Cruyff to finish.

Many saw it as a tribute to the player, who is battling lung cancer.

Spanish commentator Alfredo Relano, writing for newspaper AS, calls the routine "glorious". It was, he says, the "icing on the cake in a contest that yet again elevated football to another level of elegance... A moment in keeping with the Barca ethos.

"Even though Cruyff scored that goal for Ajax back in '82, the Dutch master's vision and style runs through the Barcelona DNA," he adds.

It was a goal that "will be remembered for ever, replayed constantly", says Sid Lowe of The Guardian, but it has also provoked a debate over Barcelona's approach.

Barcelona manager Jose Enrique admitted he was not surprised by the furore. "It's a legal play - some will like it, some won't," he said after the match. "It will generate a lot of debate."

He added that Barcelona were interested in entertaining the crowd as well as winning.

Not everyone agrees. "It is not the first time Barca have been accused of arrogance and the penalty can be framed as part of a wider discussion over whether the Catalan giants take things too far in their desire to win in style," says the BBC. "Neymar, in particular, has regularly been accused of using his extravagant skills to embarrass or even humiliate his opponents."

It added: "Neymar claimed Messi's pass had been meant for him, but it was probably fortunate for both the Brazilian and Barcelona that Suarez ended up scoring, because the 'disrespect' line would have been given a much sharper edge if Neymar had been the perpetrator."

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