These shot-stoppers continue to rule the roost when it comes to performances between the sticks.
The job of goalkeepers is a thankless one. They are amongst the last names to be celebrated in the aftermath of a victory, but the first to be held responsible in the wake of a gaffe.
Yet, the custodian’s importance to his club and country cannot be overstated, which is why having a reliable one in the side is very essential. Amongst the current batch of goalkeepers, these 10 make a case to be the best:
10. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
Diego Simeone fondly refers to him as the ‘Messi of goalkeepers’ and rightfully so. Jan Oblak has set records tumbling since arriving in La Liga almost seven years ago, which includes winning the league’s Golden Glove on a record four occasions.
The Slovenian’s secret sauce is his remarkable consistency. In the current season, Oblak leads the Spanish top-flight in terms of clean sheets and boasts a terrific record of 79.8% save percentage, second to Sevilla’s Yassine Bounou.
Atletico Madrid’s defense has looked suspect in recent weeks. But without their goalkeeper’s heroics between the sticks, it would’ve been much worse.
9. Ederson (Manchester City)
Ederson has transformed Manchester City’s fortunes since his high-profile move to Etihad in 2017. His arrival has coincided with a period of huge success for the Sky Blues. He played an instrumental role in their back-to-back league titles in 2018 and 2019. This includied an unprecedented domestic treble in the latter.
In a time where goalkeepers are increasingly required to build up play, the Brazilian remains the goal-standard. He also uses his precocious athleticism and agility to keep out even the most intimidating forwards in the business.
8. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
His start to life in Barcelona was unconvincing. But now, ter Stegen is almost indispensable and has changed the perception of the goalkeeping position. He is tall, athletic, and immaculate with the ball at his feet. The German continues to impress as Barca’s last line of defense.
His style of play is often compared to his compatriot Manuel Neuer, whom he still hasn’t replaced as Germany’s number one choice in goal. But with the Bayern Munich custodian in the twilight of his career, it’s only a matter of time before he does.
7. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
From being labeled an expensive flop to helping Real Madrid win the La Liga title last year and taking home the Golden Gloves too, Thibaut Courtois certainly turned it around in style. He’s flourished into a key figure in Zinedine Zidane’s side, re-establishing himself amongst Europe’s best custodians.
Still only 28, the Belgian is currently at the peak of his powers, and for all his wealth of experience and widespread acclaim, could only get better. Known for quick reflexes and excellent command of the area, Courtois might be the heir to Iker Casillas, a long-term option in goal for Los Blancos.
6. Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain)
Despite his contributions to Real Madrid after Iker Casillas’ departure, the Costa Rican wasn’t appreciated at the Santiago Bernabeu enough. He was finally offloaded to PSG in 2019. There he’s continued to impress, even helping the Parisians reach the 2020 Champions League finals.
Navas, though bought for only a paltry £13 million, has proved to be worth every penny. He’s been a consistent performer even as PSG went through the motions this season, registering 13 clean sheets so far, the most In Ligue 1 after only Lille’s Mike Maignan, and the highest save percentage with 56.
5. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Nowadays, people have stopped hailing Neuer as the best goalkeeper in the world. Yet, it doesn’t mean he’s any worse. The Bayern Munich custodian has recaptured his mojo and even played an instrumental part in their continental treble last year.
His save ratio isn’t particularly impressive. But he makes up for that with an expansive passing range and the precocious ability to make stunning saves. So even though Neuer isn’t the number one, he’s still a fine all-round goalkeeper. He will definetely go down as an all-time legend.
4. Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)
If you were to draw out a list of the most underrated players currently in the circuit, the name Samir Handanovic would rank somewhere near the top. Since joining Inter Milan from Udinese in 2012, the Slovenian has quietly developed a reputation for consistency and excellent shot-stopping abilities.
Unlike most of the goalkeepers on this list, Handanovic was an old-school type who put more premium on defending than distribution. He has improved that aspect of his game under Antonio Conte.
His 14 clean sheets, the most in Serie A, has bolstered Inter’s solid defence this season. This record was essential in the Nerrazzuri’s first league title win in ten years.
3. Alisson (Liverpool)
Another transformative signing, the arrival of Alisson from AS Roma in 2018 has put paid to all of Liverpool’s goalkeeping woes and helped strengthen their defense overall.
The Brazilian still has an odd mistake in him, and has declined this season, like the rest of the Liverpool stars, but he remains an important member in Jurgen Klopp’s XI and will surely come back into form again soon.
2. Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig)
RB Leipzig have possessed some of the most talented players in their ranks since gaining promotion in 2016. This includes Peter Gulacsi, who people don’t talk much about. The German club signed him from sister club RB Salzburg a year before their Bundesliga return. He has been a mainstay ever since.
Tall, agile, and quick off his line, Gulacsi is fast making a case for the best goalkeeper in the German top-flight. He’s currently leading the charts in the division with 15 clean sheets and boasts the highest save percentage with over 48%.
1. Yassine Bounou (Sevilla)
Last but certainly not the least. It might seem like a controversial choice to some, but Yassine Bounou’s stats in La Liga this season don’t lie. He has conceded 21 goals (the lowest), 0.72 goals-to-game ratio (second lowest), two penalties blocked (joint most).
He’s surely helped by a mean defense ahead of him. But even on occasional breaches,the hulking frame of the Moroccan rattles the opposition forward line. He often reads the game well and produces improbable saves.
Sevilla would’ve certainly been happy to have made his loan move from Girona permanent last summer. But at this rate, Bounou will soon find mightier sides at his doorstep, seeking his services.