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The 9 best penalty takers in world football

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid
Umid Kumar Dey
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most lethal players from the spot

Penalties are the easiest way to score – or at least some believe so. However, it is easier said than done. If taking penalties was so easy, the conversion rate from penalties would have been much higher than what it is.

Scoring from penalties is more about nerves than anything else. A player could be an extremely great goalscorer from open-play, although, that doesn’t guarantee that he would be an equally great penalty-taker.

In fact, there are only a very few players in the world who can be dubbed as a reliable penalty-taker. And here are 9 of them:

Mario Balotelli

We start off with someone who rarely misses a penalty. Mario Balotelli is known for silly off-field antics and volatile on-field nature. But his success from the penalty spot is also another thing that he is well-known for.

The Ghanaian Italian has taken 30 penalties in his career, scoring an astonishing 28 of them. With a brilliant conversion rate – although he hasn’t taken as many penalties as the other names on this list. One can only wonder what a player he could have been had he the same composure from open-play. He still makes it to the list of the 10 best penalty takers in the world.

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Rickie Lambert

Another Liverpool player to make this list, Rickie Lambert is someone who is known for his extremely hard-working temperament despite not being as technically proficient as a Liverpool striker should be. The Liverpool youth product was never touted to make it big with the club, but his diligence made sure that he proved his critics wrong.

There is one thing, apart from dedication, where the Englishman stands out and that is at taking penalties. While playing for Southampton, the forward never missed a single penalty and became the go-to man when the referee blew the whistle and pointed at the spot.

Lambert, in his days as a Saints player, took 34 penalties and scored all of them - making himself renowned as a hitman when it comes to taking penalties.

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Cristiano Ronaldo

There is a reason why this man is called ‘Penaldo’ Even though it is a term used for derogative purposes, it properly reflects his efficiency from the spot. With a conversion rate of an amazing 89% and taking 61 penalties – scoring 54 – while at it, the Portuguese displays a surreal talent when it comes to hitting the net from 13 yards.

He might have missed some important penalties – Champions League final with Manchester United and semi-final with Real Madrid – and the last penalty he took might have ended up being saved by the goalkeeper, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the best players when it comes to scoring from penalties.

Cristiano Ronaldo ?All Penalties With Real... by top10alltimes
Steven Gerrard was Liverpool’s penalty taker throughout his career

Steven Gerrard

The outgoing Liverpool legend is one of the most celebrated in the Premier League. At his peak, there was not another midfielder who could make an inch-perfect tackle and then lay the ball 50-70 yard up-field the very next moment.

His accuracy, when it came to taking penalties, was just as good. Having converted 47 of his 57 penalties, it is clear how good he is at blasting the net from 12 yards – just like how he is when it comes to scoring outside-the-box screamers.

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Leighton Baines

The Everton man is one of the most underrated players of his generations. Rarely putting in a poor performance, he has been ever-devoted to Everton and will go down as one of their greatest players by the time he retires.

Despite being a defender, his ability to take set-pieces stands out from many others. During his career, he has scored some amazing free-kicks and has only ever missed one penalty in his Premier League career – scoring over 10 penalties in the process. The only time he missed was against Manchester United where David De Gea successfully stopped his effort.

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Francesco Totti

Roberto Baggio holds the record for the most number of penalties scored in Serie A. The Fiorentina legend scored 68 goals from penalties during his time as a player. The man that is second to him is Francesco Totti.

Known for his fierce loyalty with Roma, he could have won more trophies – at least an amount that would have done justice to the caliber of player that he is – had he left the club of his heart. The Roma legend has, till date, scored an astounding 67 penalties in Serie A and looks set to beat his compatriot to the record.

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Frank Lampard was deadly for Chelsea from the spot

Frank Lampard

Along with Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes, he is best one of the English midfielder to play in the Premier League era. Someone who was the most genuine goal-scoring threat from deep, the Blues legend was the epitome of clever instincts and accuracy when it came to hitting the net.

A debate could rage if it is said that he is Chelsea’s greatest ever player. However, there is no room for anything like that if one claimed that he is the greatest penalty-taker the club has ever had. Scoring 46 penalties out of 57 wearing the Blue shirt, there is little doubt that he was indeed the best spot-kick taker the London club ever had.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic

He is Zlatan! Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Scoring impossible goals, winning league titles in different leagues, owning journalist with quirky remarks, writing an autobiography that is filled with hilarious contexts, fighting with teammates, and scoring from the spot. These are some of the things the Swede excels at.

We all know his ability to score and entertain fans. And the same is the case when standing up to take penalties. Till February 2015, he had taken 62 penalties in his career and scored 54 of them – displaying an accuracy of 88% while doing it, it is more than enough proof that he can kungfu kick the ball into the net.

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Eden Hazard

After Frank Lampard’s departure, Eden Hazard has become the face of Chelsea. The world-class attacker has led the Blues attack from the front and it is because of his talent that Chelsea’s attack is so feared.

Not only has the forefront of Chelsea gone to him, but also the penalty-taking duties. The Belgian has taken 17 league penalties and scored all 17 of them. The only time he ever missed a penalty was against Maribor in the Champions League. If he keeps this up, he will not only take the tag of the best penalty-taker ever for Chelsea, but also their greatest ever player.

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Edited by Staff Editor

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