Constantino Parente: Lionel Messi admits he needs work on his penalties after missing four of eight for Barcelona and Argentina last season

LIONEL MESSI has five Ballons d’Or but it has not stopped him finding faults in his game.

The Barcelona superstar missed four of eight penalties for club and country last season – making it 24 career failures from the spot.

Lionel Messi had just a 50 per cent success rate from the spot last season

And after allowing Luis Suarez to take over from 12 yards against Huesca this month despite being on a hat-trick, Messi admitted he needs work.

The 31-year-old told Catalunya Radio: “I would like to be more effective from the penalty spot.

“But it’s difficult to work on penalties.

“It’s not the same taking them in training as it is in a game. You can have an idea in your head or something you have worked on, but it’s more difficult than it seems.

Lionel Messi admits he needs to work on his accuracy from 12 yards
Luis Suarez took over penalty duties against Huesca even though Messi was on a hat-trick
Getty Images – Getty

“The goalkeeper has a lot to do with it, too. If they guess right, they save it. But it’s obvious that I’d like to get better at taking penalties.”

Messi made his first-team debut as a teenager in 2004 and has had to adapt to changing tactics over his 14-year career.

Since Suarez’s arrival at the Nou Camp, the Argie ace has shifted out wide to devastating effect.

He added: “It’s normal that your game evolves.

“When I made my debut I was 17. I played in a different position and in a different way back then.

Messi reflected on how he has been forced to adapt since his debut in 2004

“Football has changed since, as has my way of playing and moving around the pitch.

“I like where I play now the most.

“Teams sit deep and put a lot of people in the middle, so it’s easier getting the ball a little deeper and coming inside from further out.

“Moving to the wing means that a lot of the time, the full-back doesn’t know what they’re meant to do.

“In the middle, it’s harder to get the ball, because there are fewer spaces and a lot of bodies.”


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