Video: Watch how Messi unselfishly set up Suarez for Johan Cruyff testimonial goal
Lionel Messi sparked off new volumes written in tribute to him, after he unselfishly set up Luis Suarez for a tap-in penalty. The Argentine won a penalty amidst Barcelona’s 6-1 hammering of Celta Vigo last night, with the score at 3-1. As Luis Suarez was on a hat-trick, it was a surprise to see Messi step up to take it, yet there were greater plans afoot.
Barcelona’s magician wowed the Camp Nou with a delightfully weighted pass, instead of a strike as he stepped up to take the penalty. Luis Suarez ran onto the pass and slotted it past the Celta keeper into the back of the net. The move brought memories of Barcelona’s Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, who similarly set up Ajax teammate Jesper Olsen in what had become an infamous penalty routine.
Cruyff is battling cancer, and recently described himself as being ‘2-0’ up in the fight. The tribute to the Dutch maestro may have been preplanned, as Neymar revealed that Messi had practised the routine in training beforehand, saying “We trained on this penalty routine, but for me. However, Suarez was near the ball and scored.”
There were some allegations of the penalty being ‘disrespectful’ to Celta Vigo, but those were swiftly dismissed by Celta’s manager, Eduardo Berizzo, who said “The penalty was dispatched in a different way, nothing else. The forwards of Barcelona are voracious in attack. But they play in the same was as always, and are respectful to their opponents. The penalty was within the rules. The goals hurt me more than the way they are converted.”
What makes the spotlight on Messi’s generosity shine even brighter is that the Argentine could have scored his 300th league goal, but quite literally ‘passed’ up the chance to do so, unselfishly setting up Suarez and making the footballing universe reminisce about a Dutch legend as well.