Some of these custodians have etched their names in the history of the league with their outstanding performances on the pitch.
Serie A has been home to some of the best players in football and is a league with a rich history. Many local clubs like Juventus, AC Milan and Inter, among others, are considered among the best in the world and are well-supported. The league has produced the second-highest number of Champions League finalists (28), with the clubs winning the competition for the third-highest number of times (12).
Serie A has been known for its teams’ characteristic solidity in defence and part of it comes from the impregnable goalkeepers who have gone on to grace the league. They’ve been an integral part of their teams’ success with, their performances and most importantly the clean-sheets that they have accumulated.
Today, we take a look at the five goalkeepers who have amassed the most number of clean sheets in the competition’s history.
5. Gianluca Pagliuca – 194 clean-sheets
Pagliuca represented three teams in his two-decade-long career at the summit of Italian football, featuring in about 600 matches for Sampdoria, Inter Milan and hometown club Bologna.
During his time, he kept 194 clean-sheets, which helped him win the Serie A in 1990-91 and the Coppa Italia thrice with Sampdoria and the UEFA Cup in 1997 with Inter. Over the course of his career he recorded a 32.6% clean-sheet average across the league or once every third game.
4. Giovanni Galli – 211 clean-sheets
Giovanni Galli featured for the likes of Fiorentina, Napoli, Parma and AC Milan in the most successful phase in his career.
Galli kept 211 clean-sheets at an average of 42.5%, and won the league once and the Champions League (then European Cup) with AC Milan as part of Arrigo Sacchi’s dream squad in the late 80s. He also won the Europa League (then UEFA Cup) with Parma in 1995 and crowned his career with a World Cup medal in 1982.
He is also an inductee into the Hall of Fame of both Fiorentina and AC Milan for his services to the clubs, having featured prominently for them in his career.
3. Enrico Albertosi – 237 clean-sheets
Enrico Albertosi was an integral part of the Cagliari, Fiorentina and Milan sides of the late 60s and 70s, when he won the Serie A twice and the Coppa Italia thrice. He also won the Euros in 1968 with Italy.
During the course of his career, Albertosi kept 237 clean-sheets at an impressive rate of 44.7%.
2. Dino Zoff – 276 clean-sheets
Dino Zoff is Italian royalty and is considered among the best goalkeepers of all-time. An excellent shot-stopper and organiser, Zoff showed amazing consistency and composure between the sticks and was an inextricable part of the Juventus renaissance in the 1970s and 80s. He accumulated 276 clean-sheets at a rate of 48.8% – the highest in the league.
Such was Zoff’s consistency that he holds the record for the most consecutive matches played in Serie A history, featuring for 332 games in a row! Infact, he featured in every game for Juventus in his time with the Bianconeri.
His importance to his clubs and country are highlighted by the success he achieved. Zoff won six league titles with the Turin club and the UEFA Cup in 1977. He also won the Euros in 1968 and the 1982 World Cup with Italy, when he captained the side and set the record for the oldest player to feature in and win a World Cup final at the age of 40 years.
Zoff set many other goalkeeping records. He went 1142 minutes without conceding a goal in international matches and also set the record for the most minutes without conceding in European Championship matches (qualifying and final) with 784 minutes.
Zoff’s legendary status in Italy inspired many generations of young goalkeepers, including the man who would go on to usurp his status at the top for many years.
1. Gianluigi Buffon – 296 clean-sheets
It would’ve been clear to everyone by now who would top the list and it had to be Gianluigi Buffon. It is incredible that the evergreen goalkeeper is still going strong with Juventus at the age of 42.
Considered by many as the greatest Italian goalkeeper ever, Buffon has the right credentials to back that claim. Unprecedented levels of success with Juventus, a World Cup with his nation and plenty of other records firmly ensconce Buffon among the pantheon of greats from Italy.
He made a historical switch from youth club Parma to Juventus in 2001 for €52m, a then record fee for a goalkeeper. Since then, he never looked back, as titles and success followed. Buffon peaked when he won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, being an indomitable force in goal, conceding only twice in the entire tournament. He is his country’s most-capped player, is the most-capped European player and is the second-most capped goalkeeper of all-time.
Buffon has featured the most number of times in Serie A and broke the record in his 649th appearance in a Juventus shirt in the Turin Derby two weeks back, surpassing Paolo Maldini’s record in the process. During this time, he has kept a mammoth 296 clean-sheets at a rate of 45.6%.
His services and commitment to Juventus have been rewarded with a record nine league titles and he could be on the cusp of lifting an unprecedented 10th trophy with the Old Lady. The elusive Champions League remains the only trophy that his collection is bereft off. It is a testament to his longevity and class that he still sustains the energy and is going hard for the trophy even a quarter of a century later in his career.