Date: 14th February 2021 at 3:40pm
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It sounds easy, but it is perhaps the most nerve-wracking, anxiety inducing and mentally difficult task in football – taking a penalty.

Even though it is merely having a free shot at the goalkeeper from 12 yards with absolutely no physical pressure from the opposition, it’s still something players of all qualities fail to achieve.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been smashing his head against a brick wall this season, due to his fleet of illustrious and fantastic stars failing to convert from the spot at times.

Spanish midfielder Rodri was very fortunate to not see his dragged, weak penalty saved by Huge Lloris against Spurs, and the City manager did not hide his displeasure, once again hinting he may give his goalkeeper that responsibility.

Rodri only just beat Hugo Lloris from the spot.

“Is Rodri the taker now? No,” Guardiola told reporters.

“I would say I admire the courage to take the penalty, but it was not a good penalty.

“I am not laughing; I am concerned about this.

“We will have a real specialist to take them with quality. We have to practice.

“When I talk about Ederson and penalties, you see his assist, 60-70 yards, well then he will score from 12 yards.”

With Ederson possibly set to take on that responsibility from 12 yards, we thought this would be a good time to look at the best five goalkeepers to have assumed responsibilities from the spot.

Rogerio Ceni

The Brazilian scored over 70 goals from the spot

The Brazilian goalkeeper was just as good at scoring goals as he was from saving them.

He scored 70 penalties in a career spanning an incredible 1,238 appearances for Brazilian side Sao Paolo.

As well as being a specialist from 12 yards, he was even penalty outside the penalty area, proving himself to be an incredibly adept free-kick specialist, hitting the net 61 times from dead-ball situations.

Rene Higuita

The Colombian goalkeeper was known as the Madman and he lived up to his name in a variety of ways.

His crazy hair and his crazy goalkeeper kits were one thing, but it was his playing style which stunned the football world.

He will perhaps be most remembered as the creator of the famous ‘Scorpion Kick,’ which he debuted against England in 1995, but he also fancied himself from the penalty spot.

He took two penalties in his career and scored both against CD America de Cali in a 3-2 victory for Atletico Nacional and for Colombia against Venezuela in a 4-2 victory in the Copa America.

 Thibaut Courtois 

Courtois ballooned his penalty over the crossbar

If you are in your garden and a football suddenly hits you in the back of your head, that is not from your neighbour that is now Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibault Courtois’ penalty from the 2017 Community Shield.

The Belgian goalkeeper took two penalties in his time with Chelsea and they could not have been more contrasting.

While the technique and style were the same, the executions were very far apart.

His first penalty proved to be the decisive one in a pre-season friendly against PSG, and Courtois stepped up and almost took the net of with a missile of a strike into the top corner.

Two seasons later in a penalty shootout against Arsenal in the 2017 Community Shield, Courtois fancied his chances from the spot again despite the much higher stakes.

The approach and the technique were the same, except his missile of a penalty went into orbit, rather than the top corner and the ball could still be travelling in the air.

Jordan Pickford

Pickford took one of the best penalties against Switzerland

The Everton and England goalkeeper has his critics, but no one can deny he is a master at penalties.

His penalty save against Carlos Bacca in the 2018 World Cup round of 16 tie against Colombia will live long in the memories of all England fans.

However, the last penalty shootout victory for the Three Lions will also be remembered for much different circumstances.

The penalty shootout in the 2019 Nations League third place play off against Switzerland was a masterclass in penalty taking with Pickford’s penalty save against Josip Drmic being the only missed penalty out of 12 spot-kicks.

Pickford was not only the hero between the sticks for Gareth Southgate’s side, he also took one of the best of the shootout.

The Everton goalkeeper raised eyebrows when he stepped up to take the often decisive fifth penalty, but he made it look easy by slamming the penalty, left footed into the corner.

Joe Hart

Hart has a 100% success rate at taking penalties

Hart has saved penalties from the likes of Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho, but he has also proved himself to be a worthy penalty taker when called upon.

In 2009, Hart stepped up and scored against Sweden in the Under-21 semi-final, smashing a terrifying penalty into the roof of the net leaving the keeper with no chance.

His best penalty came in a friendly match against Roma for Manchester City in 2015.

Hart’s penalty was still rising when it smashed the side netting in the top left-hand corner and left the Roma keeper looking like he was extinguishing flames on his goal line.

 
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