Ronaldo, Messi, Zlatan - Who has scored the most penalties in the 21st Century?

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Who is the best penalty taker in world football right now?

Robert Lewandowski always seems to score from the spot, but then so do the likes of Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard, Neymar and Harry Kane.

Then you have other clinical, but *slightly* less fashionable, spot-kick takers like James Milner and Mark Noble.

However, if there’s one player you’d want taking a penalty for your team above any other footballer on the planet, it’s surely Cristiano Ronaldo.

The man possesses nerves of absolute steal.

But does the Portuguese superstar hold the record for the most penalties scored during the 21st Century?

Transfermarkt.com have crunched the penalty stats of every player to have featured in Europe’s top five leagues since 2000.

The figure next to the following 50 players is the number of goals they’ve scored in all competitions.

50. Robin van Persie - 24

49. Adrian Mutu - 24

48. Mikel Arteta - 24

47. Thomas Muller - 25

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46. Domenico Berardi - 25

45. Arturo Vidal - 25

44. Raul Tamudo - 26

43. Neymar - 26

42. Samuel Eto’o - 26

41. Cristiano Lucarelli - 26

40. Harry Kane - 26

Both Neymar and Kane will surely end their respective careers much further up their list. Both love a penalty.

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39. Alexandre Lacazette - 26

38. Thierry Henry - 26

37. Leighton Baines - 26

36. Iago Aspas - 26

35. Andriy Shevchenko - 26

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34. Pauleta - 26

33. Olivier Monterrubio - 27

32. Alan Shearer - 27

31. Giampaolo Pazzini - 27

30. Alvaro Negredo - 28

Alan Shearer was one of the best penalty takers we’ve ever seen, so it’s a little surprising to discover that the Newcastle United and England legend ‘only’ netted 27 spot-kicks.

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29. James Milner - 28

28. Danny Murphy - 28

27. Kaka - 29

26. Wayne Rooney - 31

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25. Dani Parejo - 31

24. Sejad Salihovic - 31

23. Mark Noble - 31

22. Giuseppe Rossi - 32

21. Mario Balotelli - 32

20. Luis Figo - 33

We mentioned Noble and Milner a little earlier. Noble has successfully converted three more penalties than the Liverpool midfielder.

Notice Mario Balotelli there, too. The Italian is usually ice-cold from the spot.

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19. Diego Milito - 33

18. Fabio Quagliarella - 34

17. Aritz Aduriz - 35

16. Ciro Immobile - 35

15. Eden Hazard - 36

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14. David Villa - 37

13. Ruud van Nistelrooy - 39

12. Robert Lewandowski - 39

11. Antonio di Natale - 41

There are some outstanding current and former forwards here. Ruud van Nistelrooy was usually so reliable at penalties, although he did famously miss that one against Arsenal back in 2003.

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10. Sergio Aguero - 41

9. Ronaldinho - 44

8. Alessandro Del Piero - 44

7. Steven Gerrard - 46

6. Edinson Cavani - 48

5. Frank Lampard - 50

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4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 64

3. Lionel Messi - 75

2. Francesco Totti - 75

1. Cristiano Ronaldo - 114

Blimey. Ronaldo has scored 39 more penalties than any other player since 2000. Extraordinary.

While his haters may call him ‘Penaldo’, Cristiano deserves nothing but praise for his remarkable record from the spot.

This is proof that he’s the man for the big moments. The 35-year-old doesn’t know the meaning of the word pressure.

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Lionel Messi’s record is also impressive and the Barcelona star will move ahead of Totti next season.

But he has missed his fair share of spot-kicks; and if you had to choose one or the other when it came to taking a penalty, most football fans would surely opt for Ronaldo.

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