“He’s a bit like our Messi” – Rafael van der Vaart makes interesting claim about Netherlands star
Former Real Madrid playmaker Rafael van der Vaart has compared Memphis Depay's spot-kick situation with the Netherlands to that of Lionel Messi.
The Oranje got their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign off to a nightmare start with a 4-0 loss against France on 24 March. Depay failed to score a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time after his tame spot-kick was easily saved by Mike Maignan.
The Atletico Madrid forward also missed the chance to score on the rebound from Maignan's after attempting an audacious finish. After the game, Van der Vaart, who played for the Netherlands from 2001 to 2013, told NOS, via Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football-Espana):
"Of course he misses penalties, but it’s sad there’s no one else willing to take them. I think the same with Messi. He’s the best player of all time, but he also misses lots of penalties. He takes them every time, but no one says: ‘Let me take it.’"
Van der Vaart added:
"I don’t compare Memphis with Messi, but he’s a bit like our Messi. It’s true, he had a bad game against France, but he is still our best player. If it had been Dirk Kuyt, he would have received very different comments in the Netherlands. When he plays badly, he immediately takes a beating, the first one to be blamed is Memphis."
Depay, 29, is second on the list of the Netherlands' all-time goal-scorers with 43 strikes to his name in 87 appearances. Only the retired Robin van Persie (50) has more.
Comparing Memphis Depay and Lionel Messi's record from the penalty spot
Rafael van der Vaart's aforementioned comments about Memphis Depay's situation from the penalty spot being the same as Lionel Messi's could be considered fairly accurate.
The former has missed 11 of the 43 penalties he has taken in regulation time throughout his career with a conversion rate of 74.41%. Messi, meanwhile, has scored 109 penalties for club and country while missing on 31 occasions, with an accuracy of 77.86% from the spot.
One of the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) playmaker's most notable misses from 12 yards out came in the 2016 Copa America Centenario final against Chile. He missed his team's first spot-kick as they lost 4-2 on penalties (0-0 A.E.T).
The Argentine playmaker finally won the Copa America trophy in 2021 when La Albiceleste beat Brazil 1-0 in the final. He scored four penalties in regulation time during the 2022 FIFA World Cup to help his team win the title.
The 35-year-old was also on target in the shootout when his team beat the Netherlands on penalties in the quarterfinal (2-2 A.E.T) in Qatar.
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