Lionel Messi asked Neymar to take the penalty he missed in Barcelona’s Copa Del Rey semi-final first leg win over Villarreal last night.
The Barca superstar is the club’s chosen spotkick taker, as confirmed by boss Luis Enrique following the match.
We make a list of penalty takers but they then decide.
Leo has always been our penalty taker and Neymar second. I assume they spoke and I had full confidence.
It was a baffling move when Neymar stepped up to take the penalty which Messi won after a handball from Mateo Mussacchio.
But who would have expected the Brazil talisman to miss? Yet he did and with it, he squandered the chance to give Barca a 4-1 lead going into the second leg next month.
Video footage has emerged which appears to show Messi whisper something to Neymar immediately after he wins the penalty – and the Brazilian appears surprised with what we believe was a command to take it:
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With a goal to his name already, it is surprising to see Messi hand another chance to hit the net over to someone else.
But perhaps it’s a signal of the relationship the players now have with each other that the Argentine was prepared to gift his pal a goal.
Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique added strikes to Messi’s opener with Manu Trigueros netting for the visitors.
How significant will Neymar’s miss be on the tie with the second leg at El Madrigal in March?