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Top 10 Greatest Goalkeepers Of All Time15 min read

top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time

In this post, we will check out the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.

Goalkeepers play a vital role in every game however they still hold the most underrated position in football. Goalkeepers’ contribution to the game is often not celebrated much compared to goal scorers.

However, It is still one of the most difficult jobs on the field that requires strength, control, and the sense to pull off the great saves at the most important stages of the game.

We have seen some of the great goalkeepers over the years and will gonna talk about them in this post. It’s true that Goalkeepers are the bar for their team and they defend goals with their goalkeeping skills.

If we see the history of the game we find that goalkeeping has been one of the most desired positions in the game. It is one of the most challenging roles as it requires ultimate strength and flexibility to shine in.

Mistakes could cost the team to lost matches and tournaments so it’s really required to have safe hands to rely on in between the sticks.

We will be talking about the great goalkeepers who have shined at the biggest stage to win World Cups, Champions Leagues, and domestic titles for their clubs.

In modern football games, the goalkeeper requires to have quick regressions and reflexes to deal with high-pressed conditions.

So without a further delay, let’s go ahead and check out the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.

Top 10 Greatest Goalkeepers Of All Time

10 Oliver Kahn

Image Credit- GiveMeSport

Oliver Khan is a former professional player who played as a goalkeeper. He is one of the top goalkeepers of all time and the trophy cabinet just shows that.

His stint at Bayern Munich helped him to win eight Bundesliga titles, six German Cups, six League Cups, a UEFA Cup, and a Champions League.

He tasted the same success with the national team when his national team won Euro 1996. Kahn has been voted German Footballer of the Year twice, IFFHS Best Goalkeeper three times, and Best Bundesliga Goalkeeper seven times.

He is considered one of the greatest and most flourishing goalkeepers of all time. His dominant presence in goal and attacking style earned him nicknames “Der Titan”.

Oliver Kahn’s passion for the game is surely the driving force for him which ultimately helped him to win so many games for the club and the country.

He spent almost 14 years with Bayern Munich and won everything that he could including a valiant performance in the 2001 Champions League final where he saved the penalty shoot-out to win their first European Cup in 25 years.

At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he wrote history by becoming the only goalkeeper in the tournament’s history to win the Golden Ball. Kahn settled fifth in both the IFFHS Best Goalkeeper of the 21st Century and Best Goalkeeper of the Past 25 Years elections.

Kahn is remembered for his strong influence and control on the pitch. Kahn’s incredible career shows how prolific a goalkeeper he was at his peak. He is number 10 in our list of the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.

9 Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks was an English professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He made a total of 679 appearances during his career and acquired 73 caps for England.

Gordon is part of every game of the nation’s 1966 World Cup victory. He is rated as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

Banks save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup is still being remembered as one of the most iconic save in football. He holds the sole distinction of being the only English goalkeeper ever to win a World Cup.

He played in four cup finals for the club, however, they were beaten in the 1961 and 1963 FA Cup finals, before winning the League Cup in 1964 and finishing as finalists in 1965.

His career was brought to hold when he lost sight of his right eye following a car crash. He decided to continue however performance was not the same.

Banks was elected FWA Footballer of the Year in 1972 and was selected FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions. The IFFHS named Banks the second-best goalkeeper of the 20th century, after Lev Yashin (1st) and ahead of Dino Zoff.

8 Sepp Maier

Image Credit- Blogs De El Pais

Sepp Maier is a former professional football goalkeeper who played for Bayern Munich and the Germany national football team.

He is considered as one of Germany’s greatest goalkeepers, he was nicknamed “Die Katze von Anzing” (“the cat from Anzing”). He is well known for his quick reflexes, coordination, adaptability, speed, and consistency.

His shot-stopping ability is one of the best in goalkeepers of all time. He is part of the team (Germany and Bayern Munich) that dominated world football for a long time. Maier was one of the most decorated players of his time.

At the club football, he won the Bundesliga and the German Cup four times, and three consecutive European Cups. At the international level, he won both a European Championships winners medal (1972) and a World Cup winners medal (1974).

He was also a recipient of the West German Footballer of the Year award three times in his career. He was the most consistent goalkeeper of his time playing every match Between 1966 and 1977 without missing a single game.

Maier is the goalkeeper who mentored another great, i.e Oliver Kahn. He is number 8 in our list of the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.

7 Edwin Van Der Sar

Image Credit- The Telegraph

Edwin Van Der Sar is a former professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for the club and the country. He is regarded to be a part of the club’s golden generation and was part of the Ajax team that won the UEFA Champions League in 1995. 

He is truly an exceptional goalkeeper who arguably blazed most illustrious during the final years of his career with Manchester United.

Dutchman is surely one of the best goalkeepers in Manchester united history. He won a total of four Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League during his time at Manchester United.

He is also one of the most auspicious footballers ever, winning a total of 26 major trophies in his career. During the 2008–09 season, he set a world record by not allowing a league goal for 1,311 minutes.

He is also the oldest player to win the Premier League, achieving the milestone in 2011 at the age of 40 years and 205 days.

Van der Sar has won numerous individual awards, including Best European Goalkeeper in 1995 and 2009, and UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year in 2009.

He is the second-most capped player for the Netherlands, played a total of 130 times for the Dutch national team.

We have seen many great goalkeepers over the years, however, the Dutch international was surely one of the best shot-stoppers in the history of the game.

6 Peter Schmeichel

Image Credit- Sky Sports

Peter Schmeichel is a Danish former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He has his golden years at English club Manchester United, whom he captained the side to victory in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final to complete the Treble.

He was also the winner of UEFA Euro 1992 with his country Denmark. Peter Schmeichel is popularly regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League’s history.

When it comes to reflex saves nobody comes close to this man. He won five league titles with Manchester United, as well as the Champions League in 1999.

He is considered as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, he was chosen the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper in 1992 and 1993, and in 2000.

IFFHS also listed Schmeichel among the top 10 goalkeepers of the 20th century and is claimed by many to be the greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history.

He is surely the all-time greatest footballer in the history the football. In 2003, Schmeichel was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in acknowledgment of his influence on the English game.

He is a kind of aggressive goalkeeper with an intimidating structure. Peter Schmeichel is number 6 in our list of the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.

5 Gianluigi Buffon

Image Credit- Sporting News

Gianluigi Buffon is an Italian professional footballer who captains and plays as a goalkeeper for the Serie B club Parma. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever grace the game.

He is one of the rarely documented players who have made over 1,100 professional career appearances. When we talk about passion, we had to talk about Gianluigi Buffon

He is one of the top passionate footballers of all time. Buffon won Serie A titles in both of his first two seasons at the club and proved himself as one of the best players in the world in his position.

In his first interval at Juventus, he won a record nine Serie A titles, four Coppa Italias, and five Supercoppa Italiana. He was the first goalkeeper to win the Serie A Footballer of the Year award and was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year a record twelve times.

After approaching the 2015 and 2017 UEFA Champions League finals, he was selected to the Champions League Squad of the Season on both occasions and won the inaugural The Best FIFA Goalkeeper award in the latter year.

Gianluigi Buffon was the most renowned goalkeeper in the world. He still had a lot of football left in him. He was the goalkeeper of the squad that won the 2006 tournament. Buffon was also awarded the Golden Glove as the tournament’s best goalkeeper.

He is the only goalkeeper to win the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award, which he accomplished after reaching the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final.

Buffon was the first-ever goalkeeper to win the Golden Foot Award and was also identified as the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper a record five times alongside some of the greats like Iker Casillas and Manuel Neuer.

4 Iker Casillas

top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time
Image Credit- The Guardian

Iker Casillas is a Spanish retired professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. Casillas is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

He is known for his athleticism, quick responses, and excellent shot-stopping ability. He spent the majority of his career at Real Madrid. Casillas is one of the few players in the history of football to achieve over 1000 professional career matches.

He also holds the record for the most clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League, as well as for the Spain national team. There is nothing that Iker Casillas has not achieved in his career.

He has won The Champions League, European Championship, and World Cup. His trophy haul says the kind of player he was and the rest is history.

Casillas became the first pick for the goalkeeper role at Real Madrid, helping the team to win two Champions Leagues and La Liga titles in his first three seasons, placing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

During his successful stint at Real Madrid, Casillas won all major trophies which include five La Liga titles, four Supercopa de España titles, two Copa del Rey titles, three UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Iker Casillas is surely one of the legends of the game and an excellent professional. He is a highly energetic shot-stopper with great leadership abilities.

Casillas made 167 appearances for Spain, accomplishing the World Cup in 2010 and the Euros twice- in 2008 and 2012. Casillas was chosen in the FIFPro World XI a record five times for a goalkeeper.

He was also selected as the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper a record five times, alongside Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer.

3 Manuel Neuer

top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time
Image Credit- Bundesliga

Manuel Neuer is a German professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper and captains both the club and the country. He is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the sport.

Neuer has been defined as a “sweeper-keeper” because of his playing style. He often rushes off his line to intercept opponents. Manuel Neuer is frequently seen as the classic example of a modern goalkeeper.

Neuer started his career at Schalke 04 where he won the DFB-Pokal and DFL-Ligapokal. In 2011, he contracted for Bayern Munich and since then the rest are trophies.

He won 26 trophies, including nine Bundesliga titles and two UEFA Champions League titles in 2013 and 2020, both as part of trebles. In 2014, Neuer ended third in the voting, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

He was conferred the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year and the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper five times each. He is a player with tall stature and has been an excellent passer of the ball.

Manuel Neuer has an unusual style and completely talented goalkeeper. The German international is one of the greatest and most enhanced goalkeepers in the world.

2 Dino Zoff

top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time
Image Credit- Milanreports

Dino Zoff is an Italian former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He is the oldest ever winner of the World Cup.

The Italian international contributed much of his career to the club which includes Mantova, Napoli, and Juventus. He is a distinct shot-stopper in front of the goals.

Zoff is the only Italian player in history to have won both the World Cup and the European Championship. He also performed great for Juventus, winning six Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia titles, and a UEFA Cup.

He previously went 1142 minutes without allowing any goal in the international tournaments. The record is still not be broken.

Zoff was a goalkeeper of exceptional talent and rated a son of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. He has been designated the third greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century.

He also placed second in the 1973 Ballon d’Or, as he almost missed out on a treble with Juventus. Dino Zoff is number 2 in our list of the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.

1 Lev Yashin

top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time
Image Credit- La Tercera

Lev Yashin is known as the “Black Spider” or the “Black Panther“. He was a Soviet footballer, rated as many as the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game.

Yashin was known for his athleticism, positioning, size, courage, commanding presence in goal, and acrobatic reflex saves. He is considered as Soviet Union’s greatest footballer ever.

Yashin spent most of his career with Dynamo Moscow, however, his performances at the international level made him the greatest goalkeeper in history.

Yashin gained a status for transforming the goalkeeping position by commanding his authority on the entire defense.

According to FIFA, Yashin defended over 150 penalty kicks in professional football – more than any other goalkeeper in history. He also kept over 270 clean sheets in his career, winning a gold medal at the 1956 Olympic football tournament, and the 1960 European Championships.

In 1963, Yashin won the Ballon d’Or and he remains the only goalkeeper in history to win a Ballon d’Or. He was chosen the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS.

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