In modern football, the goalkeeper holds the most important place.
It can be extremely hard to be a good goalkeeper in the modern era if you arent above six feet in height.
You can handle the relatively high balls much more easily in the penalty area and cover the corners of the goal as you move through the age groups.
Athletic ability is another thing that seems obvious, but that can be taught and learned. Good coordination of the hand-eye could be something else. Like the ability to communicate to the players in front of you.
However many goalkeepers have become absolute legends of the game throughout the history of soccer, marking their careers forever into the history books.
Fans have seen some excellent goalkeepers stand between the sticks in the last 100 years.
To know who are they, here are the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time:
10. Petr Čech
Petr Cech started his professional career in the year 1999 and at the age of 19, registered a league record of not conceding single a goal in 903 minutes. He is strong in his positional area, organization of the defense, and handling the situation when coming off his line to claim the crosses. Represented Czech national team at the 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 European Championships and at the 2006 WC. Holds a record to reach 100 clean sheets in the fewest appearances in Premier League and the most number of clean sheets in a single season. Since the year 2000, Cech has the third-most clean sheets among all goalkeepers.
9. Edwin van der Sar
Edwin van der Sar due to his height and physique excelled at coming off his line to handle the crosses. He is one of the best soccer goalies of all time known for his calm composure, ability to organize the defense and shot-stopping.
Began his career in the early 1990s and won 26 major trophies in his career. Set a world record of not conceding a single league goal around 1311 minutes during 2008-09. Also, the oldest player to win the Premier League in 2011. Won Best European Goalkeeper award in 1995, 2009 and UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2009. Der Sar considered being a member of the Club’s golden generation.
8. Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks in his 20 years of professional career, appeared in 679 matches and became popular by 1996’s World Cup victory. He made game’s great saves to prevent the goal of Pele in the 1970 World Cup and had not played further games because of his illness. Banks played for Chesterfield in 1953 and for Stoke City in 1972. Despite having the vision in only one eye, played for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 1977 and 1978. Named FIFA Goalkeeper of the year for 6 times and FWA Footballer of the Year in 1972.
7. Dino Zoff
Dino Zoff was a professional orthodox, experienced player who saved his teams with decisive saves and spectacular dives because of his strength.
Often considered as the best keepers of all time, he led the team towards winning the World Cup.
In which he captained the Italian national team in the year 1982. Only the Italian players who have won the European championship and World cup. Between 1972 and 1974 he has a record of playing for the longest time which is 1142 minutes, without allowing goals in international tournaments. Zoff placed in the 100 Greatest players of the 20th century of World Soccer Magazine and Pele named him as one of the 100 greatest living footballers.
6. Manuel Neuer
Manuel Peter Neuer is the captain of the German National team and for Bayern Munich as well. Because of his playing style which is unique and going out of the goalkeeper box, he has been called a Sweeper-Keeper. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he conceded only a single goal, and in the 2014 FIFA WC, he won Golden Glove Award for being the best in the entire tournament. Started playing for Bayern Munich in 2011 and won 23 trophies which include 2 UEFA Champions League titles and 8 Bundesliga titles. For the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, he finished 3rd in the voting in 2014.
He is often considered as one of the best goalies of all time.
5. Oliver Kahn
Oliver Rolf Kahn is also known as Der Titan for his aggressive style and commanding presence in the goal. Kahn’s prowess in goal making, made Germany reach the final in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Winning 8 Bundesliga titles, 6 DFB-Pokalss, UEFA Champions League, Intercontinental Cup, and the UEFA Cup made him the most successful German player. He was awarded UEFA Best European Goalkeeper award 4 times consecutively and the German Footballer of the Year trophy 2 times. In the 2002 FIFA WC, he is the only goalkeeper in the history of the tournament to win the Golden Ball.
4. Peter Schmeichel
Peter Boleslaw Schmeichel captained the Danish National Team for around 30 matches and became successful by playing for the English club Manchester United who also led the 1999 UEFA Champions League. He is famous for his fierce competition, excellent reflexes, and loud voice. He often goes up for the corner kicks in opposition’s areas when his team were trailing and scored 11 goals. Played at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Euro 92, and 3 European Championships. Inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2003 and named as one of the “125 greatest living footballers” in 2004 at the celebrations of FIFA 100.
3. Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas Fernandez is popular for his quick reactions, shot-stopping ability, and ability to produce spectacular saves. One of the few who appeared in over 1000 career matches and has the record for the cleanest sheets in Spain’s national team and UEFA Champions League. In 2012, set a record for most consecutive minutes without conceding a single goal which is 509 in the European championship. Won all the major club titles which include La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Championships and Super cups, FIFA Club WC. Also, selected for the UEFA Team of the Year 6 times consecutively and 5 times for the FIFPro World XI which is a record. In August 2020, the best goalkeeper ever made his retirement from professional football.
2. Lev Yashin
Lev Ivanovich Yashin is known for his stature, positioning, acrobatic reflex saves, and imposing presence in goal. He revolutionized the position of goalkeeping by imposing authority on the defense. His performance in the 1958 World Cup, made an impression on the audience that broadcasted at the global level. Saved more than 150 penalty kicks in football which is more than any other goalkeeper according to FIFA. Chosen for the FIFA WC All-Time Team in 1994 and member of the World Team of the 20th Century in 1998. Several streets in the Russian cities have named after Yashin and in the year 2017, also appeared on the official World Cup poster.
1. Gianluigi Buffon
Considering all stats, football players, and fans Gianluigi Buffon is regarded as the best goalkeeper of all time.
Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon has the record of longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A history of over 12 matches. Also, one of the few players who made 1000 professional career appearances. He went unbeaten for 974 minutes consecutively in the 2015-16 season. He represented Italy at the 1996 Olympics, 2 FIFA Confederations Cups, and 4 European Championships. Sky Sports ranked him as the 4th best player who never won the European Cup or Champions League in 2020. The only goalkeeper to have won the “UEFA Club Footballer of the Year” award and was named in the “FIFA 100 World’s Greatest living players” by Pele in 2004.