Eric Cantona named best Manchester United penalty taker in Premier League era

Eric Cantona named best Manchester United penalty taker in Premier League era with Cristiano Ronaldo and Denis Irwin also impressing from 12-yards

  • Eric Cantona is the best penalty taker for Manchester United in the top flight
  • The Red Devils conducted an investigation since the Premier League began
  • The Frenchman took 16 spot kicks in his five years at Old Trafford, missing two
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney were also on the list 

Max Winters For Mailonline

Eric Cantona has been found to be the most prolific penalty taker for Manchester United in the Premier League era.

The Red Devils conducted an investigation, alongside Opta, to determine who was the club’s best man from 12 yards since the inaugural Premier League season in 1992.

The Frenchman took 16 spot-kicks in his five years at Old Trafford and only missed twice in the league, giving him a conversion rate of 87.5 per cent. He failed in attempts against Blackburn and former club Leeds but, on both occasions, went on to score later in the match.

Eric Cantona is the most prolific penalty taker for Manchester United in the Premier League era

Eric Cantona is the most prolific penalty taker for Manchester United in the Premier League era

The Frenchman took 16 spot kicks in his five years at Old Trafford and only missed twice

The Frenchman took 16 spot kicks in his five years at Old Trafford and only missed twice

Next up, with a conversion rate of 84.6 per cent, is Cristiano Ronaldo. He also missed two but from 13 attempts.

The Portuguese star may have missed in the Champions League final win over Chelsea in Moscow in 2008 but his record in the top flight was impressive. He crashed home memorable efforts against Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal.

His two failed attempts both came in the month of December. He was denied by Wigan in 2006 and West Ham the following year.

Ruud van Nistelrooy finished third in the standings with a success percentage of 81.8 per cent. The imposing Dutchman missed four of his 22 attempts with the most famous coming in the last minute of the infamous 0-0 draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2003.

Van Nistelrooy smacked the underside of the bar, prompting wild celebrations between Arsenal players as the Gunners then went the whole league season unbeaten.

Van Nistelrooy smacked the underside of the bar during the infamous 0-0 draw with Arsenal

Van Nistelrooy smacked the underside of the bar during the infamous 0-0 draw with Arsenal

Ronaldo fires an effort past Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina before United lost 4-1 at home

Ronaldo fires an effort past Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina before United lost 4-1 at home

Dennis Irwin was always a reliable full back and it turns out he could be trusted from 12-yards as well.

He finished seven of his nine opportunities, leaving him with a conversion rate of 77.8 per cent. Irwin’s late strike against Southampton in 1994/95 prolonged the title race with Blackburn and he also netted twice against bitter enemies Liverpool.

Robin Van Persie may have only spent three seasons at United but with six goals from eight penalties, he has a success rate of 75 per cent. The Dutchman came back to haunt former club Arsenal from the spot and also slammed the winner home at Anfield.

Wayne Rooney also has a place in the top six. The club’s record goalscorer found the back of net 20 times from 28 of his penalties, leaving with a conversion rate of 71.4 per cent. One of those was to seal the Premier League title at Blackburn in 2011.

There was also some impressive records among players who took four penalties or less for the Red Devils in the top flight. Louis Saha had a 100 per cent record, having converted all four of his attempts.



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