A top-notch custodian is the foundation of every successful football club, but who is the greatest to have ever manned the goalposts? Goalkeepers are frequently passed over for the more glamorized positions in the squad while playing in possibly the most undervalued position in sports. Do they receive enough recognition for one of the hardest jobs on the pitch that calls for focus, calm, and the ability to make saves at any given time throughout a game? Find the list of the top 10 goalkeepers of all time below.
10. Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks is largely considered as the best custodian to ever play for England. The custodian from Sheffield who made that save against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup will live on in memory because he passed away in 2019 at the age of 81. Banks produced a save that stopped the world when he made a remarkable reaction save against Pele’s strong and straight header, earning the title of “the save of the century” from fans and commentators worldwide and starting out a list of the top 10 goalkeepers of all time.
9. Edwin van der Sar
Edwin van der Sar was a very exceptional custodian who, in my opinion, performed at his best when playing for Manchester United in the latter part of his career. The Dutchman was an absolute powerhouse in goal with the Red Devils, where he won four Premier League championships and the UEFA Champions League. He was a standout player for Ajax in the 1990s before playing for Juventus and Fulham after leaving Ajax. It’s amazing to witness some of these saves from his early Ajax days.
8. Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel is recognized as one of the most illustrious goalkeepers in the history of the Premier League, along with Edwin van der Sar. The elite Dane, who won five league championships with Manchester United and the Champions League in 1999, was one of the finest reflex savers the world has ever produced. He is regarded as one of the finest players in Scandinavian football history and is well-known for commanding the defense with his distinctive screams. His son Kasper Schmeichel followed in his father’s footsteps and is another exceptional custodian. He is renowned for helping Leicester City win the FA Cup and the Premier League while serving as their captain.
7. Oliver Kahn
Oliver Kahn’s 14-year stint with Bayern Munich, during which he won several championships, including eight Bundesliga crowns and the UEFA Champions League, is what people most often recall about him. Kahn finished second with Germany in the 2002 World Cup, but he also took home the Golden Ball. In addition, he came in third place in the vote for the Ballon d’Or honors in 2001 and 2002. Some of these saves are unbelievable.
6. Petr Cech
Petr Cech, perhaps the best custodian in the history of the Premier League, won four league championships with Chelsea in addition to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. In their exceptional defensive performance between 2004 and 2006, when they allowed only 15 and 22 goals while winning back-to-back Premier League titles, Cech was just as significant as John Terry. The 38-year-old, who is now classified as Chelsea’s backup custodian, spent the final four years of his career with Arsenal.
5. Manuel Neuer
Over the previous ten years, Manuel Neuer, a unique yet incredibly brilliant custodian, has had great success with Bayern Munich and Germany. In the first part of the 2010s, the 35-year-old German footballer was the best in the world and one of the most decorated goalkeepers in history. He is one of the boldest and most assured goalkeepers we’ve ever seen since he frequently plays more than 30 yards off his line in a sweeper-keeper style helping him to the top 10 goalkeepers of all time.
4. Dino Zoff
Dino Zoff is undoubtedly among the finest goalkeepers the world has ever seen. The 79-year-old Italian is renowned for having played for teams like Napoli and Juventus. In addition to the European Championship, he also won the World Cup in 1982. Amazingly, from September 1972 to June 1974, he held the record for the longest streak of perfect play (1,142 minutes). He has preserved 360 clean sheets from 720 first-level club games, which is extremely exceptional and puts his incredible career into perspective.
3. Gianluigi Buffon
Gianluigi Buffon, who many people rank above the great Dino Zoff as the greatest Italian shot-stopper ever, was the best custodian in the world throughout the 2000s. Buffon, who is 43 years old, is still going strong and a beloved figure in football. Between 1997 and 2018, the Juventus great played 178 times for Italy, winning the World Cup in 2006. With 350 clean sheets in first-level club matches, he is also the Italian player with the most appearances overall, finishing just ten behind Zoff. Who knows, maybe he’s still playing at 43 for the love of the sport or to beat Zoff’s record.
2. Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas has won everything under the sun, including the World Cup, European Championship, and Champions League. His trophy collection says a lot, and his on-field prowess did the rest of the talking. Casillas played 725 times for Los Blancos throughout his illustrious 16-year professional career before transferring to FC Porto in 2015. During the most prosperous time in Spain’s history, which was between 2008 and 2012, when La Roja won two European Championships and the World Cup, Casillas was also the national team’s first-choice custodian. A more than deserving runner-up, but some of these saves make him seem like our first choice.
1. Lev Yashin
Without a question, Lev Yashin is the best custodian in the sport’s history and is considered as the Soviet Union’s all-time greatest player. Yashin, one of football’s all-time greats, played his whole professional career at Dynamo Moscow, but it was his accomplishments with the Soviet Union at the international level that garnered the world’s attention. He stopped almost 150 penalty kicks in his career, which is the highest mark ever, and he also managed to maintain 270 clean sheets in his about 420 career games played. More significantly, he is still the only custodian in history to have won the Ballon d’Or, and it will probably be a while before that feat is repeated making him the best of the top 10 goalkeepers of all time.
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