These young shot-stoppers have been stealing the limelight with their brilliant performances.
Gianluigi Donnarumma won UEFA’s Best Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020. In doing so, the 22-year-old became only the second goalkeeper to win the award after Peter Schmeichel in 1992. This has turned the world’s attention towards budding goalkeepers who can enthrall audiences similarly.
A few of these keepers have already contributed to their teams with outstanding individual performances. Illan Meslier and Christian Fruchtl are some of the more familiar names, but who else makes the cut? Find out for yourself in this list of the top 10 young goalkeepers in the world:
10. Gabriel Brazao (Inter Milan)
Internazionale youngster Gabriel has been under the tutelage of veteran captain Samir Handanovic for a while now. Despite not having made any appearances for the Nerazzurri, he remains an interesting goalkeeper to look out for.
He had a good season with Segunda Division side Albacete in 2019-20, as he made 15 saves and had a save percentage of 75% in only five appearances. Only time will tell if he can replicate this form at the highest level.
9. Manuel Gasparini (Legnago)
Gasparini broke through the ranks at Udinese Calcio and currently plies his trade at Serie C club Legnago. Since his senior professional debut in the 2017/18 season of the Coppa Primavera, he has kept 10 clean-sheets across 57 appearances.
Additionally, he has managed a clean-sheet in a mere five appearances for Legnago in 2021/22. If he keeps up this level, Udinese might look to rope him back in for the No. 1 spot.
8. Stefan Bajic (AS Saint Etienne)
Bajic has been a true Sainté Les Verts player, as he has joined the first-team directly from their academy. The 20-year-old Frenchman has made seven starts with Saint Etienne this season, but has failed to keep a clean-sheet. However, his knack of coming off his line often coupled with his adeptness in clearing aerial balls is commendable.
He still has a long way to go as Saint Etienne sit 20th in the Ligue 1 table. Expect him to better his 1.4 saves inside the box (per game) that he has managed in only seven starts this season.
7. Dogan Alemdar (Stade Rennais)
The 19-year-old Kayserispor graduate has started off a potentially eventful career with his move to French side, Stade Rennais. His single start of the campaign came in Rennais’ loss to AS Nancy in the Coupe de France.
With the inclusion of U-21 and U-19 games, Dogan has featured for Kayserispor 69 times. Last season, he amassed a total of nine clean-sheets in 28 appearances for the Turkish outfit in the Super Lig. His impressive 3.2 saves per match are surely worth following, as they signal a smart goalkeeper in the making.
6. Christian Fruchtl (Bayern Munich)
One of the top young goalkeepers to keep an eye on is Christian Fruchtl of Bayern Munich. The 21-year-old Fruchtl has been playing as an understudy to Bayern’s legendary Manuel Neuer so far. Though he has not played with the first team, Bayern Munich staff have been keeping a close eye on his performances.
In 2019/20, Fruchtl played 27 matches with the Bavarians’ third division side, Bayern Munich II and helped them win the league. He generated 28 saves and kept five clean-sheets, while also saving a penalty. One can expect him to excel, should he feature for the Stern des Sudens in the future.
5. Konstantinos Tzolakis (Olympiacos)
At only 19 years of age, Tzolakis has already gotten his hands on silverware thrice with Olympiacos. He was part of the squads that won the Greek Cup (2020) and the Greek league twice (2020, 2021). With 55 appearances so far, he has gotten 17 clean-sheets.
More impressively, two of those clean-sheets came in four appearances during the UEFA Champions League qualifying stages. Having managed a solid three clean-sheets in five league appearances this season, Tzolakis is looking to fly high.
4. Maarten Vandevoordt (Genk)
Genk’s Belgian goalkeeper has become a regular in their starting XI after his 10 impressive starts last season. He has a record of 93 saves from a staggering 136 shots faced, while keeping six clean-sheets. Vandevoordt ranks in the 95th and 98th percentile for defensive actions outside the penalty area and average distance of defensive actions from goal, respectively.
This suggests how comfortable he is while playing in a sweeper-keeper role. At such a young age, his commitment is enormous and enough to make him a dependable last line of defence for any team.
3. Gavin Bazunu (Portsmouth)
The 19-year-old Irish shot-stopper is at Portsmouth this season, on loan from Manchester City. Portsmouth utilized the opportunity to snap him up after his stint with Rochdale saw him make a whopping 85 saves. The Shamrock Rovers graduate has already repaid the faith of Pompey, by bettering his previous record (seven) and getting nine clean-sheets this season.
A total of 13 clean-sheets from 49 appearances and 142 saves from 217 shots faced are milestones by themselves. City keepers might be excited to see him flourish and the likes of Ederson and Zack Steffen may want him to learn from them.
2. Kjell Scherpen (Brighton and Hove Albion)
The Seagulls’ latest recruit has an impressive CV and has already made his mark in Premier League 2. Scherpen won the Dutch league twice and the Dutch Cup once with Ajax. In his first season in the Eredivisie, he managed 34 appearances and followed it up with five clean-sheets and 48 saves from 14 games in the Eerste Divisie.
This season, he has kept one clean-sheet in his six appearances for the Brighton U-23 team. Scherpen’s 61 saves last season earned him his transfer to Brighton, where he can easily strive to be one of the best.
1. Illan Meslier (Leeds United)
Most people will recall Meslier from his stupendous reactionary saves against Sheffield United, Arsenal and Everton last season. The Frenchman has been handed the spot for starting goalkeeper by Leeds tactician Marcelo Bielsa. Despite Leeds’ 5-1 thrashing on opening day by Manchester United this season, he has managed three clean-sheets in 19 appearances.
Additionally, he has also followed up last season’s 134 saves with 63 so far. Bielsa’s high-octane brand of football has seen him get in the 88th percentile for touches (on the ball per 90) as he has an average of 42.78 touches. He is most effective aerially as his inclusion in the 99th percentile with 13.4% crosses stopped (per 90 minutes), suggests. Playing in arguably the hardest of all top five leagues, Meslier has generated some photogenic saves and is likely to continue doing the same.