Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez penalty makes Johan Cruyff 'very happy'
Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff says he was delighted to see Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez's "passed penalty" in Sunday's 6-1 La Liga win over Celta Vigo.
With Barca 3-1 ahead and 10 minutes remaining in the game, Messi ran up to take a spot kick, only to touch the ball sideways for Suarez to knock the ball to the net, in a rehearsed move.
The goal immediately brought to mind a similar move pulled off by Cruyff and his Ajax teammate Jesper Olsen in a game against Helmond Sport in 1982.
The Dutchman, currently battling against cancer, told Catalan newspaper El Periodico that he was not sure if Messi had done it as a deliberate homage but was nevertheless happy with what had happened.
"It made me very happy what Messi did," Cruyff said. "I don't know if he saw [Cruyff's own] move, maybe he did, but if anyone can do anything like that, it is him. Then I saw people were talking about my penalty. It makes you happy for people to remember you after so many years. It's lovely -- the things football gives you."
Cruyff also said he does not believe that Messi and Suarez had shown a lack of respect to opponents who at that stage of the game were well beaten.
"How could it be a lack of respect?" he said. "In that time, nobody thought about such a thing. This is football -- something different, entertaining, that's what football is -- a game, a pastime.
"What Messi did was to enjoy himself, and for the fans to enjoy themselves. The lack of respect is not recognising that Celta played a great game, and it was a tough game for Barca."
Belgian internationals Rik Coppens and Andre Piters are credited with being the first to try the move during an international against Iceland in 1957, while Arsenal duo Thierry Henry and Robert Pires failed in their own attempt in a Premier League game against Manchester City in October 2005.
Cruyff said that when he and Olsen pulled it off in 1982, even the referee had not been sure whether the goal should be allowed.
"Everyone was very surprised," he said. "The referee came over and asked me 'Is that legal?' Of course it was legal. I passed the ball forward, he came running in from outside the area. Later there was a lot of talk about it, among the media, the fans, everyone asking if it counted."