What’s a ‘Cruyff Penalty’?

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If you’ve been following La Liga, or more specifically Barcelona you’re aware of the pandemonium surrounding their 4-1 performance against Celta Vigo, and the penalty kick heard round the world.

Lionel Messi used his penalty kick opportunity to help his teammate Luis Suarez round-out his hat-trick:


Pundits and the like took to whatever means of mouth-breathing was available to them to voice their opinion of the move, some good, some bad:

The general feeling of disrespect comes from the fact that within a penalty situation the offense is already one-on-one with the keeper with a guaranteed unhindered shot at goal, though it isn’t illegal, a pass rather than a shot makes for a two on one situation against the keeper that seems like taking advantage in a situation where you really already have the advantage.

Others, including both Barcelona and Celta Vigo’s coaches, saw the goal as just another part of the game:

Luis Enrique: “We are the first to respect our rival and our motivation is to win through football. If someone scores a goal like this against me, I go to the middle of the pitch and get on with the game.”

The method of turning your penalty opportunity into an assist was made famous by footballing legend Johann Cryuff who pulled off a similar feat in 1982 while representing for Ajax.

Cruyff who played for Barcelona for five years, and has supported the Barcelona style of play for years recently shared good news about his on-going recovery from lung cancer.

Speculation is that Messi and the rest of the trident at Barcelona went for the ‘Cryuff Penalty’ in order to pay homage to the footballing legend.


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