Football: Messi, Suarez's 'penalty of the century' rehearsed, claims Neymar

Barcelona's Neymar (right), Lionel Messi (left) and Luis Suarez celebrate after scoring a goal against Celta Vigo.
Barcelona's Neymar (right), Lionel Messi (left) and Luis Suarez celebrate after scoring a goal against Celta Vigo. PHOTO: REUTERS

BARCELONA (AFP) - Barcelona star Neymar claimed he was meant to be the recipient of Lionel Messi's sensational pass from a penalty that was converted by Luis Suarez as the European champions routed Celta Vigo 6-1 in the Spanish Primera Liga on Sunday.

Messi and Suarez combined to score one of the classiest penalties in football history as Messi squared his spot-kick for the onrushing Suarez to complete his hat-trick ahead of Neymar.

"It was designed for me, we had practised it, but Luis was closer," Neymar told Barca TV. "It doesn't matter, he scored so it worked well."

 
 

Barca were already leading 3-1 when Messi - who has missed 17 of 83 penalties in his career - was chopped down inside the area after an outrageous piece of skill on the byeline.

Messi (with a brilliant free kick), Ivan Rakitic and Neymar got the other goals as Barca moved three points clear at the top of La Liga.

"The forwards are very generous. We love each other a lot and that friendship is the most important thing, no matter who scores the goals," added Neymar.

The penalty brought back memories of another Barca legend Johan Cruyff when he and Jesper Olsen played a one-two for the Dutchman to score when playing for Ajax against Helmond Sport in 1982.

Spanish sports daily AS quickly christened the move as the "penalty of the century".

French duo Thierry Henry and Robert Pires tried a similar trick without success as they botched a penalty for Arsenal against Manchester City in 2005.

Watch the penalty here.