5 times Lionel Messi gave his penalty to teammates

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Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann
Shambhu Ajith

Lionel Messi has proved multiple times that he is one of the most unselfish players in the game.

After scoring just 10 goals and providing one assist in the first 18 games of the season, Lionel Messi has well and truly bounced back. Since the turn of the year, the Argentine has been a different beast and his contributions have been critical to Barcelona fighting their way back into the La Liga title race.

Lionel Messi has 33 goals and 11 assists to his name across all competitions this term for the Catalans. The kicker though is that he could have had even more had he been a bit more selfish. But Lionel Messi has always put the team ahead of him and Barcelona have reaped the benefits of it.

Without further ado, let's take a look at five times Lionel Messi gave his penalty to teammates.

#5 Lionel Messi gives last-minute penalty to Antoine Griezmann

In the latest of his grand gestures, Lionel Messi forgoed a chance to add yet another hat-trick to his kitty as he gave off a 93rd penalty penalty to Antoine Griezmann. Lionel Messi produced a dominant display against Getafe and bagged a brace as the Catalans ran to a 5-2 win.

Antoine Griezmann played well but had missed a few chances to get his name on the scoresheet. As Barcelona won a penalty in the 93rd minute, Lionel Messi, the designated spot-kick taker, handed the ball to Antoine Griezmann as he knew just how much a goal would help the Frenchman's confidence.

Messi could have easily chosen to take the spot-kick himself and add to his tally of hat-tricks. But he knows that Barcelona stand to benefit from having their frontmen playing with belief and confidence and Messi chose to stand back and let Griezmann have his moment.

#4 Lionel Messi gives penalty to Philippe Coutinho vs Sevilla

Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi
Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi

After impressing in his first half-season at Barcelona, Coutinho's form dipped greatly in his second campaign and he cut a frustrated figure in the Barcelona midfield.

In Barcelona's Copa Del Rey quarter-final match-up against Sevilla in January 2019, Lionel Messi produced a selfless gesture to boost the Brazilian's confidence.

After Barcelona won a penalty, Messi asked Coutinho to go take it in his place. He made no mistake from the spot to put Barcelona 1-0 up and then went on to add another goal as Barcelona won the game 6-1.

#3 Lionel Messi gives Zlatan the penalty against Real Zaragoza

Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry
Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thierry Henry

Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived to join Lionel Messi in Barcelona's attack amid huge fanfare. The Catalans had just won the treble in the season prior and Zlatan had enjoyed a prolific spell with AC Milan. However, the Swede did not last very long at Barcelona owing to a number of reasons, including having constant run-ins with Pep Guardiola and being played out of position.

Zlatan's struggles were exemplified in Barcelona's trip to take on Real Zaragoza in March 2010. Zlatan and Messi started out as forwards and the latter was in sublime form and scored a brilliant hat-trick while the Swede kept missing chance after chance.

Real Zaragoza were clawing their way back into the game after scoring two goals in the second half. However, Barcelona won a penalty while the home side were desperately looking for an equalizer.

Lionel Messi was the obvious choice to take the spot-kick. But he chose to hand the ball to Zlatan Ibrahimovic who had endured a tough night. Given the night that he had had, many wouldn't have trusted him to score from the spot but Messi did.

Zlatan converted from the spot to add cushion to Barcelona's lead and it proved how much of a team player Messi is.

#2 Lionel Messi gives up hat-trick and gives penalty to Luis Suarez vs Huesca

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez enjoyed a great bond and it came as no surprise when the former expressed his disgust at how his friend was shown the exit door at the club after last season. The Argentinian and the Uruguayan shared extraordinary chemistry on the pitch and Barcelona have benefitted greatly from it.

In the 2018-19 season, Barcelona thumped newcomers SD Huesca 8-2. Even though Suarez had got on the scoresheet, he had been running low on confidence. In the dying embers of the game with the result beyond doubt, Suarez won a penalty.

Messi could have sealed his 31st career hat-trick but he chose to give the ball to Luis Suarez because his strike-partner simply needed it more.

#1 Lionel Messi gives penalty to Neymar vs Cordoba

Cordoba CF v Barcelona FC - La Liga
Cordoba CF v Barcelona FC - La Liga

In the 2014-15 season when Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were playing at the peak of their powers, there was no predicting who was going to win the Pichichi trophy awarded to the top goalscorer in a La Liga season.

In May, Barcelona took on Cordoba and Lionel Messi bagged a brace to land on 40 goals while Cristiano Ronaldo was on 39.

Barcelona registered a resounding 8-0 win over Cordoba and Messi could have completed his hat-trick and pulled away in the race for the Pichichi but he chose to give the ball to Neymar who was not having a great day till then.

Recounting the incident, Neymar said:

"It's a detail I will never forget. He could have scored a hat-trick, but he left the penalty to me. It left me without words. I learn a lot from him, both on and off the pitch."
Edited by Shambhu Ajith
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