Shortly after finding himself on the receiving end of a challenge that saw Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso booked, Barcelona's Lionel Messi stepped up to take the (ultimately inconsequential) free-kick. Messi being the target of a laser pointer isn't anything new; it's happened countless times in the past, most notably at the last World Cup and most recently during Saturday's El Classico at the Santiago Bernabeu. That it happened again shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone.
What made this laser-ing particularly notable was the sheer size of the beam; from all appearances someone managed to sneak a stoplight or perhaps spooky Halloween flashlight into the Mestalla and shine it directly at Messi's face. Laser pointers are fairly easy to sneak into a stadium even when security is tight; lighthouses not so much.
On a serious note, while this behavior isn't especially surprising it is of course incredibly disappointing. It's not something I think I really understand either; we all want our teams to win of course, but how is blinding the best player on the planet seconds before a crucial free-kick in a cup final that's locked at 0-0 going to add to the sense of pride in one's team and their accomplishment? It's an element of sports fandom I don't think I'll ever quite understand.