Peak Turkish Super League: Mauro Icardi has gifted us 2023-24’s most chaotic moment

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Mauri Icardi of Galatasaray during the Turkish Super Lig match between Galatasaray and Trabzonspor at Nef Stadyumu on February 5, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have done it. The great Johan Cruyff and Jesper Olsen made it famous. Thierry Henry and Robert Pires failed miserably at it.

One thing’s for sure: you have to have balls of steel to attempt a two-touch penalty. Because if you don’t pull it off you look immensely stupid – just ask Mauro Icardi.

Henry and Pires know how you feel, mate.

Two of the coolest footballers in Premier League history were made to look a right pair of plonkers after royally screwing up the crafty pass-and-shoot penalty routine popularised by Cruyff all the way back in the ’70s.

It ought to have been a crime to commit such a farcical moment of slapstick comedy while wearing the Gunners’ unforgettably sexy and instantly iconic 2004-05 burgundy strip.

Arsene Wenger did not see the funny side. The ball had barely been cleared by the time an irate Danny Mills went over to berate them for taking the p*ss.

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

“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.”

Almost two decades later the moment lives on in Premier League infamy. Yer da’s blood pressure has only just returned to normal.

And now football’s biggest bad boy has pretty much done the same thing, albeit without getting it quite as dramatically wrong.

Icardi’s team-mate Kerem Akturkoglu pulled off his part of the move to perfection. Admittedly, that was simply laying the ball off a couple of yards – something that the quintessential nan would’ve been able to do.

The harder part was Icardi’s. We say hard, but the goalkeeper had committed and the goal was gaping. Any shot on target would’ve done the trick. But he failed to do that, having blazed it wide.

Fortunately for Icardi – just like Henry and Pires all those years ago – his blushes were spared to a certain extent. He scored in the first half, and that proved the match-winner in Galatasaray’s 1-0 victory at Istanbulspor.

The Argentinian can be forgiven one daft moment. He’s scored seven goals in six Super Lig appearances this season and leads the scoring charts. Last term he notched 22 goals as they won the title.

The penalty fail was just the latest exhibit in why Galatasaray could well be 2023-24’s most bizarre team. Not only does Icardi lead the line but their latest win saw Dries Mertens get substituted for Wilfried Zaha and a starting XI that also featured Lucas Torreira, Angelino and Fernando Muslera.

They may well be the most Turkish Super Lig team ever assembled. Absolute box office.


READ NEXT: A timeline of Mauro Icardi’s most controversial moments in Italy

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