Lionel Messi news: Messi's insane 'Panenka' free-kick deemed an own-goal by Spanish paper Marca; a review to settle the controversy set to take place
What's the story?
Lionel Messi broke the internet last Saturday when he scored an incredible 'Panenka' free-kick against local rivals Espanyol in the Catalan derby in their LaLiga fixture. But, Spanish newspaper Marca counted that strike as an own goal by visitor's captain Victor Sanchez.
Well, why does it matter? Most importantly, European Sports Media (ESM), the company which gives out the European Golden Shoe award considers Marca's figures for their calculations, so this one goal could prove crucial in the later stages of the season when the race for the award heats up.
Also, the opinion of the Spanish media outlet influences the 'Pichichi' award as well, thus, a final decision on who gets the credit for the goal needs to be taken soon.
In case you didn't know...
Marca have a record of crediting goals as per their understanding irrespective of the referee's decision. Similar instances have taken place on three occasions previously when they had to review the goal.
It happened for the first time in the 1993-94 season when Hugo Sanchez was credited with a goal in Rayo Vallecano vs. Tenerife.
The second one was in 2004-05 when Diego Forlan's goal went in with the help of his teammate Guayre in Villarreal vs. Atletico Madrid.
Lastly, Antonio Griezmann's goal in a Real Sociedad vs. Elche fixture in 2013-14 campaign was deemed an own goal after coming off Damian Suarez.
The heart of the matter...
Marca's stats are used in determining both - the European Golden Shoe rankings and the Spanish top scorer's rankings, which makes it crucial to have a definitive answer as to who gets the credit for each goal scored.
The goal that is currently under review here is the 71st minute opener that the Argentine scored in Barcelona's win over Espanyol. Definitely, the ball went into the goal after glancing over Victor Sanchez's head. But what is being contested here is whether Diego Lopez would have been able to reach and clear the ball.
If so, Marca's decision of considering it an own goal is right. If not, they should rightfully credit the 31-year-old for a wonderful strike.
An official statement on the paper's website claims that the goal will be reviewed and the controversy will be put to an end soon. The statement read:
"The editorial office of this newspaper has decided, as a result of the doubts which have arisen, to profoundly review through an internal committee the goal in order to take a final and definitive decision. Juan Ignacio Gallardo (the head) will contact the ESM to inform them of their final decision. And that decision will affect both the Pichichi and the Golden Shoe."
Lionel Messi leads the European Shoe race for now with 30 goals (free-kick not included), but PSG's Kylian Mbappe remains hot on his trails, with a goal-scoring spree in the Ligue 1 this campaign.