Mario Balotelli
Balotelli has scored 28 penalties out of 30 in his all career. Getty Images

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is the most clinical penalty taker in Europe, according to Spanish newspaper Diario AS.

After Barcelona legend Lionel Messi failed a penalty during the Champions League 2-1 victory against Manchester City on Tuesday night, AS researched the top 10 spot kick takers in Europe.

The ranking revealed not only that Messi is surprisingly out of the top but that under scrutiny Liverpool star Balotelli leads the chart.

AS have taken into account only active players in European top leagues, considering their penalties for both club and country – even in penalty shoot-outs – but excluding all footballers who have shot less than 30.

This explains why Balotelli's teammate Ricky Lambert is not in the ranking even though he scored 34 out of his 34 penalty attempts in five years at Southampton, with just one failed at Liverpool in pre-season.

So having netted 28 spot kicks out of 30 Balotelli is the finest penalty taker around Europe ahead of PSG star Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal.

The Italian international scored his last goal for Liverpool from the penalty spot last week to secure a 1-0 victory for his side in the Europa League last-32 tie against Besiktas.

Tottenham striker Arturo Vidal, former Manchester United player Giuseppe Rossi, Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, Manchester City's Frank Lampard, and current Ballon D'or Cristiano Ronaldo are also among the best scorers.

Messi, however, is out of the ranking. The Argentinian, who this season has already ruined three occasions from the penalty spot, has netted 57 out of 72 during his successful career, both in Argentina and with Barcelona.

Top European penalty kick taker

  1. Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) - 93%. 28 from 30
  2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG) - 87%. 54 from 62
  3. Arturo Vidal (Juventus) - 87%. 27 from 31
  4. Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina) - 87%. 34 from 39
  5. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) - 87%. 78 from 90
  6. Roberto Soldado (Tottenham) - 87%. 26 from 30
  7. Frank Lampard (Manchester City) - 83%. 64 from 77
  8. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) - 82%. 49 from 60
  9. Oscar Cardozo (Trabzonspor) - 82%. 41 from 50
  10. Francesco Totti (Roma) - 81%. 78 from 96