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The 10 Best Goalkeepers Of All Time, Named And Ranked

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The 10 Best Goalkeepers Of All Time, Named And Ranked

Behind every great football team is a world-class goalkeeper, but who are the best to have ever played between the sticks?

Playing in arguably the most underrated position in football, goalkeepers are often overlooked for the more glamorous spots in the team.

It is one of the toughest jobs on the field that requires concentration, composure and the ability to pull off saves at any given moment in a game, but do they get enough credit?

Goalkeepers are often overlooked for the more glamorous spots in the team
Goalkeepers are often overlooked for the more glamorous spots in the team
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You'll often hear the names of Pele, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and dozens more outfield players.

But what about the goalkeepers? Shouldn't the likes of Manuel Neuer, Gianluigi Buffon and Lev Yashin at least be part of the conversation?

We certainly think so and this is our take on the best goalkeepers of all time and, once your'e done with this, head to our list of the best goalkeepers in the world right now or the 10 best Premier League goalkeepers ever.

. 10. Gordon Banks

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Gordon Banks is regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in British football history
Gordon Banks is regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in British football history

Career honours:

  • English League Cup x2
  • FIFA Club World Cup x1

Gordon Banks is widely regarded as the greatest England goalkeeper.

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The Sheffield-born shot-stopper died in 2019 at the age of 81 and will be forever remembered for that save against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup.

Producing a save that stopped the world, Banks pulled off an incredible reflex save against the powerful and directive header from Pele - with fans and pundits around the world dubbing it 'the save of the century'.

Seriously, though, just how on earth did he save this?

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9. Edwin van der Sar

Edwin van der Sar shone brightest during the final years of his career with Manchester United
Edwin van der Sar shone brightest during the final years of his career with Manchester United

Career honours:

  • Eredivisie x4
  • Dutch League Cup x3
  • Dutch Super Cup x3
  • English League Cup x2
  • English Premier League x4
  • English Super Cup x4
  • Intercontinental Cup x1
  • UEFA Champions League x1
  • UEFA Cup x1
  • UEFA Super Cup x1
  • FIFA Club World Cup x1
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Edwin van der Sar was a truly outstanding goalkeeper who arguably shone brightest during the final years of his career with Manchester United.

Saving here, there and everywhere, the Dutchman was a force between the sticks for the Red Devils where he won four Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League.

Before United, he also starred for Ajax in the 1990s before moving on to Juventus and Fulham.

Some of these saves during his early Ajax days are incredible to watch.

8. Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel is regarded as one of the Premier League's most legendary goalkeepers
Peter Schmeichel is regarded as one of the Premier League's most legendary goalkeepers

Career honours:

  • English League Cup x1
  • FA Cup x3
  • English Premier League x3
  • UEFA Champions League x1

Alongside Edwin van der Sar, Peter Schmeichel is widely regarded as one of the Premier League's most legendary goalkeepers.

The world-class Dane was one of the best reflex savers that the world has ever produced, and won five league titles with Manchester United, as well as the Champions League in 1999.

He is among the all-time greatest footballers in the history of Scandinavian football and is widely known for his trademark shouts at defence to command them.

His son Kasper Schmeichel followed in his footsteps and is another outstanding goalkeeper - famously winning the Premier League and, most recently, the FA Cup with Leicester City as their captain.

7. Oliver Kahn

Oliver Kahn is best remembered for his 14-year spell with Bayern Munich
Oliver Kahn is best remembered for his 14-year spell with Bayern Munich

Career honours:

  • DFB-Pokal x6
  • Bundesliga x8
  • UEFA Cup x1
  • UEFA Champions League x1
  • Intercontinental Cup x1

Oliver Kahn is best remembered for his 14-year spell with Bayern Munich, where he won multiple titles including eight Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Champions League.

Kahn was a runner-up with Germany at the 2002 World Cup, but won the Golden Ball that tournament.

He also finished third in the voting for both the 2001 and 2002 Ballon d'Or awards.

Some of these saves defy all odds.

6. Petr Cech

Petr Cech is arguably the greatest goalkeeper of the Premier League era
Petr Cech is arguably the greatest goalkeeper of the Premier League era

Career honours:

  • European Under-21 Champion x1
  • Czech Footballer of the Year x7
  • English League Cup x3
  • FA Cup x5
  • English Premier League x4
  • Europa Cup x1
  • UEFA Champions League x1
  • English Super Cup x6

Arguably the greatest goalkeeper of the Premier League era, Petr Cech won four league titles with Chelsea, plus the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

Cech was as important as John Terry in their superlative defensive record between 2004 and 2006, in which they conceded just 15 and 22 goals in back-to-back Premier League title wins.

The 38-year-old spent the final four years of his career with Arsenal, although he is listed as Chelsea's current emergency goalkeeper.

His top five saves have been ranked during his time at Chelsea and they are, to put it simply, outstanding.

5. Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer has enjoyed huge success with Bayern Munich and Germany over the past decade
Manuel Neuer has enjoyed huge success with Bayern Munich and Germany over the past decade

Career honours:

  • German Under-19 Cup x1
  • European Under-21 Champion x1
  • German Footballer of the Year x2
  • DFB-Pokal x6
  • Bundesliga x9
  • UEFA Champions League x2
  • UEFA Super Cup x2
  • German Super Cup x5
  • FIFA Club World Cup x1

Manuel Neuer, an unorthodox but supremely talented goalkeeper, has enjoyed huge success with Bayern Munich and Germany over the past decade.

The 35-year-old is one of the greatest and most decorated goalkeepers in the world and was the best German footballer in the first half of the 2010s.

It's not unusual to see him 30 plus yards off his line, too, playing a sort of sweeper-keeper role - making him one of the bravest and most confident goalkeepers we've ever seen.

I mean, come on, just look at the balls he has to do this.

4. Dino Zoff

Dino Zoff holds the record for keeping a clean sheet for the longest amount of time
Dino Zoff holds the record for keeping a clean sheet for the longest amount of time

Career honours:

  • Coppa Italia x2
  • Serie A x6
  • UEFA Cup x1

Dino Zoff is one of the best goalkeepers the world has ever seen - and that's a fact.

The Italian, now 79 years old, famously played for the likes of Napoli and Juventus. He won the World Cup in 1982 and the European Championship 14 years earlier.

Incredibly, he boasts the record for having kept a clean sheet the longest amount of time (1,142 minutes) from September 1972 to June 1974.

To put his tremendous career into context, he has kept 360 clean sheets from 720 first-level club games, which is truly outstanding.

3. Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon is considered by many as the greatest Italian shot-stopper ever
Gianluigi Buffon is considered by many as the greatest Italian shot-stopper ever

Career honours:

  • European Under-21 Champion x1
  • Coppa Italia x5
  • Serie A x10
  • Ligue 1 x1
  • Italian Footballer of the Year x1
  • Italienischer Zweitligameister x1
  • UEFA Cup x1
  • Italian Super Cup x7
  • French Super Cup x1
  • FIFA Club World Cup x1

Gianluigi Buffon was the greatest goalkeeper in the world in the 2000s and is considered by many as the greatest Italian shot-stopper ever, even above the great Dino Zoff.

Still going strong at the age of 43, Buffon is a much-loved figure in the world of football. The Juventus legend played 178 times for Italy between 1997-2018 and lifted the World Cup in 2006.

He is also the all-time most capped player for Italy and has made around 350 clean sheets in first-level club games - just ten behind Zoff.

Maybe he's still playing at 43 for his love of the game or to break Zoff's record, who knows?

2. Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas is best remembered for his glittering 16-year senior career with Real Madrid
Iker Casillas is best remembered for his glittering 16-year senior career with Real Madrid

Career honours:

  • La Liga x5
  • Supercopa de España x4
  • Copa del Rey x2
  • UEFA Champions League x3
  • UEFA Super Cup x2
  • Intercontinental Cup x1
  • FIFA Club World Cup x1

The Champions League, European Championship and World Cup, you name it and Iker Casillas has won it.

His trophy haul says a lot and the rest of the talking was done by his sheer brilliance showcased on the pitch.

Best remembered for his glittering 16-year senior career with Real Madrid, Casillas played 725 times for Los Blancos before moving to FC Porto in 2015.

Casillas was also Spain's first-choice goalkeeper during the country's most successful period in their history between 2008-2012, when La Roja won two European Championships and the World Cup.

A more than worthy runner-up, but some of these saves suggest that he could have been our number one.

1. Lev Yashin

Lev Yashin is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game
Lev Yashin is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game

Career honours:

  • Soviet Cup x3
  • Soviet Champion x5
  • European Champion x1
  • Olympic Gold Medalist x1
  • Ballon d'Or x1

Lev Yashin is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game and is regarded as Soviet Union's greatest football ever.

One of football's truly legendary names, Yashin spent his entire professional career with Dynamo Moscow, but it was his performances at international level with the Soviet Union that caught the world's attention.

During his career, he had stopped around 150 penalty kicks, which is the best record of all-time, while keeping an incredible 270 clean sheets from approximately 420 career games played.

More importantly, he remains the only goalkeeper in history to win a Ballon d'Or and it is likely that it will be some time before that is replicated.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Goalkeepers, Petr Cech, Football, Edwin Van Der Sar, Gianluigi Buffon, Manuel Neuer, Peter Schmeichel, Iker Casillas

Robert Mann
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