Arrogant or awesome? Probably a bit of both is the general consensus out there in football fan land, after Lionel Messi's deft pass to team-mate Luis Suarez in the La Liga match between Barcelona and mid-table plodders Celta Vigo.
Ladder-leaders and reigning champs Barcelona were 3-1 up when Argentinian superstar Messi stepped up to take a penalty. But instead of blasting the ball towards the net, he tapped the ball with his left foot a metre or so in front of him. Suarez, streaking forward, duly arrived to slam the ball low into the goal.
Here's the video. Enjoy. No matter whether you think it's cheeky or not, you've got to concede it was well executed.
Perhaps the most famous previous attempt to flick the ball on to a team-mate in a penalty situation was Thierry Henry's botched, widely-mocked effort for Arsenal in 2005.
Yeah, not pretty. So was the Messi/Suarez effort disrespectful to Celta Vigo, who eventually lost this match 6-1? Football website goal.com asked exactly that question. It's poll is currently running 75-25 percent in favour of those answering "it was a moment of creative genius". Which it undoubtedly was, even if some saw it as a little in-your-face.
Messi has now scored 500 goals for club or country, which is an awful lot. But despite his prowess for finding the back of the net (which is actually the front of the net when you think about it, but that's a story for another day), he is known as an unselfish player.
This play was evidence of that. Penalties count as goals. Cristiano Ronaldo -- who is Messi's great rival for the unofficial title of player of-the-generation -- would never have sacrificed a stat like Messi did overnight. Ronaldo is regarded as selfish. Maybe, for once, a little selfishness would have been a good thing. Maybe Messi was just a little too cute this time.
Or maybe his was just being his usual awesome self with a creative twist.Suggest a correction