Throughout the modern era of football, many world-class talents have demonstrated their abilities from the penalty spot on numerous occasions. While it may appear easy to fire the ball into the back of the net from 12 yards, some have established themselves as being a cut above the rest, having generated remarkable scoring rates.
As a result, we’re going to take a look at three of the best-ever penalty takers in world football.
No goalscoring list would be complete without the inclusion of former Blackburn Rovers, England and Newcastle United striker, Alan Shearer. There can be no doubting that the now 49-year-old is one of the most prolific forwards in Premier League history, as he still holds the record for the most goals in English football’s top-flight, having amassed 260 goals over 14 seasons.
In addition to the above record, Shearer also boasts the most penalty goals since the Premier League was founded back in 1992. According to talkSPORT, the man with eleven league hat-tricks netted 56 of his 67 spot-kicks, giving him a conversion rate of 83.6 percent, which, even though it is impressive, isn’t the highest of any player from 12 yards.
It will come as no surprise that a player of the quality of Cristiano Ronaldo is more than capable of beating any goalkeeper from the penalty spot. During his career, the Juventus attacker has scored 118 penalties, with 16 of those coming in the UEFA Champions League. However, because of the sheer number of spot-kicks that the Portugal captain takes, he’s also missed his fair share. Since the 2006-07 campaign, the five-time Champions League winner has failed to convert on 22 occasions.
Interestingly, only one goalkeeper has ever denied Ronaldo more than once, which, according to Transfermarkt, is Diego Alves, who stopped the 34-year old in two separate La Liga matches, one during the 2009-10 season and the other back in 2014-15. Because of the Portuguese winger’s prowess from the spot, he is currently placed at 5/1 with sports events and odds at William Hill to claim Serie A’s golden boot award come the end of the season as of January 23rd, ahead of the likes of Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku.
Along with becoming one of the world’s best strikers of a ball from the spot, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner is also well-known for being a free-kick specialist. Across the numerous leagues that the Portuguese international has played in, including international appearances, Ronaldo has scored, as of the time of writing, 40 goals from dead-ball situations over the last 13 years.
Matt Le Tissier
Unlike Shearer, Le Tissier does hold the record for the best conversion rate of any player in Premier League history. Although the statistics themselves are slightly misleading due to the fact that approximately half of the former Southampton striker’s penalties were taken before the emergence of the Premier League, his overall return is still clear of anyone else.
Over the course of his career, the now 51-year-old who works in punditry boasted an almost-perfect record from 12 yards, scoring 47 out of 48 spot-kicks. In regard to Premier League penalties, he missed only one of his 25, giving him a conversion rate of 96.2 percent.
Many believe that Le Tissier is one of the most talented players to ever grace English football and, along with scoring 100 goals in 270 Premier League appearances, he also contributed 64 assists, and is one of only a handful of players to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of a season.
Three Exceptional Talents
While there are, of course, many other players with high conversion rates from the penalty spot, few have scored as many and missed as few as the names listed above. Although taking spot-kicks may appear simple, the likes of Le Tissier, Ronaldo, and Shearer have mastered the art of both power and placement from 12 yards, making them some of the best for the big moments.