During FC Barcelona’s narrow victory over Athletico Bilbao in their first match of the season, Lionel Messi’s low effort from the penalty spot was saved by Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz. Luiz Suarez however, scored a stunning volley in the 54th minute which was enough to separate the two sides. The Uruguayan’s goal saved Messi’s blushes to ensure the Catalan club would take all three points.
Messi was denied by Iraizoz, who is the second goalkeeper after Diego Alves to save penalties from Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo penalties in all competitions. This is not the first time Messi has failed to convert from the spot.
Remember Joe Hart saving his penalty kick in the Champions League tie against Manchester City? But the penalty miss did not prove to be costly at the end of the second leg.
Messi’s latest penalty miss against Bilbao has raised questions on his ability to convert from the spot which is one aspect of his game he needs to improve. Another instance of Messi’s failure from the penalty spot was against Athletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup final back in 2013. Messi’s badly taken shot had hit the woodwork of Thibaut Courtois’ goal and Diego Godin had cleared the ball from the rebound.
Ronaldo is a better penalty taker than Messi
Ronaldo, who is nicknamed ‘Penaldo’ by Messi fans, has come under a lot of criticism for racking up most of his goals in his incredible goalscoring tally from the penalty spot. Nevertheless, the stats clearly show the Portuguese winger has a better penalty conversion rate than Messi.
When you take a look at the comparison of Messi and Ronaldo’s penalty record for their respective clubs in all competitions, it is easy to see why he is given the responsibility of taking penalties.
|Penalties Taken||Penalties Scored||Penalties Missed||Success Percentage|
Ronaldo has so much confidence when stepping up to the penalty spot and usually goes with power as his weapon of choice. Both are incredible players of this generation and there is little to separate the two on an individual level. The two are always the frontrunners for the top scorer in La Liga and UEFA Champions League.
But when it comes to converting penalties, a player of Messi’s calibre should not be missing so many chances from the spot.