Top 10 Best Penalty-Takers In The World

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 27.6.2023.     Updated: 1.3.2024.


Some say that it's a coin flip, a lottery, yet these 10 best penalty-takers in the world constantly have the winning tickets. Taking the harshest punishment in football is a game in itself, and these footballers below are the artists at it.

To ensure some validity, we drew the line at including only players who have score more than 30 penalty goals in their careers. That is, 31 being the cut-off point. Of course, penalty shootouts are not included in the count.

This ensured that in mid-2023, Sergio Ramos was barely edged out the first time we did our rankings, as the Spaniard bagged 30 out of 35 taken, for a big percentage of 85.71%. Yet the defender returned to Sevilla, scored more and has now leapfrogged many on the rankings.

While Kylian Mbappe showed just how much a half-season can be worth, becoming eligible halfway into the 2023/2024 season but still not making the cut this time around. Mbappe went from 29 scored penalties, to 39. However, he missed two penalties and hence failed to skip over the man whose duties he took on - Neymar. Although the Brazilian didn’t make the cut in the top 10 either way.

Only two men have been demoted out of the rankings since the count started - Mo Salah and Neymar.

While Salah did score seven new penalties, he missed three and his overall record is 39 made out of 49 attempted. A percentage of 79.59%, coming down from 82.05%.

Neymar dropped two percentages nearly, going from 83.14% to 81.31%, scoring 74 out of the 91 penalties taken.

Best penalty takers in the world by percentage

Another thing that might shock the readers is that Leo Messi is not even amongst the top 10 penalty kickers in football! Having missed 31 of the 140 penalties he has taken, Leo has 77.85% conversion rate.

One player was a lock in the 10 best penalty-takers in the world - Eden Hazard. Having scored 49, and missed 8 he has a success ratio of 84.48%. Yet he has retired. The same goes for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was even better with 85 scored from 97 tries, an 87.62% conversion ratio, yet also retired this season.

10 best penalty kick takers in the world

We are counting all the penalties scored in the career, for clubs and country, but are listing the current sides of these top penalty kickers.

#10 Karim Benzema (Al-Ittihad & France) - 82%

Karim Benzema

The 36-year-old Karim Benzema has scored 41 penalty kicks from 50 attempts for a conversion rate of nearly 82%. Although that number would've been greater had he not be discharged (dishonourably) from the French national team for the majority of his career. Hence, he only scored three penalties in international games, four for Olympique Lyon, and the rest for Real. Before he came to Al-Ittihad where he scored two out of the three he took. Benz missed three penalties for his NT and four for Los Blancos.

#9 Ciro Immobile (Lazio & Italy) - 82.6%

Ciro Immobile

Initially, Ciro Immobile was the first man outside of the top 10 rankings for the best penalty kick takers in the world. Unsurprisingly, as he had several seasons where his finishing from the spot was abysmal. Yet the Italian bounced back and hasn't missed one of his four penalties in the first half of 2023/2024. The veteran has scored 76 penalties out of 92 taken, with four of his misses coming in the 2020/2021 season.

#8 Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr & Portugal) - 84.73%

Cristiano Ronaldo

Yet another list that has been topped by Cristiano Ronaldo - although not as dominated by him as the highest jumps in football history ranking. Considering he has scored by far the most penalties out of these 10 best penalty-takers in the world - 161 of them, being placed number eight is a massive achievement. Although he did drop down from being seventh, CR7’s percentage actually improved. It’s just that others have been even better. Missing only 29 attempts. Cristiano scored his first penalty in 2005 in League Cup against WBA and hasn't slowed down since.

#7 Jorginho (Arsenal & Italy) - 85.51%

Jorginho

The man whose penalty-taking you would recognize even when recreated by stick figures. Jorginho has a trademark hop to his step when taking the spot kicks which made him the consensus most secure penalty taker for a few years. He has scored 42 goals from the spot, missing only eight times, three for Italy, four for Chelsea, and one for Napoli. Jorginho has moved to Arsenal in the winter of 2023 where he is yet to prove his penalty-taking credentials.

#6 Romelu Lukaku (Roma & Belgium) - 85.71%

Romelu Lukaku

Big Rom might not be your first though when thinking about the best penalty-takers in the world as he is not known for his composure in-game. Yet the numbers don't lie and Romelu has bagged 36 of the 42 penalties he has taken. A left-footed forward, the last time Lukaku missed was in 2017, when he was a Manchester United player. Since then, he was perfect after 25 duels with the goalkeepers.

#5 Harry Kane (Bayern Munich & England) - 86.41%

Harry Kane

The man who did it all for Tottenham: scored, assisted, led, and shot penalties. Now doing it for Bayern Munich and England. The 29-year-old Harry Kane scored 70 penalties in his career, missing only 11. Unfortunately for him, one of the misses was against France in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals, even though he already scored from the spot in the same game. One of four misses he has for England, the rest were for THFC.

#4 Sergio Ramos (Sevilla & Spain) - 86.48%

Sergio Ramos

A centre-back who made it on the list of best penalty-takers. Sergio Ramos was just outside our conditions for eligibility with 30 penalties scored, yet he moved to Sevilla and got the duty of a penalty-taker again. Scoring two more so far, 32 in total, Ramos has only missed five penalties in his career - four for Spain and one for Real Madrid. The lone representative of defenders proves that penalties are an art of their own, not reserved only for those shooting the ball for a living.

#3 Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United & Portugal) - 89.47%

Bruno Fernandes

Formerly ranked #1 on our list of the best penalty takers in the world, the margins are so thin at the high level that only one miss made Bruno drop down in his ratio. Now, the Portuguese has 51 penalties scored and 57 total attempted. Bruno can be known as Mister Penalty. Bruno has even begun taking spot kicks on international duty, even though he shares the shirt with Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s how secure and cold-blooded he is from the spot. But not the best anymore.

#2 Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona & Poland) - 89.53%

Robert Lewandowski

Secure as they calm from the spot, Robert Lewandowski has scored the second most penalties after Cristiano Ronaldo - 77. In his short time with Barcelona, RL9 bagged four and missed one spot kick. The Polish forward has missed only nine attempts in his career, two for his home country, five for Bayern Munich, and one for each Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. Lewa’s credit is that his penalty-taking isn’t even talked about. We all just take it for granted and as a given. Yet being amongst top three penalty takers in numbers and percentages shouldn’t be taken lightly. Especially for a player whose big-moment nerves are criticized.

#1 Erling Haaland (Manchester City & Norway) - 91.11%

Erling Haaland

Even though he is only 23 and has been on the scene far shorter than his future main competitor Mbappe, Erling Haaland has already scored way more penalties. In 45 attempts, the left-footed Norweigan has bagged 41 goals, missing twice for BVB, and twice for City. Clearly his zen celebrations are not just for the show and the young centre-forward has a clear mind that enables him to be the best penalty taker in the world. On top of everything else. It's another reason on the long list why the Norweigan is compared to a robot, a machine, a terminator. Mechanically precise.




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