Neymar, Pires and Beyond: 5 of the Worst Penalties Ever Taken
His spot kick in a friendly against Colombia this week cleared the crossbar by at least 10 yards, and has been called one of the worst penalties ever taken by several media outlets.
The 20-year-old Santos forward, however, can seek solace in the fact that he is not the only professional footballer to embarrass himself from 12 yards. Here are five of the worst penalties ever taken.
Pat Nevin vs. Manchester City, 1984
Winger Pat Nevin enjoyed a 19-year career with the likes of Everton, Tranmere and Kilmarnock, but his place in the canon of football history was cemented while playing for Chelsea on a cold November night in 1984.
The Blues were 4-0 up in a League Cup tie with Manchester City when Nevin attempted a fashionable-at-the-time short run-up.
Frank Lampard was six at the time of this game, but probably still could have given it more power than the Scotsman did.
Robert Pires vs. Manchester City, 2005
Having already scored a penalty against Manchester City during their October 2005 Premier League meeting at Highbury, Robert Pires attempted some French fancy with teammate Thierry Henry when the Gunners were awarded a second spot kick.
The cocky attempt to pass the penalty to Henry didn't quite work out, and resulted in a free kick being awarded to the Citizens.
Neymar vs. Colombia, 2012
Even one of the greatest footballers in the world can have an off day, as proven by Brazilian wunderkind Neymar in a friendly against Colombia this week.
The precocious striker sent the ball into Row Z, blaming "the grass" for the baffling upwards trajectory.
The game took place at The New Meadowlands, home of the New York Giants and Jets, so perhaps the spiky-haired striker thought he was supposed to put the ball above the crossbar?
William vs. Fluminense, 2006
Destined to give Botafogo a victory in a 2006 Copa Sudamericana penalty shootout against Fluminense, Brazilian forward William Xavier Barbosa instead took one of the weakest penalties of all time.
After William struck the ball, the keeper had time to dive in one direction, grab a coffee from the refreshment stand, head home to watch an episode of The Wire and then return to collect the bobbling shot.
For some reason, William fell out of favour soon after this incident, and was sent on loan to Japan the following season.
Peter Devine vs. Whitley Bay, 1991
Poor Peter Devine. This spot kick from the 1991 HFS Northern Premier League Division One Cup Final may have slipped under the radar had it not been featured on countless blooper VHS compilations in the 90s.
The Lancaster City winger entered the annals of awful-penalty-dom with this awful miss against Whitley Bay. Devine appears to stumble during his run-up—Neymar wasn't even born when this game took place, but if this was the kind of shoddy surface he was dealing with in his recent blunder, we might have bought the excuse.