The ‘Messi penalty’ and the five fails

That ‘Messi penalty’, where Luis Suárez was the actual scorer, is still doing the rounds but on Wednesday night in Gijon we saw the Uruguyan unable to negotiate a goal from the spot. The reverberations of the ‘Messi penalty' is, for me, easily noticeable by the visitors to AS.com that have flocked to see its different versions: videos, photos, statements, daily columns, opinions, Roncero allegations… Put these formats all together and it is the event that has roused more visits to our website than ever before. Massive volumes here in Spain, but also in America and throughout the world, where we share our news translated into English.

'Messi's penalty'. So it will be known, even if he’s not the one that dispatched the ball into the net. And it's funny: for all the things Messi can do with the ball - at times truly magical – the only one that you or I may dare to try would be this – a gentle caress of the ball to roll it just a few metres to the right. It was possibly the most rudimentary kick of his career. In saying this, as we now know, things did not go as was originally planned. Neymar was the targeted recipient of the deft pass (perhaps with an agreement to pass it back), but Luis Suárez’s thirst for goals got the better of him. Notably both he and Neymar had edged prematurely into the area.

So, a simple pass, a revised plan, an unconventional goal. Anyone could explain that. But no. What counts is the magic, the surprise, that one footballing creature that occasionally appears and lets us savour it like children. More than this, the central figure of Messi is the adult that continues to play like a child. There are many penalties, Barça have had twelve this season so far, five of which have been missed, and all with orthodox shots. Among all those we have this special one, one that surprised and delighted us and allows us conclude, once again, that football is an unquenchable fantasy.