Video: Messi encouraged Neymar to take penalty and he missed it
Barcelona players collectively decided to let Neymar take the penalty instead of regular penalty-taker Lionel Messi in their Copa del Rey clash against Villareal. The Catalans, playing at home, were awarded a penalty kick for a Mateo Musacchio handball.
With the home side 3-1 up, Neymar stepped up to take the penalty in place of Messi but failed to convert. Messi seemed amused and was seen smiling after the miss.
Here is another look at the same:
Barca coach Luis Enrique said, "Messi takes the penalties. Today they decided together that Neymar would take it. I guess Neymar must have asked. I have full confidence in both, but Messi is our penalty taker. Neymar is second on the list, it was a decision they made themselves."
Incidentally, it was the first time since 21st March 2010 that a Barcelona player other than Messi has taken a penalty kick while the Argentine was on the pitch. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the last man to accomplish the feat.
There have been unconfirmed reports saying Barca players decided to give Neymar a shot after circulating twitter stats showed how favourable Neymar’s stats were against Cristiano Ronaldo, barring the penalty goals.
Neymar’s record as a penalty taker, however, is far from encouraging as the Brazilian has failed to score from the spot since 14th November 2012.