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16 appalling penalties that even Diana Ross would be ashamed of

Simone Zaza penalty

If you haven't seen it, you'll want to watch it - though we're fairly sure Colombia forward Teo Gutierrez would be happy if he never had to see it again. His jaw-droppingly miscued penalty for club side Junior this past weekend led to the 32-year-old being immediately substituted, presumably so he could try to make sense of what had just happened.

At least he had an excuse - one shared by Bournemouth's Harry Arter who had his own epic miss last season - that the pitch clearly did him no favours. This was Harry's horror show.

According to PenaltyKickStat's data, collected since 2009/10, Arter's penalty was the worst of the 2016/17 Premier League season – and right up there among the 26 that feature in the chart below (compiled before Gutierrez's masterpiece).

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Remember Jason Puncheon’s diabolical shank at White Hart Lane? What about Dejan Lovren’s spectacular hoik in Liverpool's Europa League loss to Besiktas? Or possibly any of Lionel Messi’s recent blunders from the spot? (There really are a lot.)

We now have a way to partly answer which bodged spot-kicks are worst thanks to the Twitter account above, which has tracked some 6,400 penalties since 2009. By using the below mathematical formula (don't worry, we’ve no idea what it means either) to measure the distance from goal, it’s possible to highlight a few of the worst kicks ever. 


The results are plotted below.


Messi’s effort in the bottom right immediately stands out, but that spot-kick was actually passed to Luis Suarez in Barcelona's 6-1 thrashing of Celta Vigo last season. 

The same happened to Russian midfielder Pavel Mamaev, who also took an indirect penalty for Krasnodar against Terek Grozny in 2016.

Penalty at 0:54

For full-on incompetence, Lovren’s aforementioned miss against Besiktas takes some beating; high, wide and ugly, although the camera angle chosen for broadcast perhaps saves the Croatian defender from further embarrassment.

Meanwhile, few Crystal Palace fans will be able to erase the memory of Puncheon’s awful effort at White Hart Lane in 2014. As the above graph shows, it wasn't even close.

The only redeeming feature of Peter Devine's penalty was that it went in the right direction. Kind of... 

If you’re looking for penalties that may still be hurtling through the stratosphere, try this hideous Jonathan Soriano kick for Red Bull Salzburg in 2012.

Skip to 1:00

Peter Odemwingie’s terrible strike against Manchester United in 2011 similarly defies belief. Along with Puncheon’s disastrous mishit against Tottenham, the Nigerian flies the flag for failure when it comes to the worst demeanours from Premier League penalty spots.

0:26 for another Odemwingie 'mare

Remember former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Sevilla attacking midfielder Julio Baptista? Well, the Brazilian features in our list with this ballooned shot for MLS's Orlando City during the 2016 campaign.

If in doubt, take a meaty run-up and whack the ball with conviction, à la Julian Dicks. Alternatively, do what Simeone Zaza did at Euro 2016.

Neymar's attempt while playing for Brazil against Colombia in November 2012 wasn't picked up by the data, but the video below serves as confirmation that it was spectacularly bad.

Deserved it for that run-up, right? 0:40

And who can forget Thierry Henry and Robert Pires fluffing their lines against Manchester City in 2005? The Gunners pair were accused of disrespecting their opponents with this horrific routine. Pires didn't agree, though. "Unfortunately, my mind was not into it," the Frenchman reflected later. "It makes me smile now when I think about it, but my brain froze as I was about to roll the ball to him and I missed it. I can see the funny side of it. But disrespect? No way."

Perhaps this one is the worst of all time, though. Just how do you make a penalty go backwards?

Scroll to 1:24

Shoot-out suicide

Looking specifically at @PenaltyKickStat’s charts for penalties in shoot-outs from 2009 onwards, the below are big contenders.

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A special mention must go to Gonzalo Higuain in the 2015 Copa America Final, as Argentina lost out to hosts Chile.

(Although Messi’s 12-yarder in the final of the same tournament wasn’t a whole lot better.)

Messi blazes over at 1:11

A certain Emmanuel Adebayor joins in with this abysmal effort for Tottenham against Basel in 2013. Spurs exited the Europa League as a result of the striker's miss.

Saving the day

Incidentally, it’s interesting to see the likelihood of a penalty being scored depending on where the ball hits the goalline, as explained by this tweet.

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And it's also good to know who the best goalkeepers are when it comes to saving penalties - step forward Diego Alves.

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You can see a summary of Alves’s stops here. He's the best penalty saver around at the moment (sorry, Samir Handanovic).

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