Today marks the start of a new series: World Football 100. The goal of this series is to cover the top 100 players in football. The focus on this edition is goalies.
In world football today, goal keepers are often overshadowed by their attacking teammates. Goalscorer’s tend to get lauded with praise far more often than their goalkeeping counterparts. Forwards, wingers, and even midfielders tend to receive more glory from the fans and the media than keepers do. In this article, I am going to give keepers the respect they deserve. Today, we are going to cover football’s top goalkeepers.
1. Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich
Manuel Neuer stands completely alone as football’s best keeper. Since joining Bayern in 2011, Neuer has been one of football’s very best goalies; his transfer fee echoes this fact. His move from Schalke 04 to Bayern Munich cost 21,000,000 pounds, the second most of all time. Manuel Neuer’s reflexes coupled with his “Sweeper Keeper” style of play make him football’s best and most entertaining keeper.
2. David de Gea, Manchester United
The Premier League’s top goalkeeper, de Gea has been a stalwart in goal for the Red Devils since joining the side from Atletico Madrid in 2011. David de Gea has been playing at the international level for Spain since he debuted for the Under-15 team in 2004. At just 25 years of age, de Gea has a chance to be one of the best ever.
3. Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea
The second premier league keeper on this list, Courtois is as talented as any goalie in the world not named Manuel Neuer. Thibaut Courtois has been fortunate enough to anchor the goalie position for both Premier League powerhouse Chelsea and world power Belgium. Only 24, the 6’6” Courtois has been established as a top keeper in world football.
4. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham
Since joining Tottenham from French club Lyon in 2012, Lloris has been a Premier League staple for the Hotspur. Now, he is both Tottenham and France’s starting goalkeeper. Hugo Lloris has had over 80 appearances for his country and nearly double that for his club. Tottenham could not ask for anything better than a consistent Hugo Lloris in net.
5. Petr Cech, Arsenal
After losing the starting keeper job at Chelsea (to Thibaut Cortois), Cech moved on to club rival Arsenal during 2015’s summer transfer window. Not only has Cech been a permanent fixture in the Premier League, but he has also made 124 appearances for the Czech Republic since his debut in 2002. At 34, Cech is certainly not the youngest goalie in the game, but he is still one of the best.
6. Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid
Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak holds the record for most expensive goalie transfer in the history of La Liga. Atletico paid over 12 million pounds to Portuguese powerhouse Benfica for his services in 2014. Still only 23, Oblak has an unbelievably bright future as the first choice goalkeeper for Atletico Madrid and Slovenia.
7. Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus
The oldest goalie on this list, “Gigi” Buffon has been a mainstay in both club and world football since 1997. Buffon has only played for two club teams in his career: Parma and Juventus. He has over 600 appearances combined for the two teams. Buffon also has 165 international appearances for Italy, making him the player with the eighth most appearances for his country of all time. Hopefully Gianluigi Buffon has a few more years of greatness left in him.
8. Keylor Navas, Real Madrid
Keylor Navas accomplished one of the most impressive things in football: he outed the great Iker Casillas and won the starting job for Real Madrid. Since becoming a consistent first-team player for Los Blancos, Navas has been one of the most important players for Real Madrid. The Costa Rican has done a wonderful job in goal for both Madrid and his country.
9. Claudio Bravo, Manchester City
The Chilean has had a whirlwind three months. Barcelona finally decided to out Bravo from their goalkeeper rotation and transfer him to Premier League powerhouse Manchester City. While Bravo hasn’t had nearly enough time to be praised or criticized for his new club, his prior exploits at previous clubs and for his country have proved Claudio Bravo to be a top-tier keeper.
10. Rui Patrício, Sporting CP
Rui Patrício is somewhat of an anomaly in club football today; he was signed by Sporting Lisbon at a young age and has been with that single club ever since. Patrício has had over 260 appearances for Lisbon since then. Not only has Rui Patrício been Sporting Lisbon’s keeper his entire career, he has also been Portugal’s top choice in goal since the 2014 World Cup. Patrício has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in football for many, many years.
11. Bernd Leno, Bayer Leverkusen
In 2011, at just 19 years old, Bernd Leno became one of the youngest first-team keepers in the Bundesliga and the youngest goalie to ever play in a Champions League match, all in the same year. Since then, Leno has become one of the best young goalkeepers in the world for German club Bayer Leverkusen. Unfortunately for Leno, he is stuck behind Manuel Neuer on the German international depth chart, which severely limits his number of international appearances. The future is bright for this young keeper.
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Published by Joseph Lowery