Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar: The worst Panenka penalties in history

  • Kobe Tong

Spain vs Switzerland was meant to be an evening of celebration for Sergio Ramos.

The UEFA Nations League clash marked the Real Madrid legend becoming the most capped European footballer in history, surpassing the 176 caps gathered by Gianluigi Buffon for Italy.

However, instead of being remembered as Ramos’ 177th appearances for Las Rojas, it will go down in history as the evening he missed two penalties in the same half of football.

Ramos misses TWO penalties

That’s right. Ramos is rightly regarded as one of the best spot-kick takers in the sport and he went into the Switzerland clash with a stunning streak of 25 consecutive conversions to his name.

So, you could imagine the shock when Yann Sommer brought that purple patch to an end with a plunging save to his right-hand side in the 57th minute, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Spain were awarded another penalty with barely 10 minutes to play at 1-0 down and considering his impeccable record, it made sense that Ramos would be given the chance for redemption.


Botched Panenka penalty

However, his second penalty miss was even worse than the original with the World Cup winner crazily opting for the Panenka technique, which he duly bungled into the arms of Sommer again.

Remarkable scenes. We’ve seen Ramos deploy the technique famously inaugurated by Antonin Panenka at Euro 1976 so many times, but this is the first occasion we’ve seen him botch it.

But don’t worry, Sergio, if you’re kicking yourself amidst the inevitable tirade of social media banter, reassure yourself that plenty of world-class footballers have messed up a Panenka in their time.


Players to have missed Panenkas

In fact, we’ve decided to look back on this unenviable club of players who saw their attempt at impudence fall short by compiling an unlucky 13 of stars to have miscued their Panenka penalty:

1. Gary Lineker

What makes this fluffed attempt against Brazil all the more painful is that it would have elevated Lineker to the status of England’s joint-top goalscorer, which he never went onto achieve.

2. Francesco Totti

To be fair to the Roman Emperor himself, he did nail a Panenka when it mattered most in the shootout at Euro 2000, but that doesn’t make this attempt against Lecce any less embarrassing.

3. Peter Crouch

Crouch has been pretty open about how stupid he felt to have even attempted a Panenka on England duties, duly sending the ball over the bar, but he still notched a hat-trick in spite of it.

4. Andrea Pirlo

A bit like Totti, we all remember the time when Pirlo converted a Panenka, but it seems to have been confined to history that the legendary Italian actually missed one against Barcelona two years prior.

5. Neymar

There has seldom been a more entertaining footballer to watch than Neymar, particularly during his Santos days, but he was left with egg on his face when this Panenka strike was comfortably saved.

6. Robin van Persie

Like Crouch, RVP was spared total humiliation by scoring a hat-trick at the crime scene regardless, though his shocking attempt at floating the ball over Kelvin Davies remains amusing to watch.


7. Cristiano Ronaldo

Depending on how strict you are with your definition of a Panenka, you could argue that Ronaldo has completed scuffed attempted chips down the middle against Athletic Bilbao and Copenhagen.

8. Iago Aspas

Aspas might have become a meme during his Liverpool days, but he’s proven to be prolific in his native Spain. Then again, this terrible penalty will bring back memories of THAT corner at Anfield.

9. Raheem Sterling

Truth be told, Sterling doesn’t have the best record from penalties in regulation time – two scored, two missed – but none of them were as bad as this sky-high Panenka against Leicester City.

10. Alexandre Pato

What makes this example so painful is that Pato needed to score the penalty to keep Corinthians in the Copa do Brasil, but his poor Panenka imitation merely found its home in the goalkeeper’s hands.

11. Aleksandar Mitrovic

At the expense of sounding cruel, we had to mention Mitrovic’s very own fluffed Panenka, which he said was inspired by Memphis Depay, in a week where the Serbian missing penalties is rather topical.

12. Ademola Lookman

The iron is still pretty hot when it comes to Lookman’s stoppage-time Panenka, which cost Fulham three points at West Ham United, but you’ve got to credit the England youngster for his bravey.

13. Sergio Ramos

And that brings us to Ramos. The slow-motion replays of his embarrassing miss against Switzerland serve only to expose just how poorly he struck what should have been a delicious chip into the net.

You’re not alone, Sergio

See, it’s not too bad, Sergio? You find themselves alongside fellow World Cup winners, a superstar with a Ballon d’Or trophy, a smattering of Premier League champions… oh, and two Fulham players.

But the fact of the matter is that Panenkas are a risky game and although they come off more times than not, you can never rule out the goalkeeper standing tall or the strike being fatally scuffed.

The more common scenario seems to be the latter, though, with Ramos following in the footsteps of Lookman and Van Persie by way of not getting as much lift beneath the ball as necessary.


But in terms of Ramos, knowing what he’s like, we’re sure he’ll come back even stronger and will probably chip his next penalty effortlessly down the middle as if nothing had happened.

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