Can Goalkeepers Take Penalty Kicks

Can Goalkeepers ACTUALLY Take Penalty Kicks? (Explained!)

Last updated on January 17th, 2023

You may have seen Eibar’s goalkeeper, Marko Dmitrović, score a penalty against Atletico Madrid in a La Liga match.

Moreover, this was done during regular time and not during a penalty shootout!

This may make you wonder, are goalkeepers allowed to take penalty kicks?

Here’s what you need to know.

Can goalkeepers take penalty kicks?

A goalkeeper is able to take a penalty kick either during the match or a penalty shootout, which is similar to any outfield player. There are no rules in the Laws of the Game that prohibit a goalkeeper from taking a penalty kick.

The Laws of the Game only states that the penalty kick taker has to be clearly identified.

Other than that, there are no other rules regarding who can take the penalty kick!

Goalkeepers can take penalty kicks during a match

A goalkeeper is able to take a penalty kick during the match. However, this is usually a rare occurrence during the game.

Here are 2 possible reasons why this is so:

#1 Outfield players are potentially better at taking penalty kicks compared to goalkeepers

The first-choice penalty kickers are usually strikers or midfielders. These players usually have a better shooting ability compared to goalkeepers.

If the penalty kicker is good enough, they can trick the opposing goalkeeper to dive the wrong way.

This is because a goalkeeper rarely uses their feet in a game. The main times they do so will be:

  1. Taking a goal-kick
  2. Doing a drop-kick after saving the ball
  3. Receiving a pass from their teammates

Besides that, the goalkeeper will use their hands to make any saves if necessary.

Since goalkeepers do not need to run around as much, this could be a reason why they are able to retire later.

Goalkeepers may be considered to be less skilful with their feet. As such, their managers may not choose them to be the first-choice penalty kicker!

#2 The goalkeeper will have to run all the way back to defend his goal if the penalty is saved

When the goalkeeper takes the penalty and it is saved by the opposing goalkeeper, this spells bad news for the goalkeeper.

If the opposing goalkeeper is fast enough, he is able to start a quick counter attack for the other team.

The goalkeeper will have to run the length of the field to defend his goal! This is definitely not an ideal scenario to be in.

Unless the goalkeeper is extremely confident that he can score the penalty, the manager may not want him to take it in the first place!

There are still a few goalkeepers who are good penalty kickers too

Despite these 2 reasons why goalkeepers should not take penalties, some of them have bucked the trend:

#1 Rogério Ceni

Rogério Ceni is one of the most prolific goalscoring goalkeepers ever. Throughout his professional career, he has scored 131 goals during his career!

Most of them either came from free kicks or penalty kicks.

Ceni was a dead-ball specialist, which is something that not many goalkeepers will be associated with. This led him to be the first choice taker for set pieces, including free kicks and penalty kicks.

#2 José Luis Chilavert

Chilavert is the second-highest goal-scoring goalkeeper of all time, just below Rogério Ceni.

His most notable feat was scoring a hat-trick (all by penalties) in a match against Ferro Carril Oeste.

It is pretty amazing that the manager has such high confidence in his goalkeeper’s penalty taking abilities!

#3 Ederson

Although he has not taken a penalty kick yet, Ederson made a claim that he is the best penalty kicker at Manchester City.

However, his manager, Pep Guardiola, has not given him the responsibility to be the Manchester City’s main penalty taker.

You can see some of Ederson’s penalties during a training session before the Champions League 2020/21 Final.

There are some goalkeepers who have failed to score their penalty kick

While there are these success stories, there are also some goalkeepers who have failed to score their penalty kick!

One such example is Manuel Riemann, who took a penalty against Hoffenheim in this Bundesliga match. Unfortunately, his attempt went over the bar!

As such, it may not always be the best option to use your goalkeeper to take a penalty kick, especially if they are taking it during the match!

Goalkeepers have to take a penalty kick during a shootout before the start of the next round

When the match goes to a penalty shootout, the penalties are taken in a round-robin format. Usually, most penalty shootouts will be settled by the first 5 kicks.

If the scores are still tied after 5 kicks, the penalty shootout will go into a sudden death mode. If one team scores and the other doesn’t, the team that scores will win the tie.

However, some penalty shootouts may last very long. Even after all 10 outfield players have taken their penalty, the scores may still be even!

This is when the goalkeeper needs to take a penalty kick.

Here is this rule according to the Laws of the Game:

Each kick is taken by a different player, and all eligible players must take a kick before any player can take a second kick

Laws of the Game

The goalkeepers are usually the last penalty kicker for the whole team. If the scores are still level, they may need to duel against each other!

This happened in the match between Liverpool and Middlesborough in the 2014 Capitol One Cup,

as well as the penalty shootout in the Europa League 2020/21 Final.

In this shootout, Gerónimo Rulli scored the winning penalty, while David de Gea missed the decisive one.

Another example was in the 2021/22 EFL Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was substituted into the match just before the penalty shootout.

However, he missed his penalty that ultimately gave Liverpool the EFL Cup!

You can view the differences between the EFL Cup and the FA Cup here, and whether it can be considered a major trophy here.

As such, goalkeepers may still need to be rather adept at taking penalties. They may never know when they will be called up to take one during a penalty shootout!


Goalkeepers are able to take a penalty kick both during a match or a penalty shootout. There are no rules that prevent them from doing so.

This is just one of the ways where a goalkeeper is able to score a goal.

If your goalkeeper is the set-piece specialist of your team, then he may be your first choice set-piece taker!

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