Ferran Torres missed a penalty in FC Barcelona’s eventual 1-0 win over Valencia CF, but before that there was an animated discussion between him and Ansu Fati.
It’s clear each of the young forwards was interested in taking the shot, but it was Torres who held the ball and eventually took the spot kick. Also involved was Franck Kessié, who is a known penalty specialist, although he seemed to be content to let Torres take it.
The ensuing kick was disappointing, as Torres hit the ball into the turf and it bounced along, lacking power. It clipped the outside of the post, although it probably would have been saved by the keeper if it had been on target.
Barcelona would go on to win the match, but only just, defending the 1-0 lead attained by Raphinha in the first half until the last second.
It’s now been revealed how Barcelona usually chooses who takes the penalty. Apparently, while there is a general hierarchy on paper, it’s actually decided on a match-by-match basis.
The coaching staff elects the penalty taker in their pre-match preparations, and even that can change depending on the situation and other factors.
Normally, Robert Lewandowski is the team’s penalty taker. He is an 89% career taker, which is extremely impressive considering he’s taken 82 attempts. Second choice is Kessié, who is an 86% career taker and was AC Milan’s main taker last season.
So why wasn’t it Kessié who took it? Well, he only came in as a sub, so he was not elected at the beginning of the match as the team’s penalty taker. Instead, it should have been Torres.
Fati, however, was keen on taking the shot. As stated before, it’s known that the penalty taker can change depending on cirucmstances. Perhaps he was looking to re-ignite his form, as he had been struggling lately with finding the back of the net.
However, Torres did not relent. He himself could use the goal to re-start his scoring form, plus he was playing against his former team. He was in his hometown, with several family members and friends in the stands. And it was his birthday week, Unfortunately, he missed.
Will this lead to a reconfiguration of the penalty taking philosophy? Or will the current set-up continue?