Gone are the days where a goalie’s responsibilities were confined to shot-stopping. Joe Hart was great at that, and was renowned as one of the world’s best during his time at Manchester City. Where is he now? Sitting on the bench at Burnley.
Being an impressive save-maker is a minimum requirement if you want to be one of the best. Keepers who are currently labelled the world’s greatest boast wide-ranging skillsets, including their abilities with the ball at their feet.
These days, it’s common practice to observe keepers playing as the fifth defender, charged with building the first phase of attacks.
Here’s 90min’s list of the current top-performing goalkeepers across Europe.
7. Samir Handanovic (Internazionale)
In 2018/19, he recorded 20 clean sheets from 49 appearances in all competitions. Under Antonio Conte, Handanovic has continued to excel. He has conceded an average of 0.86 goals per 90 minutes – the lowest total throughout Serie A.
His importance to Inter was laid-clear for all to see after he missed the recent Milan derby through injury. His replacement, Daniele Padelli, made two errors that could have cost Conte’s men three invaluable points. ?Inter will be praying their number one – nicknamed ‘Batman’ – can return swiftly to save the day.
6. Keylor Navas (PSG)
Since his summer move to PSG, Navas has recaptured the form from earlier in his career. At 33, you’d perhaps expect the beginning of a slight decline. Not a chance.
He’s kept the most clean sheets across Europe’s top five leagues (15), and conceded just 17 goals in 26 appearances, which ranks him third best across the continent.
The French champions have chopped and changed their keepers these past few seasons, but it looks as though they’ve struck gold with the triple Champions League-winning Costa Rican stopper.
5. Ederson (Manchester City)
City have had a difficult season this time out, falling desperately short of runaway league leaders Liverpool. Yet, Ederson has still managed 11 shut-outs in 27 appearances in all competitions – the second-best total across the Premier League’s goalkeepers.
Impressive, but not quite as outstanding as his record during the 2018/19 campaign – 28 clean sheets, and just 38 goals conceded in 55 appearances.
4. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
?Courtois initially struggled for form after joining
The 27-year-old has played his part in Real’s impressive form, and vastly improved defensive record. He has managed 13 clean sheets in 27 appearances across all competitions, conceding an average of just 0.70 goals per game – the second lowest in Europe.
Finally, it looks as though the Belgian is proving he is the player Real envisaged when they signed him from Chelsea in 2018.
3. Marc-Andre ter Stegen
The Germany international has established himself as one of Europe’s elite-level keepers in recent years. At 27, he has time yet to improve even further, and will have an eye on wrestling the German number one position, currently occupied by Manuel Neuer.
However, ter Stegen’s Barcelona have struggled this season. In the defensive third, they have conceded plenty of goals, meaning ter Stegen ranks lower in comparison to his European competitors. Yet, his ability with the ball at his feet remains remarkable. The German has two assists in La Liga this season – that’s one more than Eden Hazard.
Still, he has a respectable nine clean sheets in 29 appearances so far. His position among Europe’s best remains undisputed as is underlined by his 23 clean sheets in 49 games during the 2018/19 season – just one fewer than Atlético’s Jan Oblak.
2. Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid)
The Slovenian has managed an impressive 14 clean sheets in 31 appearances – the second best record across Europe. During that period, he conceded an average of 0.71 goals per game.
In December, he broke his club’s record for the most clean sheets – it was his 96th in just 169 La Liga fixtures. Before this campaign, he had won La Liga Best Goalkeeper of the Season award for the fourth consecutive time – another record.
The human brick wall simply does not like conceding goals.
1. Alisson (Liverpool)
Yes, Alisson didn’t come cheap. However, there’s several reasons behind The Reds’ scintillating form over the last two years. And the Brazilian between the sticks is certainly one of them.
In his first season, he conceded just 34 goals in 51 appearances, recording 27 clean sheets. This season, the 27-year-old has been almost impenetrable as Liverpool’s last line of defence.
His recent crowning as FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year underlined just how good he’s been these past few years. Oh, and ?he baptises his teammates. What can’t he do?
Honourable mentions: David De Gea, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Wojciech Szczesny, Manuel Neuer, Andre Onana