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Panenka urges Messi to change style

Lionel Messi has been urged to copy former Czechoslovakia international Antonin Panenka’s unique penalty-taking style.

Lionel Messi played the familiar role of Barcelona hero against Valencia.
Lionel Messi is close to making his return for Barcelona.

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Messi, who announced he is ready to return for Barcelona's trip to Osasuna on Saturday, was on the agenda when Panenka -- remembered for his audacious penalty during the shoot-out which decided the 1976 European Championships final -- visited Barcelona for an event organised by the football magazine named in his honour.

Panenka -- now president of his former club Bohemians 1905 -- told reporters at the event that he likes when modern players [Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo, Francesco Totti, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sergio Ramos et al] copy his trademark penalty taking style, but what he would really like is for the four time Ballon D’Or winner to give it a go.

"I have seen a lot of players try it, not everyone with success," Panenka said. "I really enjoy it when other players today follow my idea, that it lives on and has not died, it gives me a lot of satisfaction. For me it would be very exciting, a real honour that one of the best players in history tries it. Although his own style is doing pretty well for him so far."

Lionel Messi's league penalties since the start of the 2010-11 season.
Lionel Messi's league penalties since the start of the 2010-11 season.

Messi, who suffered a thigh injury when scoring in Barca’s 2-0 win at Almeria in late September, has missed the 1-0 Champions League win at Celtic and 4-1 La Liga win at home to Real Valladolid.

But having spent the recent international break working on his fitness with his club, he now looks set to be back in action ahead of next Tuesday’s Champions League group game in Milan and -- most importantly – Oct. 26’s Primera Division clasico against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou.

The Argentine, who Mundo Deportivo say last summer rejected a move to an 'Adidas club' who were ready to pay his €250 million buy-out clause, posted a photo of himself at training on Thursday evening to his personal Instagram account.

The image was accompanied by the phrase -- 'Ready to come back' -- suggesting he is looking forward to starting on Saturday evening in Pamplona.


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