From Neymar to Pirlo: 5 of the worst ‘Panenka’ penalties of all-time

Andrea Pirlo Italy

In the wake of Romario Balde’s embarrassing effort for Benfica in the UEFA Youth League, we’ve found five “classics” of the genre for you to enjoy.

Zinedine Zidane, Francesco Totti and Andrea Pirlo – these are just some of the star names you would associate with the archetypal “Panenka” chipped penalty down the centre of the goal.

For those who have never seen the original – netted by Czechoslovakia’s Antonin Panenka against West Germany in the final of the 1976 European Championships – here it is:

Scored to seal a 5-3 penalty shootout win for the Czechs following a 2-2 draw, it remains the standard by which all other spot-kicks of its kind are measured.

One man who will not be joining the hallowed ranks of those to pull off a Panenka, however, is Benfica youngster Romario Balde after this rather interesting effort against Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Youth League.

A contender for the worst attempt of all time, the 18-year-old’s miss proved costly, with their Ukrainian opponents ultimately equalising before advancing after penalties.

But Balde is not the first player to be left rather red-faced after a failed Panenka attempt

Here are five of our favourites.

5. Younis Mahmood – Iraq

While the archetypal Panenka miss traditionally sees the ball sail perfectly into the hands of the motionless goalkeeper, Mahmood bucked the trend for the Iraq national side.

Trailing 1-0 to arch-rivals Iran in a friendly played just before the Asian Cup earlier this year, the Iraq captain had the opportunity to level up the scores from the spot.

However, he arguably put a little bit too much power into his Panenka effort, which ballooned over the bar for a goal kick to Iran. He fared better the next time the two teams met though.

4. Neymar – Santos

Back before Barcelona paid the big bucks to bring him over to Spain from Brazil, Neymar was busy lording it up at Santos where he was seen as the second-coming of Pele.

Quite what the three-time World Cup winner thought of this spot-kick remains to be seen, however, with Neymar winning the penalty and then proceeding to rush his Panenka attempt.

It proved to be something of a valuable lesson to the striker, who opted against similar antics for Brazil when taking spot-kicks against Croatia and, most notably, Chile at the 2014 World Cup.

3. Pirlo – AC Milan

Proof that even the masters sometimes make mistakes came during a pre-season friendly between the Rossoneri and their old European Cup rivals Barcelona.

With the game tied after extra time and plenty of pride at stake, the two teams got involved in a shootout with Pirlo opting for a bit of trickery from the spot when facing Sergio Pinto.

It proved to be an unwise and embarrassing decision for the Italian, though it would later be rectified with THAT penalty against England.

2. Maicosuel – Udinese

Arguably the most expensive Panenka miss of all time, Maicosuel arrived at Udinese from Botafogo in 2012 to much hype, but will forever be remembered for this epic fail.

Facing off against Portuguese side Braga in a Champions League qualifier that the Serie A side dominated, the tie would ultimately be decided by penalty kicks. Cue Maicosuel’s effort...

Braga went on to win the shootout 5-4 with the South American’s shoddy attempt effectively costing Udinese around €20 million in prize money for reaching the group phase.

1. Alexandre Pato – Corinthians

Back in Brazil are a successful, albeit injury-plagued, spell with AC Milan in Italy, Pato was previously rumoured to be on Arsenal’s radar by the Express, though the Gunners may want to think twice about that one based on this spot-kick.

The ex-Rossoneri hitman’s howler came in a Copa do Brasil quarter-final against Gremio and fellow former AC Milan man Dida. How would Pato beat the famous Champions League spot-kick hero? Power? Precision?

No, apparently his plan was to score with arguably the worst Panenka effort ever seen. It failed and we don’t think he is expecting a call from Arsene Wenger any time soon.

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