Contrary to what many people believe, taking a penalty is not an easy job. You can have all the ability in the world, hit rockets from outside the box and trivelas from obscene angles. But some players simply don't have the skill to do it from 12 yards when time stands still.
Goalkeepers are always equipped and ready to cover one side of the netting during penalties. The taker gives them the eye and sends them the wrong way before passing it home. The alternative is to blast it into the back of the net to give the keeper no chance.
Nowadays, the rate with which penalties are awarded has increased quite a bit. Therefore, the importance of a competent penalty taker in the team is huge.
With nerves of steel, laser-point precision and a poker face that would leave the keeper clueless, here we take a look at the:
5 best penalty-takers in world football right now
#5 Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)
The most expensive player in football history, Neymar earns fifth spot on our list of best penalty takers in the world right now.
Neymar recently emerged as one of the premier penalty-kick takers while with PSG, while that was not necessarily the case during his time with FC Barcelona. Neymar has missed just two penalties so far at PSG. On the other hand, Neymar failed to convert five penalties during his final two seasons with FC Barcelona.
Nevertheless, Neymar has been as reliable as one can be when it comes to taking penalties. There can be many reasons why the Brazilian is so efficient in this aspect of the game. From his sheer confidence to gradual build-up in attempts, Neymar just had his way, calmly slotting in penalty kicks for key goals.
So far, Neymar has attempted 76 penalties in his career and has managed to slot in 62 of them.
#4 Jorginho (Chelsea)
Jorginho had an incredible 2020-21 season as he managed to win the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea and was a crucial part of the Italy side that won Euro 2020. He followed that up by winning the UEFA Super League with the Blues and was subsequently named the 2020-21 UEFA Player of the Year.
While he did not have the best of starts to the season, the arrival of Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea saw the Italian become an integral part of the Blues' side. He was often the main link between defense and attack, helping his team make quick transitions after recovering the ball in deep areas.
While Jorginho's game might not center on scoring goals or providing assists, his ability from the penalty spot is second to none. He runs up to the ball and does a little hop which sends the goalkeeper leaning to one side and then Jorginho strokes the ball to the other side to seal the deal.
The Italian has a near perfect record from the penalty spot, scoring 29 and missing only four, although three of those misses have come in the previous campaign.
Nevertheless, the Italian is still the No. 1 penalty taker for club and country and his unique ability from the spot definitely earns him a position on this list.
#3 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
While Cristiano Ronaldo has been prolific from the penalty spot, the sheer number of penalties he has attempted has led to him missing some penalty kicks. This has subsequently reduced his conversion rate. So the Portugal star drops to number three on our list.
Nevertheless, the former Juventus and Real Madrid star continues to be prolific from the spot. Ronaldo took 14 penalties last season and missed only two of them. The 36-year-old has taken several crucial penalties in his career and has always been on target, never losing his cool in decisive moments.
So far in his career, Ronaldo has attempted a staggering 166 penalties for club and country and has missed only 27 of them. The stats prove how composed the forward has been while taking penalties.
Ronaldo recently moved to Manchester United after spending three seasons at Juventus. The Portugal international will definitely be hoping to make a mark on his return to Old Trafford.
#2 Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern Munich)
Apart from being one of the deadliest strikers in world football right now, Robert Lewandowski is also one of the most reliable players from the penalty spot. He has arguably been the best striker in Europe for quite a while now and continues to clock ridiculous numbers.
Lewandowski converted ten of his 11 penalty kicks last season for Bayern Munich. What sets Lewandowski apart is his deceptive run-up to the kick. Lewandowski more often than not slots the ball into one of the corners and gives the goalkeeper no chance.
Lewandowski's prowess from the penalty spot has seen him take 68 penalties in his career and he has only missed six of those.
#1 Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Bruno Fernandes has arguably been the best penalty taker in Europe over the last season or two. Having a similar style to Jorginho when taking a penalty, Fernandes often resorts to the big hop right before striking the ball.
Thanks to his technical prowess, it is not a difficult thing for him to stroke the ball into the net once the goalkeeper goes the wrong way.
Fernandes has completely transformed Manchester United since arriving at the club in 2020. The Portugal international has had an immediate impact, with his drive, creativity, goalscoring ability and leadership quality all proving to be crucial for the Red Devils.
The 26-year-old had a brilliant 2020-21 campaign for Manchester United, scoring 28 goals and providing 17 assists in all competitions for the Red Devils. He also managed to score 13 penalties last season, missing only one.
So far in his career, Bruno Fernandes has taken 44 penalties and only missed three of them. With the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, it will be interesting to see who will be the designated penalty-taker for the Red Devils.