Fans are remembering Lionel Messi's penalty gesture to Neymar in 2015, he's the most unselfish player of all time
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Fans are remembering when Lionel Messi passed on the opportunity to go two goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in the La Liga Pichichi race.
Back in May 2015, with just weeks left of the season, league leaders Barcelona went two points clear of Real Madrid in the title race with an emphatic 8-0 win over Cordoba.
Luis Suarez scored his first hat-trick for Barca – a historic moment for the Uruguayan striker. Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Pique and Neymar managed to get on the scoresheet, too.
In fact, to this day, Neymar's goal at the Estadio El Arcángel is a memorable one for many after Lionel Messi produced one of his most unselfish moments.
Messi, who scored his 40th league goal of the season in that game against Cordoba, was handed the opportunity to complete his hat-trick in the 85th minute, when Neymar was brought down in the area.
The Brazilian forward even threw the ball to Messi as if to say, go ahead, extend your lead in the Pichichi – a trophy given to the player with the most goals in La Liga.
But rather than score his hat-trick and go two goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was on 39 goals, he insisted that Neymar take it, despite his teammates remonstrations.
Neymar soon made it 8-0 with a cool finish from 12 yards but it was Messi's gesture that grabbed the headlines.
🔴Messi Gives Penalty to Neymar vs Cordoba CF :— Leo forever 🐐 (@leo10ney11) March 27, 2023
▪️He was on a hat-trick and Barcelona got a penalty.
▪️But Messi gave it to Neymar because Neymar was struggling to score. pic.twitter.com/vIbxlYsGKi
In his post-match interview, a thankful Neymar addressed the incident.
"I won't ever forget this detail," he told reporters. "Messi is the best in the world and he could have easily scored a hat-trick and yet he let me take the penalty.
"I am so very grateful for that gesture. I'm learning so much from Messi every day, both from his football but also these gestures."
Ronaldo would go on to beat Messi to the Pichichi Trophy after finishing the 2014/15 league campaign with 48 goals, compared to Messi's 43.
But the La Liga title belonged to Barcelona, who finished two points ahead of Los Blancos.
Throwback to when the pichichi race was on fire— LM 🇦🇷⁷ (@Leo_messii_7) April 2, 2023
Barca gets a penalty and Messi gave it to Neymar, the most unselfish player of all time 🐐❤️ pic.twitter.com/If4UhOQKbn
Here's how fans reacted to Messi's selfless gesture in the 2015 game against Cordoba.
One said: "It's things like this that make Messi uncomparable to anyone. He has done it countless times, and, often, without due praise," while a second wrote: "Messi doesn't chase the honours, the honours chase him."
A third commented: "When you know you are the best, you don't need to prove it."
A fourth added: "I really believe this guy has never been in any direct competition with Ronaldo in his mind. He was always just doing his thing and Ronaldo was the one competing."
Thoughts on the moment? Let us know in the comments.