Leo Messi sees his penalty strike rate drop to 77%
He's missed 21 of the 89 penalties he has taken with Barça - 23 per cent. In spite of his poor success rate from 12 yards, the Argentinean remains the team penalty taker.
Leo Messi's problems with penalties hasn't gone away. While Infallible in so many other areas to his game, from 12 yards, soemthing's amiss. On Saturday, he missed from the spot again. After converting the first penalty that Barça were awarded on 43 minutes against Valladolid, Jordi Masip, an old team mate with left Barça a couple of years ago, dived the right way and blocked the ball. It was the 21st penalty that Messi has missed out of the 89 he's taken for Barça in the conventional way - so, excluding the 'indirect' spot-kick he conjured up with Luis Suárez against Celta three years ago.
Figures have dipped
Messi has now missed 23 per cent of the penalties he has taken for Barça. It's worth noting that none of those misses have been particularly traumatic - perhaps only the one he rifled against the bar in the 2011-12 Champions League semi-final against Chelsea (or his miss for Argentina in the shoot-out of the 2016 Copa América final). Nevertheless the statistics are revealing. In the recent Copa del Rey tie against Sevilla, Messi ceded duties to Coutinho and it looked like him might do the same against Valladolid last night - seeing it was the Brazilian who won the penalty. But he didn't and missed.
Messi will continue as Barcelona's chief penalty taker because his status as the world's best player and team captain gives him that responsibility. But no one can deny that the player has a problem while his strike rate continues to drop - last year, it stood at 24.4%. At Camp Nou, where Barça delight their fans most of the time, there's trepidation every time Messi steps up to take a penalty.