Barcelona are enjoying another wonderful season in which they have an eight-point lead over second-place Atletico Madrid (and 15-point lead over Real Madrid), but it is still a season marked by one incredibly odd blemish: a historically bad penalty conversion rate.
Lionel Messi’s penalty miss in Barcelona’s 6–0 win over Getafe on Saturday was the team’s eighth penalty miss in La Liga this season — a new record (this from 15 attempts, one shy of the league record). Though Messi has now missed more penalties in his career than any other Barcelona player, he’s not the only one struggling from the spot this season. Neymar and Luis Suarez have been just as bad.
But why is this? How could three of the best players in the world right now be so poor at something that comes relatively easy to many less talented players? Here are some explanations:
-They want us to think they’re human.
-It just doesn’t seem fair to add penalties on top of the other six goals they score without the referee’s intervention during the course of a given match.
-They want their fans to be able to continue to call Cristiano Ronaldo “Penaldo” and belittle his scoring records for the number of penalties he converts.
-Winning by such large margins bores them and missing penalties is the only way they can still feel alive.
-It’s a subtle protest against Barcelona sponsor Qatar and the deplorable conditions to which they subject their migrant workers.
-Messi heard a rumor that every time you score a penalty you have to eat more vegetables at dinner and he hates eating vegetables.
-The goalkeepers always look too sad.
-A sick child made the unusual request that they miss half their penalties this season and they are simply obeying that strange kid’s wishes.
-Scoring so many incredible goals has desensitized them to the straight forward nature of penalties (hence their penalty routine against Celta Vigo), making them far more difficult than they should be.
-They’re doing it to lull goalkeepers into a false sense of confidence should they reach a decisive Champions League shootout at the end of the season.
-It’s some kind of inside joke that we will never understand.