Ronaldo, Messi, Ceni… See list of top 10 best penalty takers in football

 Ronaldo, Messi, Ceni… See list of top 10 best penalty takers in football

Robert Lewandowski taking a spot kick for Bayern Munich

Your team is playing a 1-1 draw in a league decider game and the referee just awarded a penalty against your opponent in 90+3 minutes, who will be your best bet to score?

You see, Each footballer is perfect in specific skills, like free kicks, corners, or dribbling. While penalties are crucial set pieces, not all great attackers are great penalty takers. Not all good footballers are good spot-kick takers. Even the legendary Lionel Messi has missed a significant number of penalties.

Players who excel at penalties hold a unique position in their teams.  This list showcases the top 10 penalty takers in football history, ranked by their career penalty conversion rates, excluding shoot-outs.

To qualify for this list, players must have taken at least 40 penalties, demonstrating their expertise and reliability in this critical aspect of the game.

Top 10 best penalty-takers in the world:

1. Matt Le Tissier

Matt Le Tissier is undoubtedly one of the most exceptional penalty takers in football history as he holds the highest penalty conversion rate in the Premier League till date.

Matt Le Tissier

During his career with Southampton, he took an impressive 43 penalties and achieved a flawless record, converting every single one. His perfect penalty record includes 25 successful conversions in the Premier League, cementing his status as a legendary penalty taker.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has missed over 29 penalties, but he has still scored more penalties than many players in the history of the round leather game.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s staggering tally of over 163 penalty goals showcases his unrelenting accuracy and confidence from the spot. As a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and one of the greatest players in football history, he has consistently proven himself to be a master of precision and clutch performance, making him nearly unbeatable from 12 yards out.

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3. Alan Shearer 

The Premier League‘s legendary goalscorer, Alan Shearer, was a penalty-taking mastermind. His impressive stats reveal a staggering 72 successful conversions from the spot, with only six misses. Shearer’s exceptional accuracy and consistency from 12 yards out have cemented his status as one of the greatest penalty takers in modern football history, with Newcastle United benefiting greatly from his expertise.

4. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski is a legendary striker and he has built an incredible career with an impressive goal tally. He has played for three of the biggest clubs in football history, including Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, and currently, Barcelona. “Lewangoalski” scored most of all his goals during his eight-years at Bayern Munich.

His penalty record is equally impressive, with 79 goals from 88 attempts, achieving an exceptional 90% success rate. This feat solidifies his position among the top penalty takers in the world, showcasing his unwavering precision and skill from the spot.

5. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals. During his playing days, he was a versatile and accomplished midfielder who excelled in various aspects of the game, including penalty-taking.

He scored an impressive 60 penalties throughout his career, with the majority coming during his time at Chelsea and his national team, England, as well as a few during his spells at West Ham United and New York City FC.

5. Marco Van Basten

The Ballon d’Or winner was renowned for his exceptional skill and technique, showcased by his iconic volley at Euro 88. Beyond his spectacular goals, he was also an accomplished penalty taker, converting 51 out of 55 penalties throughout his career, playing for Ajax, Milan, and the Netherlands.

His precision and reliability from the penalty spot were key assets to his teams.

6. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes is a fantastic attacking midfielder from Portugal that currently plays for one of the biggest football clubs in the world, Manchester United.

Bruno Fernandes scoring one of his numerous penalties for Manchester United

Fernandes has consistently demonstrated his expertise from the penalty spot, converting an impressive 54 out of 60 attempts, resulting in a remarkable 90% success rate.

This exceptional accuracy has made him one of the most feared penalty takers in the sport, providing a significant advantage for his teams.

7. Harry Kane

Harry Kane is a world class English striker that plays for German giants, Bayern Munich. He won the Bundesliga golden boot award in 2023-24 season but Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen ensured he has to wait a bit longer for a trophy.

Kane has taken 85 penalties in his incredible professional career, scoring 74 goals in those 85 instances. His current scoring percentage is close to 87%.

8.  Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, has consistently demonstrated his exceptional skills on the field.

Among his many talents, Messi has also proven himself to be a highly reliable penalty taker. With a remarkable career record of more than 110 goals from above 141 penalty attempts, he boasts an impressive conversion rate of approximately 75%.

This achievement is truly remarkable, especially considering his long and illustrious career, cementing his status as one of the all-time greats.

9. Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland, a prodigious talent at just 23, has swiftly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the football World. Building on his impressive goal-scoring exploits at Borussia Dortmund, Haaland has continued to dazzle at Manchester City.

His penalty-taking expertise is particularly remarkable, boasting a stellar record of 45 goals from 50 attempts, translating to an exceptional 90% success rate. This impressive feat cements his status as one of the most feared and skilled penalty takers in the game today.

10. Rogerio Ceni

Rogerio Ceni, a Brazilian goalkeeper, made a name for himself as a penalty-saving specialist, but what’s even more remarkable is his impressive record as a penalty taker. Defying conventional norms, Ceni, a goalkeeper, scored an astonishing 47 penalties throughout his career.

Rogerio saving a penalty

His boldness in stepping up to take penalties is admirable, and although he missed five, the mental image of him sprinting back to his goal after those misses is comical. His unique ability to excel at both saving and scoring penalties sets him apart as  a true legend of the game.

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