Eagle-eyed fans have spotted why Neymar took Paris Saint-Germain’s missed first-half penalty against Riyadh All-Star XI ahead of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
Messi opened the scoring for PSG at the King Fahd International Stadium in Saudi Arabia on Thursday in their eagerly awaited exhibition friendly.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled out Messi’s opener from the spot-kick before Marquinhos fired PSG back into the lead against Riyadh XI.
PSG were presented with the perfect opportunity to extend their lead going into half-time when they were awarded a penalty in first-half injury time.
Neymar stepped up for the spot-kick and failed to convert, with Ronaldo completing his brace minutes later to send Riyadh XI into the break level with PSG.
Footage has since emerged of the 30-year-old Brazilian winger asking PSG teammate Messi if he wanted to take the penalty.
Messi, who was Argentina’s designated spot-kick taker at the World Cup, appeared to refuse the offer and allowed former Barcelona teammate Neymar to take it.
Fans believe that Messi could have grabbed a hat-trick against Riyadh XI had he taken Neymar’s penalty and Mbappe’s second-half spot-kick.
“It was his [Messi] reaction for me. He didn’t care. No more pressure. He even had his hands on his clothes,” one fan said.
Neymar asking Leo if he wants to take the penalty but Messi refusing it and letting Ney take it. 🇦🇷❤️🇧🇷pic.twitter.com/IH72ioAx1r— PSG Report (@PSG_Report) January 19, 2023
Someone else commented: “He also let Mbappe take the pen. He often gives [the] pen to his goalless teammate. Since [his] Barca days. You guys are lucky to have him.”
A third added: “Messi’s humility is unmatched!”
While a fourth Twitter user wrote: “Messi’s ability of not always wanting to be the man and yet ends up outperforming everyone is incredible.”
And a fifth fan tweeted: “This guy is not taking football seriously, man’s just casually walking around the pitch keeping his hands on his hips. He’s completed football, he’s just there for vibes, man.”
Sergio Ramos put PSG into a 3-2 lead in the second half, only for Jang Hyun-soo to pull Riyadh XI level only three minutes later.
Mbappe successfully converted his penalty to fire PSG into a 4-3 lead before Hugo Ekitike added his side’s fifth.
Talisca managed to pull one back for Riyadh XI during injury time, but PSG walked away with a stunning 5-4 win from the thrilling match.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Alamy
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