Barcelona goal breakdown: The set play Messi, Suarez, Neymar run to perfection

Soccer isn't anything like basketball, and it isn't anything like football. You really won't see "a play" in soccer. Sure, you'll see it all the time in the NBA and of course in the NFL, but soccer isn't about "plays." It's about creativity and execution in the moment.

The only time you will really see something designed is on a set piece, be it free kicks or corner kicks to get something going. And, well, it doesn't always go well.

But what Barcelona's Luis Suarez has been able to do, both this season and in priors, is like a set-up play executed to perfection. The latest was on Wednesday.

The common theme here is other players moving towards goal with Suarez picking out a spot to sit and wait for the ball before firing home. Here is what he did against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey Round of 16 this week.

Let's break it down.

1. Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suarez surround the ball, and when the ball springs free, Suarez marches towards goal.


2. Suarez sees Neymar is going to get to the endline, possibly for a cross, and continues to march towards goal.


3. In the video, you can see Suarez signal to Rafinha to go front post, and defenders follow. That, combined with the players marking Messi, leaves Suarez free.


4. Messi has two guys on him, and Rafinha's front-post run has allowed Suarez to step back and await the lofted cross.


5. And boom. With other players, you doubt whether it will be a good shot. But with Suarez, it's like you knew it was going in.


Wow. Just wow. Aside from it being a lovely goal, each player is on the same page in order to get Suarez into space for the goal. But this isn't the only time we have seen something like this.

Last season against Real Sociedad, he waited in a pocket of space and did this.


He also did something similar against Roma, anticipating where the ball would go before doing this.

There is no doubt that Suarez is a master of anticipating where the ball will go. But his teammates are also trained to make those runs to give him those open spaces on crosses, and he has done his job putting them away. It's like a special play the team has planned for these moments, and boy is it executed beautifully.

Here's another example where he told Munir to go front post last year and Suarez went back post. And can you guess what the result was?

Just brilliant. And there you have it -- a play that makes the world's top striker even more dangerous.

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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