Should this season’s Champions League final end up going the full distance, Manchester City can rest assured that goalkeeper Ederson is fully prepared for penalty shootout glory against Chelsea — but not in the way you’d expect.
The Brazilian has declared his willingness to step up and take the potentially decisive spot-kick if he is so required when the two Premier League rivals face off in Porto on Saturday.
Ederson told Brazilian outlet TNT Sport this week when asked if he would potentially be asked to take a penalty: “I am [on the list].”
He added, when asked if he had been practising his spot-kicks: “I don’t need to train much. But the fifth one, I’m taking it. The decisive one. I think I’ll take the fifth one.”
Ederson is down to take Man City’s decisive penalty if the UCL Final ends in a shootout 🎯 pic.twitter.com/m64amkjmCf
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 26, 2021
While he may not boast the same impressive Premier League goal-scoring tally (1) as fellow countryman Alisson, who opened his account for Liverpool earlier this month, Ederson has more assists (2) to his name as well as a solid reputation for being just as comfortable with the ball at his feet as in his hands. However, he has never taken a penalty for City.
Despite winning the Premier League title at a canter (with Ederson winning the Golden Gloves award for the most clean sheets (19) this season), Pep Guardiola’s side struggled to find consistency from the penalty spot, rotating through six different takers with varying degrees of success.
Of the 11 penalties City were awarded during the campaign only 7 were converted, with Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, and Sergio Aguero all failing to find the back of the net from 12 yards. City’s all-time top goal scorer Aguero was the most recent of those penalty flops, when his unsuccessful attempt at a Panenka against Chelsea earlier this month left him red-faced.
Those misses led to calls for Ederson to take over penalty duties but alas, for all Guardiola’s tactical flamboyance and outside-the-box thinking, he has steadfastly refused to hand the responsibility to his goalkeeper. After watching Gundogan become the third City player of the season to fluff his lines from the spot against Liverpool in February, Guardiola even said that he might be forced to turn to his goalkeeper to solve the issue: “He is an option because I am pretty sure he’s a good taker.”
Sure enough, when City were awarded an early penalty in their next league outing against Tottenham Hotspur just five days later, Ederson came marching up the pitch.
Bernardo Silva had to stop Ederson from going ahead and trying to take the penalty himself before Rodri scored it 😂
He really wants to take one, doesn’t he?
— The Goalpost (@TGoalpost) February 13, 2021
Unfortunately, the goalkeeper was stopped in his tracks as he crossed the halfway line, with teammate Bernardo Silva talking him down and turning him around. Ederson backed down, though not before asking Silva to pass on some advice to midfielder Rodri, who stepped up to score the kick.
“I didn’t listen! As it’s better to focus on what you are confident about and I was confident in shooting in the way I did.”
If the Champions League final is all square after extra time, we may just get to see if Ederson’s own confidence in his ability is justified.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 5, 2021
Plenty of big names have found themselves tasked with taking the weighty fifth penalty in Champions League final shootouts over the years, with a total of seven finals going to penalties since 1992-93.
Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo held their nerve and did the honours for Chelsea (vs. Bayern Munich) and Real Madrid (vs. Atletico Madrid) in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer even stepped up to convert his side’s third kick in that 2012 final.
🔵 #OTD: Relive the drama of the 2012 final penalty shoot-out…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 19, 2021
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 28, 2020
Though the less said about Sheva’s weak attempt (again, his team’s fifth spot-kick) in Milan’s loss to Liverpool two years later, the better.
👀 2005 final penalty shoot-out…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 2, 2021
The same could be said for John Terry, who stepped up to take what would have been the winning penalty against Manchester United in the 2008 final, only for the Chelsea captain to slip in the Moscow rain as United went on to win their third European crown.
⏪ 2008 final penalty shoot-out…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 21, 2021
The 2001 final between Bayern and Valencia also went to sudden death after Steffen Effenberg and Ruben Baraja both scored their team’s fifth penalty, with Thomas Linke netting what proved to be the winning kick for the German giants.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) July 9, 2020
In fact, the only Champions League final shootout that didn’t go to the fifth round of penalties was the first, when Vladimir Jugovic sealed the title for Juventus with his side’s fourth kick after Ajax had missed two of theirs.
⚪️⚫️ #OTD in 1996, Juventus = champions!
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 22, 2021
Angelo Peruzzi, Oliver Kahn, Dida, Jerzy Dudek, Edwin van der Sar and Petr Cech have all been hailed as penalty shootout heroes in Champions League finals for stopping the ball going in. Could Ederson be about to flip that on its head?