Why did Rodrygo take Real Madrid’s penalty against Celta Vigo: 2023/24 Los Blancos spot-kick takers

If you’re going to take a penalty off the designated spot-kick taker, you simply have to score. Unfortunately for Rodrygo during Real Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Celta Vigo, he missed.

It was indeed the Brazilian who won the spot-kick, bursting past Celta Vigo goalkeeper Ivan Villar, who could only bring down the on-rushing forward. But it was the Spanish shot-stopper who would have the last laugh, springing to his right-hand side to make a wonderful save from the resultant penalty.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was left apoplectic, slamming a water bottle to the ground with venom. For some managers that may be a regular occurrence, but it’s certainly not for the cool-headed Italian coach.

The 64-year-old was furious not because Rodrygo had spurned the opportunity to put Madrid ahead with the game goalless at that point, but because the forward seemingly took responsibility off the designated penalty taker Luka Modric.

Rodrygo GoesRodrygo Goes

Luka Modric is Real Madrid’s designated penalty taker / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

When a penalty was awarded to Madrid last season, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind who would take it: Karim Benzema. However, the Frenchman’s departure has left a little more uncertainty over spot-kicks this campaign.

Despite this, Ancelotti was very clear after the game that it was Modric who should have taken the penalty against Celta Vigo.

He said: “They don’t have the freedom to decide who takes them. I have told Valverde that Luka has to take them. I don’t know what has happened. They elected Rodrygo and I didn’t have time to tell them that Modric is the penalty taker.

“I’m a little upset. It may be a misunderstanding. At the time it was difficult to communicate it to the player.”

It’s possible that because Rodrygo won the penalty, he saw fit to take it himself. Whether Modric was happy with this decision is unknown, but Ancelotti certainly wasn’t.


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Modric is Madrid’s designated penalty taker / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

Luka Modric is Real Madrid’s designated penalty taker for the 2023/24 season, something Ancelotti has confirmed several times and which definitely won’t change now Rodrygo has missed his only spot-kick of the campaign.

Rodrygo is second in line, however, and will be expected to step up to the plate should Modric be absent for any reason.

While unlikely that Modric and Rodrygo would both be out of the side, responsibility would likely fall to Vinicius Junior in that eventuality.


Penalties taken

Penalties scored

Penalties missed

Conversion rate

Luka Modric










Vinicus Junior





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Modric is Madrid’s standout penalty taker / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Modric’s 84% conversion rate is incredibly impressive given the volume of penalties he has taken over the course of his illustrious career. However, only four of those spot-kicks have come with Madrid, with the Croatian midfielder missing his most recent penalty for Los Blancos during last season’s FIFA Club World Cup clash with Egyptian side Al Ahly.

Rodrygo’s first penalty miss of his career came against Celta Vigo, with the Brazilian having scored his three other penalties with Madrid. One of those came in El Clasico in 2022, with the other two coming against RB Leipzig and Celtic in last season’s Champions League group stages.

Vinicius, who is widely considered the third option, has only taken two penalties in his career, both of which came for Brazil. The 23-year-old missed his first during an international friendly against Chile, but scored his most recent spot-kick against Guinea in June 2023.

Out of all Benzema’s potential successors, Modric is by far the most experienced. The 37-year-old is Ancelotti’s number one choice for a reason, and eyes will certainly be on him the next time Los Blancos win a penalty.


On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss Mohamed Salah’s huge offer from the Saudi Pro League, Liverpool’s stance on a sale, Ryan Gravenberch, Matheus Nunes, Romelu Lukaku, Folarin Balogun & more!

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