Most goalkeepers have the same look of despair when a referee points to the penalty spot, but there are a certain few who boast a glint of excitement in their eyes as they relish the opportunity to put their penalty-saving skills to the test. These penalty-saving heroes are responsible for some of the most iconic moments in LaLiga history, and several of the best keepers from the spot are currently plying their trade in LaLiga Santander.
Here’s a quick look at the five current LaLiga Santander goalkeepers with the best penalty-saving records in the league. All goalkeepers considered had to have faced, at least, five penalties during their LaLiga Santander careers to qualify, and they’ve been ranked based on the percentage of spot kicks they’ve kept out.
JORDI MASIP (R. VALLADOLID): 3/8, 38% success rate
The R. Valladolid goalkeeper boasts the best record of all shot-stoppers in the division, an amazing feat given that this is his first full season in LaLiga Santander. The former Barça backup has faced eight penalties during the 2018/19 campaign and kept out three of them, including one from former teammate, Lionel Messi, to contribute an extra three points to the newly promoted side’s tally.
TIED. KEYLOR NAVAS (REAL MADRID): 7/21, 33% success rate
Only 10 of the 21 penalties Keylor Navas has faced in the top flight have hit the back of the net, with the Costa Rican saving seven of them and with another four being off target. Having, also, been a penalty shootout hero on a stage as grand as the World Cup, in 2014, Navas’ penalty-saving prowess has become the stuff of legend… which may partly explain his opponents’ nervous tendency to blast off target.
TIED. JAN OBLAK (ATLETICO DE MADRID): 4/12, 33% success rate
Jan Oblak has won the past three Zamora Trophies, awarded to the goalkeeper in the Spanish top flight with the best statistical record between the sticks, so it’s not much of a surprise to see the world-class Atlético de Madrid shot-stopper on this list. The Slovenian hasn’t been able to save any of the three penalties he faced this season, but he stopped three last year and one the season before. On each occasion, the save helped his side earn a victory.
YOEL RODRÍGUEZ (R. VALLADOLID): 2/7, 29% success rate
Valladolid are a lucky club. Like their starter Masip, their backup goalkeeper, Yoel, is another penalty-saving expert. There have been seven occasions when the Galician has faced up to a striker from 12 yards out, and he has saved twice, one against Lionel Messi, when playing for Eibar, and one from Diego Costa, when playing for RC Celta.
NETO (VALENCIA CF): 3/11, 27% success rate
Neto Murara has only been in LaLiga Santander for two seasons, but has already faced 11 penalties while on duty for Valencia.
His record is very good, saving three. One of these was in the 2018/19 season, when he denied his Brazilian compatriot, Willian José, in a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad, while he also denied Athletic Club’s Aritz Aduriz and Real Betis’ Sergio León in a draw and a win last year.