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Best Goalkeepers of All Time  

tallest soccer player

No great team is complete without a world-class goalkeeper. A winning team can lose a game after a goalie’s bad mistake. While a spectacular save from the goalkeeper between the sticks can win a match for a losing team. Here we are going to discuss some best goalkeepers of all time that made their team to win the match.

List of best goalkeepers

Below we have listed the best goalkeepers of all time, who made enormous contributions to the success of their teams and few of them are the tallest soccer player ever.

1- Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon is widely considered as one of the best goalkeepers ever played. The 43-year-old started his youth career at Parma. He progressed through its ranks to earn his Serie A debut for the senior side in November 1995 against Milan. He made 220 appearances for the Italian side, helping them win the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup and the Supercoppa Italiana during his time at Stadio Ennio Tardini.

Buffon joined Juventus in the summer of 2001 in a deal worth around £45 million. The talented keeper achieved enormous successes with the Old Lady over the years. He won nine Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias and five Supercoppa Italiana during his first spell at the Allianz Stadium. He was also part of the team that reached the 2015 and 2017 Champions League finals, with the Turin-based side losing both matches.

After spending seventeen years with Juve, the veteran goalkeeper joined Paris Saint-Germain at the age of 40 in 2018. He returned to Juventus after spending only the 2018-19 season with the Ligue 1 side. In his second spell with the Old Lady, he lifted a record tenth Serie A title with the Italian outfit, immortalizing his name as one of the best football goalkeepers ever.

Buffon has now returned to his boyhood club Parma.

2- Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas carved out a big name for himself at Real Madrid. He spent an incredible 25 years with Los Blancos as their first-choice goalkeeper.  He won every major trophy during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Spanish goalkeeper started his career by joining the academy of Real Madrid. He progressed through its ranks to earn his debut for the senior side in 1999. He went on to create history in May 2000 when he featured in Real’s Champions League final victory over Valencia, becoming the youngest ever goalkeeper to play in the final.

Casillas, one of the best goalkeepers of all time, established his place in the first team over the following years, and saw more successes for himself. He won five La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues trophies, four Spanish Super Cups and two Copa del Rey titles during his time in Madrid. The keeper made 510 La Liga appearances for Los Blancos, earning 177 clean sheets to his name.

After 25 years with Real Madrid, the Spanish goalkeeper joined Porto in 2015 on a free transfer. He made 156 appearances across all competitions for the Portuguese side, earning 74 clean sheets to his name (stats from Transfermarkt).

Casillas announced his retirement from football in August 2020. Football fans will always remember him as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

3- Edwin van der Sar

Edwin van der Sar is one of the best goalkeepers of all time. He enjoyed a long career, playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world.

Van der Sar spent his youth career at Foreholte and VV Noordwijk. He was brought to the attention of Louis van Gaal and went on to join Ajax. He initially played for the reserves but soon was called up to the senior side.

The talented goalkeeper greatly increased his reputation over the following years with Ajax. He went on to lift the Champions League trophy with the Eredivisie side in 1995.

The Dutch footballer joined Serie A side Juventus in 1999 in a deal worth around £5 million. He stayed two years in Italy before signing for Fulham in 2001. One of his most memorable moments with the Cottagers came in his final season, when he saved two penalties from Juan Pablo Angel in a match against Aston Villa.

Van der Sar, one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2005. His stint at Old Trafford was highly successful. He won several major trophies including the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup titles.

The 2007-08 season was highly successful for the hugely talented goalkeeper. He clinched the Premier League title and the European Cup that campaign. He left the Theatre of Dreams after playing the final of the Champions League in 2011, which saw United losing 3-1 against Barcelona.

4- Petr Cech

It is not possible to create a list of the greatest goalkeepers of all time and not mention Petr Cech.

Cech started his senior career at Czech football club Chmel Blsany in 1999. He switched to Sparta Prague two seasons later. His impressive performances for the Prague based side attracted the attention of Ligue 1 side Rennes, who splashed £3.9 million to bring him to France. He clocked up 78 appearances across all competitions for Les Rennais, with 27 clean sheets to his name.

But his stint in Brittany didn’t last long as Chelsea parted with £7 million to secure his services in 2004. He made enormous contributions to the Blues’ successes over the years. The Czech footballer clocked up 494 senior appearances for the London side, helping them win four Premier League titles, one Champions League trophy, four FA Cups and three EFL Cups. He later joined Arsenal in 2015 and won another FA Cup with the Premier League outfit.

5- Lev Yashin

Lev Yashin is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time from Russia. He enjoyed a long career and carved out a huge name for himself. The Black Spider is credited with revolutionizing the role of the goalkeeper. For he acted as an extra defender and also helping his team in launching attacks through his positioning.

Yashin wasn’t born into a privileged family and was forced to work in a factory after the outbreak of World War II. He played for the factory team initially. However, his talent was soon spotted by football coach A.I.Chernyshov who invited him to the Dynamo Moscow club.

The immensely talented keeper established a place for himself in the first team and was featured regularly. He was highly successful at the Russian club. He won the USSR football championship five times and the Soviet Cup three times.

On the international front, Yashin bagged far more successes with the Soviet national team. He earned 78 caps for the Russian team, playing in four World Cups with the national side.

Yashin, one of the best goalkeepers of all time, was part of the team that won the Summer Olympics in Melbourne in 1956 and also went on to play in the 1958 World Cup. He also contributed well in the 1960 European Nations Cup, which the team won after defeating Yugoslavia in the final. These impressive performances greatly endeared him in his native country.

However, after the disappointing performance in the quarter-final exit of the Soviet Union against hosts Chile in the 1962 World Cup, Yashin was greatly criticized by the supporters. The great goalkeeper had to endure threatening mails and smashed windows of his house after that performance. Many angry fans even called for his retirement from the national team, but Yashin didn’t give up and persevered. And in 1963, he put up a brilliant performance while playing in the England vs Rest of the World football match to show that he hadn’t lost the spark yet. That year, he was awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or award and to date, he is the only goalkeeper to achieve such a feat.

USSR made it to the final of the 1964 European Nations’ Cup, with Yashin once again shining for the national side. He was also part of the Russian team that went out of the 1966 World Cup in the quarter-finals against Hungary.

Lev Yashin’s incredible performances have immortalized his name as one of the best goalkeepers of all time.

6- Dino Zoff

Dino Zoff, one of the best football goalkeepers ever, faced rejection very early in his career. At the age of fourteen, he was turned down after having trials with Inter Milan and Juventus for being short. However, the great goalkeeper grew his height and went on to earn his Serie A debut with Udinese in September 1961. His first league match saw the Friulians losing 5-2 against Fiorentina. However, Zoff didn’t face much criticism.

Udinese got relegated at the end of the season. However, he became its first-choice goalkeeper and earned a promotion to the Serie A next campaign. He subsequently joined Mantova. And the shot-stopper made 134 appearances in four years for the Italian outfit.

His performances caught the attention of several big clubs. He landed a move to Napoli in 1967. During his time in Naples, he clocked up 189 appearances across all competitions, earning 82 clean sheets to his name.

At the age of 30, he signed for Juventus and saw incredible successes there. He spent 11 years with the Turin-based club. And he claimed six Serie A titles, two Coppa Italias as well as a UEFA Cup. The Italian famous football player also has the distinction of finishing second in the 1973 Ballon d’Or. He made an incredible 479 appearances across all competitions for the Old Lady, with 330 of those appearances coming in the Serie A.

Aside from his successes for Juventus, Zoff also achieved a great deal for his country. He was part of the team that won the 1968 European Championships in Naples. He managed to keep two clean sheets and ended up winning the best goalkeeper of the tournament.

Zoff was the reserve goalkeeper in the 1970 World Cup, which saw Italy reaching the final of the competition and ultimately losing 4-1 by Brazil. However, he returned to the starting line-up in the 1974 World Cup but his team crashed out of the tournament in the first round.

Zoff was the number one goalkeeper for Italy in the 1978 World Cup when the Azzurri were eliminated in the semi-final. He managed to keep three clean sheets in the tournament but came under some criticism for a mistake he committed in the 2-1 loss to the Netherlands.

His most memorable moment for Italy came in the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Zoff was the captain of the national side and led them to World Cup glory at the age of 40, thus becoming the oldest ever winner of the prestigious competition.

7- Gordon Banks

It will never do to create any list of best football goalkeepers ever and not include Gordon Banks. The great goalkeeper played a hugely important role in the 1966 World Cup victory for England. He managed to keep three clean sheets in the group stages, and also didn’t let anyone score in the quarter-finals against Argentina. The amazing shot-stopper kept four consecutive clean sheets and England went on to win the World Cup.

In the 1970 World Cup, England went out of the tournament in the quarter-finals against West Germany. However, he made a save in the group match against Brazil that is often cited as ‘the greatest save ever made.’ Pele’s close-range header looked certain to go in for a goal but Banks hurled himself across the goal and hence denied the Brazilian legend.

Gordon Banks, one of the best goalkeepers of all time, was born in Sheffield but never noticed by any big local clubs like Sheffield United and Sheffiled Wednesday but he signed for Chesterfield in 1953.

Banks only stayed for a season at the Technique Stadium and went on to join Leicester City in 1959. He helped the Foxes to two FA Cup finals, with the East Midlands outfit subsequently losing both of them to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in 1961 and 1963 respectively. However, he lifted the League Cup with Leicester in 1964 after defeating Stoke City in the final.

Following a successful stint at the Foxes, Banks joined Stoke City in 1967 in a deal worth £50,000. He clocked up 61 appearances across all competitions for the Potters, earning 15 clean sheets to his name. With Stoke, the immensely talented goalkeeper also won the 1972 League Cup, beating Chelsea by 2-1 in the final.

Unfortunately, Banks suffered a very serious accident in October 1972 while overtaking a lorry when he was driving home, sustaining several injuries and badly affecting his right eye. Although he made a good recovery, the talented keeper was never the same again and that accident ended his top-flight career.

He subsequently took a coaching job with the Potters, but didn’t stay long in that position and returned to the field in 1977 by signing for Fort Lauderdale Strikers. He won the NASL Goalkeeper of the Year at the Florida based side, conceding only 29 goals in 26 matches.

8- Manuel Neuer

Unlike most of the other best goalkeepers of all time, Manuel Neuer is still active in football. He has been on the books of Bayern Munich since 2011. He has achieved incredible success with the Bundesliga club.

Neuer started his career by joining the youth academy of Schalke 04 in 1991. He progressed through its ranks over the following years. He signed professional terms with them in 2005. The talented goalkeeper went on to make 27 league appearances for the German side during the 2006-07 season, earning 13 clean sheets to his name. He increased his reputation in the next campaign when he provided an impressive performance against Porto in the Champions League. The amazing goalkeeper made numerous saves to keep the Miners in the game. And later he shone in the shootout as well to help them to the quarter-finals.

During his stay at the Veltins-Arena, the German shot-stopper clocked up 203 appearances across all competitions for Schalke. He also won the DFB-Pokal and DFL-Ligapokal during his time at the club.

Neuer’s performances attracted the attention of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. They signed him in the summer of 2011. However, that didn’t prove to be a very popular decision initially. For fans were unhappy about bringing a Schalke player to the Allianz Arena. But the great goalkeeper won them over within a short period with his amazing performances. He made a record right in the first weeks at Bayern, by going over 1,000 minutes without conceding a goal.

Neuer stole headlines in the Champions League in April 2012, denying penalty kicks from football stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka. He played an important role in helping the Bavarians reach the final of the 2012 European Cup, which saw the Germain giants losing the match against Chelsea on penalties.

Bayern failed to land the coveted prize in 2012, but they put one more effort the next year to win the Champions League trophy and were rewarded. Neuer was once again highly impressive for the Reds between the sticks. By the end of the tournament, he had posted eight saves to help them win European glory.

Manuel Neuer also finished third in the voting for the Ballon d’Or award in 2014, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. After the retirement of Philipp Lahm in July 2017 he was handed the captain’s armband. He kept a clean sheet and guided his side to 1-0 victory against Paris Saint-Germain in the final leading to another Champions League title August 2020.

Since his arrival at the Allianz Arena in 2011, he has won 25 trophies at the German club, including nine Bundesliga titles and two Champions League trophies. So far, he has clocked up 433 appearances across all competitions for the Bavarians, earning 212 clean sheets to his name (stats from Transfermarkt).

In 2010 World Cup Neuer played a major role for Germany in groups stages by conceding only 1 goal. He only missed the match against Uruguay. And Germany went on to lose the semi-final against Spain.

The amazing goalkeeper gave a standout performance in the 2014 World Cup for Germany. He kept two clean sheets in the group stages. And later shone against Algeria in the Round of 16. He secured his third clean sheet of the tournament as Germany defeated France 1-0 in the quarter-finals. Neuer played a key role & stood firm against Argentina in the victory of 1-0. He also participated in the 2018 World Cup and is currently playing in the Euro 2020 as well. That’s all about the Best goalkeepers of all time.


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