Five cheeky penalty passes, from epic fails by Ramos and Benzema and Pires and Henry to a Cruyff masterclass


THIS lot are taking the spot mick.

When most teams are awarded penalties, their designated taker will often plant the ball down on the penalty spot and hammer it home.

But sometimes you’ll get the odd show-off who might try and be clever with their effort from 12-yards.

The penalty pass is the ultimate mickey-take, and more challenging than it looks.

Just ask Real Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema, who recorded an epic fail against Villarreal.

Their attempt was ruled out after Benzema was accused of encroaching. Luckily enough, the referee ordered a retake which they scored from and their blushes were spared.

But not everyone has been so lucky…

The two ‘Invincibles’ and Arsenal legends made a total mess of their clever penalty when they tried to pull it off.

It happened in a game against Manchester City in 2005, and is remembered as one of the worst penalties ever taken in the Premier League.

Pires was supposed to pass the ball to Henry, but he messed up the pass and the pair were left with egg on their face.

“It was Thierry Henry’s idea and of course it was my mistake, because I missed the ball,” Pires later told SportBible.

“I regret the pass but not the penalty. It was a good idea, the people need to watch something new and the penalty between me and Thierry was a new thing.

“Sometimes in football, I know it was a big mistake, but sometimes you need some fantasy on the field. For me it was a good fantasy but unfortunately I missed the pass but it was a good idea.”

It was 2016, a time when Barcelona were often accused of disrespecting opponents by showboating while boasting a front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

They were the Harlem Globetrotters of football, so why not attempt a tricky penalty pass.

And Messi and Suarez managed to pull it off – with the Argentinian passing to the Uruguayan to sidefoot home.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was one off 300 La Liga goals as he stepped up, but he preferred to lay the ball on a tee for Suarez to score his hat-trick.

Later, Neymar claimed that the pass was actually meant for him.

“It was for me, we had practiced it in training!” he said. “Leo and myself had practiced but Luis was closer and he scored it.”

“Our friendship is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter who scores the goals just that we win the games.”

The Ajax team of the 1970s and 1980s played ‘Total Football’, in part thanks to the terrific Cruyff – arguably the player of his generation.

And in a game against Helmond Sport in 1982, Cruyff and team-mate Jesper Olsen enjoyed a one-two with their penalty pass.

Cruyff put the ball on the spot, before rolling it to Olsen who drew the keeper out and squared it back to the Dutch master to slot the ball home into the empty net.

“We had training in September and he mentioned it, that we could do it in a game and we trained it a few times that weekend,” Olsen told FourFourTwo.

“And then we did not talk about it until we actually did it in that game in December. Again, it was just how he was. Always thinking about how he could do things differently.

“Trying to show that this could be done and he was one of those players that just tried new things.”

The first ever pass penalty in England was actually attempted by Plymouth Argyle.

It happened in 1964, when Mike Trebilcock and John Newman attempted the feat against Manchester City.

Trebilcock laid the ball off to Newman who beat the keeper to the ball and lashed home.

Later, Trebilcock revealed it was the brainchild of maverick manager Malcolm Allison.

He revealed: “I was playing for Plymouth Argyle at the time, and Big Malcolm Allison was the manager. It was one of his mad ideas.”

The pioneers of the penalty pass were Belgium pair Coppens and Piters.

In 1957, in a game against Iceland, they had the in-genius idea to try something different.

And it must’ve been where Cruyff and Olsen got the inspiration from.

Coppens nudged the ball forward, Piters ran onto it, but rather than score he returned the ball to his team-mate.

All that was left for Coppens to do was stroke the ball into an empty net as Icelandic keeper Bjorgvin Hermannsson looked on in despair.



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