Johan Cruyff Hits out at Critics of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez Penalty

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2016

Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff looks on during a press conference to announce the collaboration between Johan Cruyff Institute and Autonomous University of Barcelona ( UAB ) to jointly develop activities of teaching, research and social solidarity, in Barcelona on November 19, 2015.  / AFP / JOSEP LAGO        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff has hailed Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez for their extraordinary penalty routine against Celta Vigo at the weekend and blasted those who have accused the duo of disrespect.

Messi squared the ball from the penalty spot for his team-mate to net in a manner reminiscent of a penalty scored by the Dutchman himself playing for Ajax in 1982, when he passed to Jesper Olsen. Cruyff told El Periodico (h/t Marca) he has no problems whatsoever with the move: 

How is it possibly a lack of respect? Back then [when Cruyff performed the two-man penalty] nobody thought anything of the sort. It just doesn't make sense at all. It's football, it's entertaining, something different, and football is just that, entertainment, it's a game. 

And that's what Messi is about, having fun and entertaining people. And how can it be a lack of respect when Celta played so well? …

What Messi did thrilled me. If anyone can get away with that, it's him.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 14:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona passes to his teammate Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona from the penalty spot to scores his team's fourth goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on February 14
David Ramos/Getty Images

The goal was Barca’s fourth in a 6-1 win at the Camp Nou. The Blaugrana turned on the style in the last 30 minutes of the game, but they were made to work hard for their victory for long spells, with Celta failing to take a succession of chances with the score at 2-1.

Here is another look at the goal, per Eren van Basten:

Here is a reminder of the two-man penalty Cruyff was part of himself 24 years ago, as the Dutch giants faced Helmond Sport:

Barcelona’s own recreation of that particular moment is something that has got the football stratosphere talking. Some, like Cruyff, have hailed the team’s ability to conjure something refreshing and enjoyable. However, for others, it was a moment that was a little disrespectful to the vanquished opposition.

Indeed, former Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told Goal’s Peter Staunton that if something like this was tried away from La Liga, the reaction may have been a little different.

“I was really surprised,” he stated. “It is a rule, and if you respect the rules, you can do what you want. If you do this in Spain, it’s OK, but if you do it in Italy, maybe you’ll have more problems. But if you respect the rules, everything is possible.”

Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti gestures during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match Real Madrid FC vs Juventus at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 13, 2015.   AFP PHOTO/ GERARD JULIEN        (Photo cred

Another iconic figure associated with Los Blancos, Roberto Carlos, has been critical of the goal. “If we did that Messi penalty at the Bernabeu, it's a lack of respect,” he told Cadena SER's El Larguero (h/t James Dutton of the MailOnline).

However, the majority seem to have enjoyed what was a brilliant moment. The likes of Messi, Suarez and their team-mate Neymar score remarkable goals and tot up incredible statistics, but it’s these moments that really resonate.

Indeed, Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez feels as though the routine was in tribute to the former Barcelona boss:

Football would become a little monotonous if players didn’t try to be original. Of course, the traditions that make up a critical part of the game need to be observed, but if there was no creativity, it’d grow tiresome.

Plus if Suarez’s goal is deemed disrespectful, then does that make step-overs classless, too? What about backheels, dummies and no-look passes?

These moments of inspiration and the subsequent rush are what keep so many coming back for more.