5 keepers who have nailed high pressure pens – and a few who feel Courtois’ pain

Thibaut Courtois’ penalty taking technique on Sunday may have been indistinguishable from the way he puts his boot through a goal kick, but it’s not true of all goalkeepers.

While we wait for the Belgian’s Community Shield blast to re-enter Earth’s orbit, here’s the number ones who proved they’re as good with their feet as they are with their hands.

5 – Rogério Ceni

With 132 goals in 23 seasons for São Paulo, Ceni is the highest scoring keeper in history.

That is probably why he had the audacity to try a ‘Panenka’ in a shoot out against his club’s arch rivals, Corinthians, in the semi-finals of the 2013 Campeonato Paulista.

Notice how he had the class to help his opposite number up after scoring. They still lost:

4 – Ricardo

The 79 times capped Portuguese goalkeeper saved a penalty and then scored the winner against England in the Euro 2004 quarter finals. 

Ricardo, who started life as an outfielder, had pre-arranged with manager Luiz Philipe Scolari that he would take the 6th penalty in any shootout.

His decision to remove his gloves before facing Darius Vassell’s penalty was a spur of the moment effort to distract his opponent – and it worked:

3 – Sarah Bouhaddi

The winners of the latest women’s Champions League final between Lyon and PSG was decided by two spot kicks from keepers.

The shoot out was poised at 6-6 when PSG keeper Katarzyna Kiedrzynek stepped up and missed. Her opposite number went next and made no mistake:

2- Boubacar Barry

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final between the Ivory Coast and Ghana was also settled by goalkeepers.

Barry saved two penalties before overcoming cramp to end an epic penalty shootout which was poised at 8-8 when he stepped up.

It was a fairytale ending for the 86 times capped Ivorian had been dropped in qualifying and was only drafted into the first XI for the final after an injury to his replacement:

1 – Manuel Neuer

The sweeper keeper has set new standards for goalkeepers when it comes to footwork, so it was no surprise to see him step up to take penalty number three for Bayern Munich against Chelsea in 2012 the Champions League final.

Neuer showed Courtois how its done by sweeping his spot kick low past Peter Cech, but it was all down hill from there for Munich, with Ivica Olić and Bastian Schweinsteiger missing the next two.

Penalty misses

However, it might be of some comfort to Courtois that two of these goalkeepers are also among the goalkeepers who have missed spot kicks…

3 – Rogério Ceni

When you take as many penalties as Ceni, it’s inevitable that you’re going to fail to find the net on a few occasions.

Especially when you’re facing Manuel Neuer, as he did in the 2013 Audi Cup:

2 – Manuel Neuer 

Neuer had his own disappointment in Bayern Munich’s 2015 DFB Pokal semi-final shootout against Borussia Dortmund.

Munich crashed out after Neuer hit the crossbar – but Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso and Mario Gotze had all missed before him.

1 – Gianluigi Donnarumma

The Italian goalkeeping prodigy had a bittersweet professional debut for AC Milan in a 2015 pre-season friendly against Real Madrid.

A then 16 year old Donnarumma saved a spot kick from Toni Kroos before missing his own.

Courtois’ record of having scored a penalty (vs PSG in a 2015 pre-season friendly) and now missed one against Chelsea doesn’t look so bad in this context.

He might learn a thing or two from the masters about how to convert a penalty under pressure, but even they miss one once in a while.

Editors’ note: I was once allowed to take a penalty for my university team and missed.

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