5 of the Best Penalty-Savers in the 21st Century

James Budgen

5 of the Best Penalty Savers in the 21st Century

Here we take a look at five of the best penalty-savers in the 21st-century following Chelsea and Liverpool’s Carabao Cup final penalty shootout last Sunday.

No penalties were saved from 22 taken, with Kepa Arrizabalaga’s missed penalty giving Jurgen Klopp’s side the trophy having ironically been subbed on late in extra time to save them himself.

If your side conceded a penalty in-game, which goalkeeper would you choose?

Andrea Consigli - Sassuolo

Consigli has been goalkeeping in the Serie A since the 2008/09 season, breaking through at Atalanta at 21 years of age, and in his career so far has managed to save 21 penalties, at 34 years of age and still playing in the Serie A for Sassuolo, he has a chance to move up the list.

Consigli made himself known in his first full season as Atalanta’s first-choice keeper in the 2009/10 season where he made 31 appearances, facing six penalties that season, saving four of them, which included a save on one of football’s greatest players, Ronaldinho.

As of recent years his penalty saving ability has seemed to catch up with his age, in the past three years he has faced twenty penalties, with him only being able to save two of them, a save percentage of only 10%.

Manuel Neuer - Bayern Munich

Neuer is considered as one of the main innovators for the new age sweeper-keepers which has become the norm for modern goalkeepers, but, in that, people forget what a great shot-stopper he is, saving a total of 25 penalties in his career so far.

His most crucial penalty save of his career came in the Champions League semi-final in the 2015/16 season against Atletico Madrid, despite ending up being knocked out, the tie was level 2-2 in the second leg, with just six minutes left to play, with Atletico ahead on away goals.

If the penalty was scored, it all but secured Bayern Munich’s exit, with them needing to score two goals to advance to the next round, but Neuer was able to save Fernando Torres’s penalty, to keep Bayern in the tie, but his team weren’t able to find another goal for them to advance to the Champions League Final.

Diego Alves - Flamengo

Diego Alves is easily considered as one of the best shot-stoppers from twelve yards out, amassing 26 penalty saves in his career to date, with his stint in La Liga from 2007-2017 being a record-breaking run for penalty saves.

During his stints with Almeria and Valencia in La Liga, he faced 50 penalties and saved a miraculous 24 of them, a save percentage of 48%, with the average penalty save percentage being around 18%.

He holds the La Liga record for the most penalties saved in one season, he saved six penalties in the 2016/17 season, including twice in one game against Atletico Madrid.

Even in his mid-thirties, Alves is still having penalty successes, saving three penalties, after going down 3-1, in the 2021 Brazilian Super Cup final penalty shoot-out to win Flamengo the cup against Palmeiras.

Gianluigi Buffon - Parma

Buffon has had one of the most legendary careers, not just for a goalkeeper but as a footballer, with his career spanning across four decades, winning 12 league titles and a World Cup in his career.

Over his long career Buffon has saved 30 penalties, with his first penalty save coming in 1996 for Parma in the Serie A, and this season, at 44 years of age in Serie B for Parma, he has faced six penalties, saving three of them.

Last season, at 43 years of age, Buffon made a crucial penalty save for Juventus to keep their top-four hopes alive, it was their second to last game in the league season, and he saved a penalty from Domenico Berardi to prevent Juve from going 1-0 down before defeating Sassuolo 3-1. The Old Lady finished fourth last season, just one point better off than Napoli in fifth.

Samir Handanovic - Inter Milan

At 37-years-old, Handanovic has been goalkeeping in the Serie A since the 2004/05 season, and he still has a claim to the number one spot for current league champions Inter Milan.

Handanovic has saved 38 penalties in his career, the most in the 21st century, and he holds the record for the most penalties saved in Serie A history, saving 26 penalties, with his last two penalty saves coming against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Inter shot-stopper has had three seasons in his career where he has saved five or more penalties, including saving seven spot-kicks in the 2010/11 campaign whilst in action for Udinese and Slovenia, doing against the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik and Nemanja Vidic.


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