The current hot topic in Spanish football is whether Lionel Messi of all people should be the person taking penalties for Barcelona.
The Mirror has some of his stats, and they are interesting:
From the Mirror:
“Messi, 27, has now failed to score on 16 of his 72 penalties for Barcelona, some 22%.
More worryingly, he has missed four of his last 10, and no player in La Liga has missed more over the last decade.”
These stats need some context. Missing 4 of 10 seems bad, but only missing 16 of 72 seems pretty good. What is Ronaldo’s conversion rate? Or Steven Gerrard’s or Frank Lampard’s?
Also, how many players have even taken close to 72 in their career? Sure no player has missed more than 4 in the last decade, but how many have even taken more than 4? Penalties are hard to come by and it’s not often that there is one player taking all the penalties. So Messi’s success rate might not be perfect, but there seems to be very little to compare him to.
More importantly, this discussion is ridiculous. I think Luis Enrique had the perfect response for the press when asked about the fact that Messi had missed another penalty:
“The fact that he missed a penalty does not make Messi any more human. Messi still scored twice and set up another goal. He does not really seem human to me.”
Exactly. Put this discussion to bed.
If Messi wants to take the penalties, you let him. Why? Because in order for Messi to be able to take penalties, he has to be on the pitch. And even if he misses the penalty, the net gain for Barcelona by having Messi on the pitch vastly outweighs the potential cost of Messi missing a penalty.
That was true in the game against Levante. He missed a penalty, but he also scored a goal, scored a penalty, and had an assist.
He’s Messi, he’s earned the right to take penalties, even if that means he misses them more often than other players.
Above video of the goal courtesy of youtuber Syed Imran.
Below is the video of Messi’s penalty miss from the same game from youtuber serkan misirli.
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