If you’re quizzed who the greatest penalty-takers in football you have ever seen, who are you going to mention? In this article, we are going to list our top 10 players in the history of football to have made their mark from the spot.
Scoring from the twelve yards isn’t for the faint of heart. Besides, penalty-kicks offer teams the golden opportunity to take a shot at an almost unguarded goal. The only person standing against them is the opposition goalkeeper between the posts. But converting a penalty-kick is not as easy as it sounds.
The reality is that standing 12 yards away from the net with all eyes on you is one of the lengthiest and loneliest feelings inside the football pitch. It’s more like a 50/50 situation where you can either score or miss.
Top 10 Greatest Penalty-Takers Of All-Time
In this list, we bring to you the top 10 greatest penalty-takers throughout football history. You can argue otherwise after this list, but best believe these players are the best in the business when it comings from kicking the ball from twelve yards.
10. David Villa [Scored: 70, Missed: 13]
Despite David Villa was in the shadow of Lionel Messi when it comes to taking penalties during his three-year stay at Barcelona, the striker deserves a mention in this list of the greatest penalty-takers in football history.
The Spanish World Cup winner was always a reliable option from the spot, having missed only but three of his 34 penalties in La Liga. While at Valencia during his club career, he was specifically prolific. With his prowess from the spot, he was also able to surpass Raul Gonzalez as Spain’s record goalscorer.
9. Alessandro Del Piero [Scored: 77, Missed: 15]
The legendary Italian and Juventus forward was another hit in penalties during his iconic career that went over two decades. With his efficiency, he was often the first choice for both club and country.
Del Piero, meanwhile, was always accurate and reliable, which made him a must-have in any penalty shoot-out. Even at the late stages of his career, the iconic forward kept on scoring from the spot until the very end.
8. Frank Lampard [Scored: 60, Missed: 10]
The Chelsea legend was a beast inside the box despite being a central midfielder during his playing days. Not only that he was accurate from the spot, Lampard equally scored many long-range crackers, which made him a hero for the London club.
Moreover, the gaffer’s prowess from the spot was also as great as from outside of it as well. The Chelsea record goalscorer always struck his penalties with such power and precision that goalkeepers were often left helpless.
Additionally, Frank will certainly go down as one of the greatest scoring midfielders in history after helping Chelsea win 13 trophies with his club-record of 211 goals.
7. Francesco Totti [Scored: 86, Missed: 19]
The AS Roma legend in the making has always delivered for his beloved club, even during the twilight phase of his famous career. Totti was the loyal kind of a player, even until the very end, and scored 307 goals in total for the club.
The Italian was excellent from the spot as many of his goals came from 12 yards. Totti never lost his composure, with the best example being his decisive stoppage-time penalty in Italy’s 1-0 victory over Australia in the last-16 of the 2006 World Cup. Italy later won the WC tournament in Germany.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic [Scored: 84, Missed: 16]
The big Swede has countless talents including perfection from the spot, having converted 79 penalties throughout his career.
The aging forward is still making a difference out there for AC Milan in arguably one of Europe’s toughest leagues. Serie A. Although the majority of Ibra’s penalty goals came at Paris Saint-Germain.
5. Thierry Henry [Scored: 28, Missed: 7]
Back in the days for Arsenal, it was never boring to watch Thierry Henry step out to take a penalty for Arsenal. And one thing with the Frenchman is that you could never quite predict what he was going to do given his vast array of tricks and interest in experimenting.
In all, Henry missed only seven out of 35 penalties he attempted for club and country. On two occasions that he missed from the spot came at Arsenal, where he later finished as the Gunners’ record scorer on 226 goals.
4. Matt Le Tissier [Scored: 27, Missed: 0]
Probably a surprise for some football fans, who may have never known him. However, Le Tissier deserves a spot so to say. Although he may not have the most glittering career, the midfielder’s penalty instincts were unrivaled in England.
The former Southampton star was so good with his penalty prowess and possessed some fearsome personality that he was christened ‘Le God; by the fans. Transfermarkt stats even claimed that Le Tissier never missed a penalty for once in his career.
3. Marco van Basten [Scored: 51, Missed: 3]
Van Basten has a penalty conversion rate of 94%, which proves his brilliance in penalty taking during his illustrious career. Meanwhile, he always stands up for AC Milan oftentimes and he rarely failed.
The iconic Dutchman scored 125 goals for Rossoneri on route to two European titles and three league crowns. Van Basten was really one of a kind and ended his career in 1995 as a three-time Ballon d’Or winner.
2. Michel Platini [Scored: 25, Missed: 0]
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner is regarded as one of the best players in the history of football. Although his scandalous dismissal as the UEFA president turned many fans against him. But his five-year stay at Juventus was nothing but successful.
Moreover, the aftermath of his playing career doesn’t take away what an excellent spot-taker Platini was during his playing days, having not missed a single penalty. He duly deserves to be in this list of the greatest penalty-takers of all-time as one could say he was the very definition of clinical.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo [Scored: 134, Missed: 26]
The winner of this list is none other than the legendary Portuguese and the all-time highest goalscorer in football, so it’s nobody’s surprise that Ronaldo takes the number one spot as the greatest penalty-takers of all-time. Although it’s somewhat questionable given he has missed 26 spot-kicks in his career, whereas Platini didn’t miss any.
However, we have considered the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo has converted 134 penalties, which by far outnumbered anyone else on the list. Moreover, the main reason for his greater number of misses is probably because he has taken more penalties than anyone else.
Furthermore, the Juventus ace is also well known for never losing his cool in decisive moments, for instance, when he slotted home the winner against Atletico Madrid in the 2016 Champions League final in Lisbon.
Would make any changes to this list? Feel free to share your thoughts with us via our comments section below!