Disclosure: Sportshubnet is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.
In this post, we will check out the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.
In the illustrious history of the beautiful game, few positions have commanded as much awe and admiration as that of the goalkeeper.
These custodians of the net possess an uncanny ability to defy the odds, pulling off remarkable saves that leave fans and foes alike in sheer amazement.
As we delve into the annals of soccer history, we unveil the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.
These legendary shot-stoppers have not only guarded their team’s fortress with unwavering resolve but have also etched their names into the sport’s hallowed lore.
Join us as we celebrate the unparalleled skill, agility, and tenacity of these remarkable athletes who have graced the pitch with their heroic exploits.
Table of contents
Top 10 Greatest Goalkeepers Of All Time
10 Oliver Kahn
Oliver Kahn, a revered figure in the world of soccer, stands as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the sport’s history.
Hailing from Germany, Kahn’s illustrious career spanned over two decades, culminating in 2008. He achieved a remarkable tally of titles, including Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal triumphs, along with UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League glory in 2001.
Kahn’s individual prowess earned him a record four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards, in addition to three IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper honors and two German Footballer of the Year accolades.
His mastery extended to exceptional goalkeeping skills, coupled with unwavering composure and mental fortitude. Today, Kahn continues to contribute to the sport as a television football commentator and serves as the CEO of Bayern Munich.
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 most legendary goalkeepers of all time.
Banks’ save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup is still remembered as one of the most iconic saves 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
Josef Dieter “Sepp” Maier, a legendary goalkeeper hailing from Metten, Germany, has etched his name in the annals of soccer history.
Born on February 28, 1944, Maier’s remarkable career spanned over a decade, during which he donned the jerseys of Bayern Munich and the German national football team.
Renowned for his lightning-fast reflexes, agility, flexibility, and unmatched consistency, he earned the endearing moniker “Die Katze von Anzing” (“The Cat from Anzing”).
Maier was a trailblazer in the sport, being the first goalkeeper to sport gloves and donning his signature overlong shorts.
Beyond his shot-stopping prowess, he was a commanding presence in the penalty area. Yet, it was his infectious sense of humor and charismatic personality that endeared him to fans.
As he once quipped, “A keeper should give off a sense of calm and not fall asleep while doing so.” Sepp Maier remains an enduring icon and is hailed as Germany’s greatest-ever goalkeeper. Sepp Maier is number 8 in our list of best goalkeepers in history.
7 Edwin Van Der Sar
Edwin van der Sar, a revered stalwart in the world of goalkeeping, has etched an indelible mark as one of football’s true legends. Throughout his illustrious career, he graced the hallowed turf of several top-tier clubs, leaving an enduring legacy that stands as a testament to his unparalleled skill and unwavering dedication to the game.
From Ajax to Juventus, Fulham to Manchester United, Van der Sar’s journey was nothing short of a goalkeeping odyssey, encompassing triumphs and accolades that solidify his status as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
With an unyielding presence between the posts, he played a pivotal role in guiding Manchester United to four Premier League titles and an illustrious UEFA Champions League triumph.
These conquests merely scratch the surface of his substantial collection of domestic and international silverware, a testament to the immense impact he had on his teams’ successes.
Van der Sar’s proficiency extended far beyond his impressive trophy haul. Renowned for his remarkable athleticism and unflinching composure, he possessed an innate ability to organize and marshal his defense, transforming his backline into an impenetrable fortress.
His anticipation and lightning-quick reflexes made him a formidable force against opponents and also reputed as a penalty specialist.
Perhaps most remarkable was Van der Sar’s longevity and unwavering commitment to excellence. His career spanned decades, yet his performances remained at the pinnacle of the game until his retirement.
The endurance and consistency he displayed were second to none, a testament to his rigorous work ethic and insatiable desire to maintain peak form.
His heroics between the posts continue to inspire aspiring goalkeepers, standing as a testament to the profound influence one individual can have on the beautiful game. As the epitome of goalkeeping greatness, Edwin van der Sar’s name shall forever resonate among the stars of football’s firmament.
6 Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel, a true luminary in the realm of soccer, has cemented his status as one of the sport’s greatest goalkeepers. Born in 1963 in Denmark, Schmeichel’s indelible mark was most prominently etched during his eight-season stint with Manchester United.
He steered the club to a historic victory in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, completing a rare Treble. His heroics extended to the international stage, where he played a pivotal role in Denmark’s UEFA Euro 1992 triumph.
Schmeichel’s prowess between the posts garnered him back-to-back IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper titles in 1992 and 1993, and he clinched a spot among the top 10 goalkeepers of the 20th century according to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.
In a 2001 Reuters poll, Schmeichel was crowned the best goalkeeper ever by a resounding majority, solidifying his place ahead of legends like Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks.
With his commanding presence, lightning-quick reflexes, and a knack for delivering crucial saves, Peter Schmeichel’s legacy as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time remains unshakable.
5 Gianluigi Buffon
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 best 10 goalkeepers in history 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 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
Iker Casillas, a name synonymous with goalkeeping excellence, rightfully earns his place among the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.
His remarkable 16-year tenure with Real Madrid, followed by a stint at FC Porto, solidified his status as a legend in the sport.
Casillas’s trophy cabinet gleamed with five La Liga titles, four Supercopa de España titles, and an array of prestigious European honors, including three UEFA Champions League titles.
On the international stage, he was the linchpin of Spain’s unprecedented era of success between 2008 and 2012, which saw them claim two European Championships and a World Cup.
His acrobatic saves and unwavering composure made him a beloved figure among fans. Iker Casillas’s stellar career and immense contributions to both Spain and Madrid are a testament to his enduring legacy as one of the finest goalkeepers the world has ever seen.
3 Manuel Neuer
Manuel Neuer, a goalkeeping prodigy whose brilliance transcends the boundaries of the sport, has carved an esteemed place among football’s greatest shot-stoppers.
Revered by countless sources and lauded with numerous awards and accolades, Neuer’s exceptional play between the posts has been the stuff of legends. His unique “sweeper-keeper” style, characterized by lightning-fast reactions and a willingness to venture beyond the penalty area, has redefined the goalkeeper’s role and set new standards for the position.
In the realm of modern goalkeeping, few can rival the impact and influence of Manuel Neuer. His unrivaled abilities as a “sweeper-keeper” have added an entirely new dimension to the position, enabling him to anticipate opponents and thwart potential threats well beyond the confines of the penalty box.
This remarkable trait not only showcases his athleticism and agility but also exemplifies his astute reading of the game and anticipation skills.
While Neuer’s prowess as a sweeper-keeper has garnered widespread admiration, his abilities extend far beyond that realm. A consummate shot-stopper, Neuer boasts a repertoire of traditional goalkeeping skills that are second to none.
His lightning-quick reflexes, exceptional positioning, and fearless approach in one-on-one situations make him a formidable barrier to opposing attackers. Moreover, his impeccable passing game distinguishes him from most goalkeepers, allowing him to initiate plays and become a vital component in building attacks from the back.
With a myriad of accolades and an undeniable legacy, Neuer’s name will forever be etched among the greatest goalkeepers of all time, inspiring future generations of aspiring keepers to push the boundaries and redefine the art of goalkeeping. Manuel Neuer is number 3 in our list of the top 10 greatest goalkeepers of all time.
2 Dino Zoff
Dino Zoff, an iconic figure in the world of goalkeeping, stands tall among the greatest of all time. Born on February 28, 1942, in Mariano del Friuli, Italy, his illustrious career spanned over two decades before concluding in 1983.
Zoff’s style was the embodiment of traditional and effective goalkeeping, prioritizing efficiency and precision over showmanship.
Renowned for his impeccable positioning, adept ball-handling, and unwavering concentration, he excelled in collecting crosses and remained a model of consistency and composure under the intense pressure of the game.
Beyond his stoic demeanor, Zoff’s leadership qualities and competitive spirit shone through, earning him the captain’s armband for his national team and instilling confidence in his teammates.
The International Federation of Football History & Statistics acknowledged his greatness by ranking him as the third-greatest goalkeeper of all time. Dino Zoff’s legacy as a goalkeeping maestro endures as a testament to his enduring influence on the beautiful game.
1 Lev Yashin
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 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 as the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS. Ley Yashin tops the list of all time greatest goalkeepers.
Inbox looking a bit bland?
Better sign up to our blog to cram it full of trending Sports, Gaming & Tech updates.