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10 Greatest Goalkeepers in Football History

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10 Greatest Goalkeepers in Football History

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Among the different players on the football team, one of the most important players is the goalkeeper. Goalkeepers serve as the last line of defense for their team. They are like a guardian for the team and play to prevent the other team by using agility, reflexes, and strategic positioning. Goalkeepers carry the responsibility of their team’s success and are praised for making amazing saves, but they also take the blame if a goal goes in.

Over the years, there have been many amazing goalkeepers that have made their mark in football history. These are just a few of the greatest goalkeepers in football history:

Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon, renowned for his iconic Alice band, has cemented his status as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world. Since his impressive debut in Serie A against AC Milan as a young player, Buffon has consistently exhibited unparalleled excellence. His opponent, Casillas, once stated that it was impossible to find any weaknesses in his game. Buffon’s contributions to Italy’s 2006 World Cup victory, where he was only beaten by an own goal and a penalty, have made him a national icon.

Additionally, his loyalty to Juventus, even during their relegation to Serie B, has solidified his legendary status at the club. While the Champions League title eluded him, Buffon remains one of the most universally renowned goalkeepers in football history. Having made his mark with Italy and club sides Parma and Juventus, Buffon joined Juventus for a then world-record fee of £32.5 million in 2001, securing numerous Serie A titles and earning the title of best goalkeeper in Europe multiple times.

With 176 international caps, Buffon played a pivotal role in Italy’s 2006 World Cup triumph, finishing second in the Ballon d’Or that year. In a surprising turn of events, Buffon returned to his former club, Parma, in June 2021, even after their relegation. His contract with Parma is set to last until 2024, allowing him to continue his illustrious career until the age of 46.

Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas, a legendary figure in the world of football, has an impressive collection of trophies to his name. With five La Liga titles, four Supercopa de España victories, two Copa del Rey triumphs, three UEFA Champions League conquests, two UEFA Super Cup wins, one Intercontinental Cup title, and one FIFA Club World Cup championship, Casillas has proven his dominance on the field.

His remarkable career, spanning 16 years, is primarily associated with Real Madrid, where he made 725 appearances before transferring to FC Porto in 2015. Additionally, Casillas served as Spain’s first-choice goalkeeper during their most successful era from 2008 to 2012, winning two European Championships and the World Cup. While he may have been a worthy runner-up in some instances, Casillas’ extraordinary saves throughout his career suggest that he could have easily been considered the best.

Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel, a Danish and Polish national, is widely regarded as one of the most iconic and feared goalkeepers in football history. His exceptional abilities and brilliant saves instilled confidence in his teammates whenever he was on the field. It is difficult to imagine Manchester United’s dominance in English football during the 1990s without the presence of Peter Schmeichel.

After leaving Manchester United, Schmeichel went on to play for Aston Villa and later joined Manchester City before ultimately retiring from professional football in 2003. As of February 2023, Schmeichel is 59 years old and his legacy as a remarkable goalkeeper remains intact.

Pat Jennings

Pat Jennings, an esteemed goalkeeper, made a significant impact during his time with Tottenham Hotspur. In his first year with the club, although he played only 50 games, he managed to keep 15 clean sheets and even scored a goal in a charity match against Manchester United in 1967. The ball sailed over Alex Stepney, resulting in a thrilling 3-3 draw.

During the 1971-1972 season, Jennings maintained an impressive average of almost one clean sheet every two games, recording 28 in 67 matches and securing his first trophy. In the following season, he achieved back-to-back victories in the Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Cup competitions. Notably, Jennings won the prestigious Footballer of the Year award during this successful period. His contributions to the team and his individual accolades solidify his status as a respected figure in the world of football.


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Peter Shilton

Peter Shilton, known for his extraordinary longevity, holds an impressive record in professional football. Starting his career at the age of 16 with Leicester City, he became the youngest player ever to feature in a professional league. At just 18, Shilton even scored a goal in a game against Southampton. He later joined Stoke City in 1974, playing a pivotal role in their remarkable 42-game winning streak. Shilton’s most significant stint was with this English football team, representing them from 1970 to 1990.

Throughout his career, he achieved numerous accolades, including winning the Rous Cup in 1986, 1988, and 1989. In 1991, Shilton was honored with the FWA Tribute Award, presented by the Football Writers’ Association to players who have made significant contributions to the game. While it remains to be seen if anyone will surpass Shilton’s longevity, players like Gianluigi Buffon, currently playing for Parma in the Serie B, continue to impress at an older age, with Buffon still actively playing at 42.

Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer, born on March 27, 1986, is widely recognized as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football. He currently serves as the captain for both Bayern Munich and the German national team. Neuer’s distinctive playing style, characterized by his ability to rush off his line and anticipate opponents, has earned him the nickname “sweeper-keeper.” Despite still being in the early stages of his career, Neuer has already established himself as one of the best in the game over the course of nine years.

His standout performances for Schalke 04 during the 2011 Champions League, where they reached the semi-finals unexpectedly, caught the attention of Bayern Munich, who acquired him for €22 million. Since joining Bayern Munich, Neuer has only improved, showcasing remarkable shot-stopping abilities, reflexes, and agility that defy belief. He has carried his exceptional form onto the international stage as well. Neuer’s weekly salary amounts to £338,628, and he has signed a contract with Bayern Munich that extends until 2024.

Oliver Kahn

Oliver Kahn, a legendary figure in football, has an impressive list of achievements throughout his career. With six DFB-Pokal titles, eight Bundesliga titles, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Champions League, and one Intercontinental Cup, Kahn has proven his worth as a remarkable goalkeeper. His 14-year tenure with Bayern Munich is particularly memorable, where he played a vital role in their success, including winning numerous domestic titles and the prestigious UEFA Champions League.

While Kahn reached the final of the 2002 World Cup with the German national team, he was awarded the Golden Ball for his outstanding performance. Additionally, he finished in third place for both the 2001 and 2002 Ballon d’Or awards, showcasing his excellence on the global stage. Kahn’s saves throughout his career often defied the odds, leaving spectators in awe of his exceptional skill and determination.

Dino Zoff

Dino Zoff Grande Ufficiale OMR, an Italian football legend, achieved remarkable feats throughout his career. At the age of 40, Zoff became the oldest player to win a World Cup while captaining the Italian national team. His leadership and skill were instrumental in securing this historic victory. Additionally, Zoff holds the record for the longest time without conceding a goal in international events, going an impressive 1142 minutes.

This remarkable record still stands today. Zoff made his final appearance for the Italian national team on 29 May 1983 and officially retired from professional football on 2 June 1983. His illustrious career also included playing for the renowned club Juventus. With his exceptional contributions to the sport, Zoff remains a celebrated figure in Italian football history. As of February 2023, he is 80 years old.

Édouard Osoque Mendy

Édouard Osoque Mendy, born on March 1, 1992, is a Senegalese goalkeeper who has made significant contributions to the success of Chelsea Football Club. In 2021, Mendy played a crucial role in Chelsea’s victories in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup. He also represented his home country, Senegal, in the Africa Cup of Nations during the same year.

Mendy’s exceptional performances earned him the title of the best goalkeeper in the world at the FIFA “The Best” Awards on January 17, 2022. His achievements and skill have solidified his status as one of the greatest English Premier League (EPL) goalkeepers of all time. At the age of 30 as of February 2023, Mendy continues to impress with his remarkable abilities between the goalposts.

Richard Kingson

Richard Kingson, a retired Ghanaian footballer, has left an amazing mark on the sport. He proudly represented his nation in two FIFA World Cups, participating in the tournaments held in Germany in 2006 and Brazil in 2010. Additionally, Kingson showcased his talent in five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, taking part in the years 1996, 1998, 2000, 2008, and 2010.

Throughout his career, he had the privilege of playing for notable international clubs such as Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Blackpool, and Galatasaray. In 2014, Kingson joined Balikesirspor, a Turkish club, and ultimately retired from professional football in 2016. With his exceptional skills and contributions, Kingson has rightfully earned his place among the best African goalkeepers of all time. As of February 2023, at the age of 44, his legacy endures.


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