By Tom White and Ben Mayhew, PA
Manchester United’s penalty shootout defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final means David De Gea has now conceded 40 successive spot-kicks since he last saved one.
Every player from the Spanish side converted from 12 yards after Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw in Gdansk, with De Gea’s miss condemning United to an 11-10 defeat.
That continued his miserable run from penalties since he last saved one – astonishingly more than five years ago, from then-Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on April 23, 2016.
Since then he has faced a further 32 penalties with United and another eight for Spain, with every one finding the back of his net.
Eighteen of those have come in the Premier League, with one each in the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League prior to Wednesday’s epic shootout.
De Gea thought he had ended his troubles back in September when he saved Jordan Ayew’s spot-kick in a game against Crystal Palace, but the United goalkeeper had marginally strayed off his line and Wilfried Zaha scored the retaken effort.
He was beaten by Italy’s Daniele De Rossi in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup and then at the tournament proper by Cristiano Ronaldo, as part of the forward’s hat-trick for Portugal, and Artem Dzyuba in a 1-1 draw with Russia – before the tournament hosts scored four from four in the ensuing shootout.
Norway’s Joshua King then netted from the spot in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Spain, his third successful penalty during De Gea’s terrible run after scoring two for Bournemouth in the Premier League.
Watford striker Troy Deeney also appears three times on the list of takers, with two for Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang meaning 35 players in all have beaten De Gea from the spot since he denied Lukaku.
To further put De Gea’s woes into context, since that save Lukaku signed for United, spent two full seasons as a team-mate of De Gea and then moved on and won a league title in his second season at Inter Milan.