Five of the best: Penalty takers

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Nothing is certain in football, but a penalty kick is just
about the best chance a team can get of scoring a goal. One shot from 12 yards, 
the kick taker against the goal-keeper.

Yet under pressure so many are missed. Here, we take a look at five of the best penalty takers in the world today and their favourite techniques.
Mario Balotelli

Despite ‘Super Mario’s’ questionable temperament, on and
 indeed off the field, one thing that the Italian cannot be questioned for is his
 ability from the spot. Whether it’s the first or last minute of a match 
Balotelli is as reliable a penalty taker as there is and his 100% career record
from 12 yards proves it.

The AC Milan striker likes to turn his penalty opportunities
into a psychological battle and favours a slow, stuttered run up in order to tempt
the ‘keeper into moving early allowing Balotelli to slot his penalty the other

Leighton Baines

The Everton left-back is stellar from any dead ball 
situation and it’s no different from the penalty spot either.
He’s another who hasn’t missed from the spot in his career
 and his technique of taking his penalties into the top half of the goal
 probably contributes to that as its more difficult for a goalkeeper to save a
well placed penalty high into the net.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Real Madrid forward might have missed his penalty in
 Manchester United’s Champions League victory against Chelsea but when it
 matters he’s usually pretty deadly from the spot.
Ronaldo doesn’t favour a side and has experimented with 
stuttered run-ups but his ferocious shooting power and pin point accuracy is a
deadly combination from 12 yards.

Frank Lampard

He might have missed one at home to Hull on Sunday but Lampard 
is still one of the finest penalty takers in the world today.
Lampard favours hitting the ball low and hard into either corner
 (although he seems to go to the keepers right more often) but Lampard has hit 
pretty much every penalty in the book and has put away the vast majority over 
the course of his long penalty taking career.

Rickie Lambert

The Southampton striker is simply unstoppable from 12-yards.
 After converting against West Brom last weekend the newly capped England 
international has a remarkable 32 from 32 record for the Saints.
Lambert is composed from the spot owing to his fantastic 
striking technique; he likes to hit his penalties hard and with precision into 
the corners and has full confidence to go for it anywhere in the goal probably
 thanks to his unblemished record.

Honourable mentions
Lionel Messi, Steven Gerrard, Didier Drogba, Robin van
 Persie, Andrea Pirlo, Mark Noble, Mikel Arteta, Xavi, Robert Lewandowski

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Rickie Lambert

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