FC Barcelona

Diego Maradona Says He'd Have Thrown Punches over Lionel Messi Penalty

Argentina's soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona smiles during a press conference in Bogota, Colombia, Thursday, April 9, 2015. Maradona will play tomorrow in an exhibition soccer match in support of peace talks between the Colombian government and legist rebels. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
Fernando Vergara/Associated Press
Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2016

Barcelona and Argentina legend Diego Maradona has joked that "there would have been punches thrown" had he been on the pitch when Lionel Messi infamously used a penalty to pass to Luis Suarez against Celta Vigo.

According to Marca, he told Fox Sports' 90 Minutes: "If I'd have been on the pitch for Messi's indirect penalty, there would have been punches thrown, regardless of whether it was the A, the B, the C or the D division, for sure there would have been punches thrown."

Here is the goal, per Sky Sports La Liga:

Many revelled in the penalty, including fellow Barca alumni Johan Cruyff, to whom the spot-kick was an homage.

BT Sport's Lynsey Hipgrave was on the other side of the divide and believed the penalty was disrespectful:

Maradona played at the Camp Nou for only two seasons but enjoyed a memorable spell with the club, where he scored 38 goals in just 58 games.

The 55-year-old said he "would have liked to have played in this Barcelona team" alongside the likes of Messi, Suarez and Neymar and also would have welcomed the opportunity to have "beaten them too."

Barca's attacking trident have been in sublime form this season, as OptaJoe revealed ahead of their UEFA Champions League win over Arsenal:

The prospect of the World Cup winner in his prime lining up next to them with all the flair and panache he brought to the gamenot to mention with players such as Andres Iniesta behind him—is almost too incredible to comprehend.

Maradona also gave his take on Neymar, saying: "He's on course for the Ballon d'Or."

The Brazilian star has risen even further this season with 23 goals and 21 assists to his name in all competitions. In the race for the 2015 Ballon d'Or, he finished third behind Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Owing to his continued outstanding form, the 24-year-old has been picked out by many as a future winner of the award—for example, by Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez and BBC Sport:

Indeed, it seems inevitable Neymar will claim it when Messi and Ronaldo finally release their stranglehold on it.

Maradona never picked up the prestigious award as a player, as it could only be given to European players until 1995. As Marca noted, the Argentinian was FIFA's joint Player of the 20th Century, though.

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