Ranking the 10 Best Goalies in World Football
Having a talented goalkeeper can make or break a team. Even in the top leagues in the world, goalies make mistakes that cost their club matches, and from a supporter’s perspective, nothing can be more infuriating. Having someone who can consistently act as an impenetrable force in front of the goal is rare to find and highly coveted. Here are 10 shot-stoppers that have proved themselves to be the world’s best.
Samir Handanovic | Inter Milan
The 6’5” Slovenian has been a commanding presence between the posts for the past 8 years for Inter Milan and has earned a reputation as being one of the world’s best. At 35-years-old, while he may be past his prime, Handanovic would still be a starter on nearly every team in Europe. Handanovic is also known for his penalty-saving ability, with at one point saving six consecutive penalty kicks during his career. While many other goalkeepers could make an argument for being in the top 10, Handanovic remains consistent and his continuous success grabs him the 10 spot on the list.
Yann Sommer | Borussia Monchengladbach
Standing at only 6’0”, Sommer is certainly undersized for his position; however, his skill level certainly makes up for his lack of height. The Swiss international is exceptionally agile and can save low shots as well as anyone. His performances were a key reason why Borussia Monchengladbach qualified for the Champions League next season. Expect the 31-year-old to have some standout performances on the big stage in European football. His shot saving ability could be a difference-maker and potentially help Gladbach reach the knockout stage for the first time in their club’s history.
Wojciech Szczesny | Juventus
In 2019, Szczesny jokingly made his case for being the best goalie in the world. He said, “In Roma, I put on the bench the best goalkeeper in the world, in Juventus, the best in history,” referring to former Roma and current Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker and Italian and Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon. All joking aside though, Szczesny is one of the world’s best, and the fact that he was able to hold down a starting spot over other world-class keepers speaks to his ability. His reflexes stand out as one of his best traits. Szczesny can almost tell where the ball will be hit before it is struck and has the ability to deflect the shot out of the danger of play as well as anyone.
Thibaut Courtois | Real Madrid
Former Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois struggled to settle in at Real Madrid, but he seems to have finally found his footing and again is showcasing why he is regarded as one of the world’s best. His performances down the stretch helped Real Madrid win their first La Liga title since 2016/17. Since the restart, the Belgian let up no more than one goal each game and in most matches kept a clean sheet. For being 6’6”, Courtois is surprisingly graceful and can react quickly to close-range shots and rebounds. Now that he has settled in at Real Madrid, expect Courtois to continue to silence his doubters over the next few season.
Ederson | Manchester City
Manchester City have been loaded with talent in recent history, and because of this, Ederson’s importance to the squad has been a bit underhyped. The Brazilian is one of the best keepers in world football and rarely makes a costly mistake for his side. Ederson is an aggressive and assertive keeper and makes the most of his 6’2” frame. He is also comfortable with the ball at his feet and can distribute as well as any goalkeeper in the EPL. At only 26 years old, Ederson is likely to only continue to improve his game and could at some point be regarded as the best in the world.
Keylor Navas | PSG
Keylor Navas is arguably the most underrated goalkeeper in the world. He started for Real Madrid when they won three straight Champions League titles, and while the squad was headlined by players such as Ronaldo, Ramos, Benzema, and Bale, Navas’ importance cannot be understated. The Champions League is a competition that is near impossible to win without a confident and talented keeper. After being offloaded to PSG last summer, the Costa Rican has continued to impress in both Ligue 1 and Champions League football. If PSG can break through and win their first trophy in the competition in August, Navas may finally start to get the recognition he deserves.
Manuel Neuer | Bayern Munich
Once the undisputed best goalkeeper in world football, Neuer has been plagued with injuries over recent years. However, when healthy, Neuer is still one of the world’s best and is one of the most entertaining goalies to watch. He frequently asserts himself outside his own penalty box and is the most talented sweeper-keeper in the world. The German is also technically gifted and can make defenders look silly while controlling the ball at his feet. Sometimes it feels that Neuer is so good that he needs to challenge himself by leaving his goal to make plays that no other keeper would even attempt.
Alisson Becker | Liverpool
Alisson could easily take the top spot as the best goalkeeper in the world. Shooting against him sometimes feels like trying to score on a brick wall in front of the goal. The Brazilian makes superb saves look casual and has some of the strongest hands in the world. Anything he can get a touch on seems to almost never reach the back of the net. The impact he has made on Liverpool since arriving from Roma in the summer of 2018 has been incredibly significant. Most Liverpool supporters thought that adding a world-class keeper would complete their starting XI, and Alisson has not only been world-class but arguably the world’s best in the position since his arrival.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen | Barcelona
While Lionel Messi may be frustrated with Barcelona’s coaching and recent transfer activity, one thing he certainly cannot complain about is who he has protecting Barcelona’s goal. Ter Stegen is incredibly consistent, rarely making errors and helping Barcelona take maximum points through his individual brilliance. He is always attentive and asserts himself at the proper moments without being reckless. Overall, Ter Stegen does not have any true weaknesses. Expect Ter Stegen to start ahead of Manuel Neuer as Germany’s first-choice keeper on the international stage when the Euros are played in 2021.
Jan Oblak | Atletico Madrid
Jan Oblak is the best shot-stopper in world football. While other keepers (namely Alisson and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen) may also merit the top spot, Oblak gets the nod for a few reasons. While the Slovenian’s ability is second to none, Oblak also intrinsic to Atletico Madrid’s identity. No top team structures their gameplan around their confidence to keep a clean sheet more than Diego Simeone’s squad. Any shot that Oblak lets by has a good chance of resulting in dropped points, and Oblak rarely gives up more than a goal a game and often keeps a clean sheet. No world-class goalkeeper is more significant to his side’s success than Oblak at Atletico Madrid, hence he takes our top spot.