Lionel Messi did something I’ve never seen before. While I could say that after pretty much every game he plays, this one really raised my eyebrows.

After earning a penalty shot, Messi ran up to the ball, then pulled up and tapped the ball into the path of team mate Luis Suarez. The goalie actually did pretty well reacting and Suarez had some work to do, but ultimately he made it pretty easily and completed his hat trick.

Video: Super Highlights

The question is, does a play like this spit on the face of the integrity of the sport? Is this cheekiness disrespectful to the opponent?

On the one hand, calling this disrespectful implies the move was over the top in a situation where the opponent was at a disadvantage. Sure, it was a penalty shot, but the advantage was only in the initial one on one between shooter and keeper. The Celta Vigo players could just as easily have been the ones to recover the free pass. It was high reward in the end, but at first it was pretty high risk, with the score only 3-1 at the time to boot.

On the other hand, to have the audacity to even try this has to be some sort of flaunting or something, doesn’t it? Facing facts, pretty much everything Messi does is flaunting.

At the end of the day, none of this should matter because Suarez is in the box well before Messi touches the ball. Football fans everywhere might argue it doesn’t matter because people are in the box early all the time. To me, much like the offside rule, it probably doesn’t matter UNLESS that player becomes directly involved in the play, whether it be on a rebound, or in this case, a direct pass.

Bottom line, I really don’t see a problem with the play respect wise, but it shouldn’t have counted.

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