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Football: Five greatest penalty-takers of all time

After ranking goalkeepers last week, now it's the turn of those who regularly get the better of them from 12 yards as we rundown the five best penalty-takers ever, fittingly on Gaizka Mendieta's birthday.

Spanish legend Mendieta is included as the former Valencia midfielder was renowned for his spot-kick prowess, but who joins him on our list? With apologies to the likes of Steven Gerrard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahmovic and Zinedine Zidane, here's our top five penalty-takers of all time.

5. Francesco Totti

The definition of a one-club man, Totti is Roma's greatest-ever player and top-scorer following a glittering 25-year professional career with the Italian capital club. Amongst other trophies, he helped them win Serie A and two Coppa Italias, is the second-highest scorer of all time in Italian league history with 250 goals, and is the sixth-highest scoring Italian in all competitions with 316 goals.

Totti was cool from the spot, too, converting 86 penalties from a total 105 attempts and has scored the most penalties in Serie A history, with 71.

4. Gaizka Mendieta

Mendieta, who is 48 today, was a stylish midfielder who shot to prominence for Valencia in the late 1990s before his skills lit up Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League as he went on to play for Lazio, Barcelona and Middlesbrough.

Mendieta used to be able to control games from the middle of the park, dictating the tempo and orchestrating attacks, and he had a superb knack from the penalty spot as well, scoring with 34 of his 37 attempts. He perfected the art of waiting until late before shooting from 12 yards, usually winning the battle of wills with goalkeepers who would dive one way before he would slot the ball home in the other.

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3. Frank Lampard

Lampard sits in sixth place on the list of all-time Premier League goalscorers with 177 goals. The Chelsea legend is the only midfielder on that particular chart, and his goal record is undoubtedly helped by his ability to score regularly from 12 yards.

Lampard was always confident when stepping up to take a penalty and scored a total of 60 in his career for club and country, enjoying a conversion rate of around 92 per cent. He scored an emotional penalty in the 2008 Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, just days after his mother had passed away, and was also among Chelsea's successful shootout scorers in their 2012 European Cup final win over Bayern Munich in 2012.

2. Alan Shearer

Shearer is the Premier League's all-time top goalscorer with 260 goals in 434 appearances and, included amongst them, are 56 from the spot. The former Southampton youngster helped inspire Blackburn Rovers to their unexpected title triumph in 1995 and then went on to star for his hometown club Newcastle United after joining them for what at the time was a world-record £15millon transfer fee in 1996.

The England star, who is now a well-respected pundit, had a fearsome reputation when lining up to take a penalty and would often go for power, giving goalkeepers no chance. One of his most famous penalties was his final career goal in his last-ever game for Newcastle when he smashed home a spot-kick in a 4-1 win over local rivals Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in April 2006.

1. Matt Le Tissier

The Southampton star had to top the list with a sensational record, scoring 47 of the 48 penalties he took. The playmaker, who scored a total of 161 goals for Saints, had a languid style about him but made the game look ridiculously easy. He was one of the main Premier League stars of the 1990s and scored many memorable goals, including two brilliant individual efforts in the same game against Newcastle in 1993 and a wonderful Goal of the Season stunner against Blackburn a year later - a 40-yard chip past Tim Flowers.

He could always be relied upon from the spot, with his only penalty miss coming in March 1993 against Nottingham Forest when keeper Mark Crossley denied him.

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