Northern Ireland invented Cruyff and Messi’s passed penalty
Barcelona superstars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez stunned the world earlier this week with their unique ‘passed penalty’ which left many praising them as the most entertaining and flamboyant team of all time.
But who knew that two Northern Irish players scored a penalty in the exact same way more than 50 years ago?
That’s right, in 1957, in a game between Northern Ireland and Portugal, two Irish players invented the passed penalty technique.
Instead of shooting from the spot, Danny Blanchflower played the ball sideways for Jimmy McIlroy to run in and shoot past the goalkeeper from close range.
The goal is mostly unknown to the football world, because the referee disallowed it because McIlroy entered the penalty box before the ball was played.
The retake was taken, and scored, in the conventional manner and Northern Ireland missed out on writing their own piece of football history.
One month later, Belgian striker Rik Coppens scored a penalty in the same way and he is considered by many to have invented the move.
It is rarely seen in professional football. The most famous time came in the 1980s when Johan Cruyff and Jesper Olsen played the ball to each other from a penalty to leave Cruyff an empty goal to score into.
It is thought that Messi and Suarez took the penalty in this way as a tribute to Barcelona legend Cruyff, who is now suffering with lung cancer.
Author and filmmaker Evan Marshall spoke to the Belfast Telegraph about the penalty, and some of the players who were on the pitch look back at the incredible moment.
Messi penalty assist for Suarez and Cruyff and Olsen