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5 Best Penalty Takers You Would Want for a Shootout

Matthew CelentanoFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2012

5 Best Penalty Takers You Would Want for a Shootout

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    Penalty shootouts are, in my opinion, one of the most controversial aspects of World Football.

    After 120 minutes and still no winner, rarely does a penalty shootout decide the better team in a match—rather, it reflects dead ball specialty, composure and gives the goalkeeper a much greater say in the outcome of the match than he should have.

    Nonetheless, here are the five best penalty takers you would want your team to have for a shootout.

Lionel Messi

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    Maybe he grabs the headlines more with his silky dribbles and stunning goals, but do you think the best player in the world misses from the spot?

    You thought right. As Barcelona's penalty taker, Messi doesn't let the nerve get to him and almost slots the ball home with ease from 12 yards out. Compared to the types of goal he scores, penalties may seem like a walk in the park, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want him on my team for a shootout.

Robin Van Persie

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    Known to be a set-piece specialist, it comes as a shock when Robin Van Persie doesn't put the ball in the back of the net from the penalty spot.

    The Dutchman proved that Arsenal has one of the best penalty takers (and players) in the world when he didn't succumb to the pressure of the Gunners' two penalties in their comeback against Aston Villa, as well as his recent spot kick against AC Milan in the Champions League. 

    If he can score goals like this with his left foot, I'm pretty sure he can hammer it home from 12 yards. 

Mario Balotelli

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    Weren't expecting this one, were you?

    According to Joe Hart, Mario Balotelli is the best penalty taker in the world. And why not? The Italian forward has scored every penalty he's taken for Manchester City this season, and one could say that his incredibly high confidence level means he shrugs off pressure and just puts the ball in the back of the net.

    Get ready, because Balotelli could be the world's next best penalty taker—and surely one of the next best players too if he stops the shenanigans. 

Frank Lampard

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    Frank Lampard may be aging, but he's still one of the best in the business when it comes to penalties.

    He just doesn't miss. Lampard always seems to keep his nerve and put it in the back of the net, both for club and country. He stays cool and keeps his shot both accurate and powerful.

    You'd have to be a madman to bet against him missing from the spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Really thought I'd make a list of the best penalty takers and not include Ronaldo?

    Surely the best free-kick taker in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo also happens to be the best penalty taker in the world, with his "rocket" of a shot a sure bet to puncture the back of the net when this man steps up.

    He may be cocky as hell, but he's got every right to be.

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