Ranked! The 10 best goalkeepers in the world
To appreciate the importance of bagging one of the world's best goalkeepers, you need look no further than last summer’s transfer business in the Premier League.
The world record fee for a shot-stopper was smashed not once but twice, firstly by Liverpool for Alisson and then by Chelsea with their £72m swoop for Kepa Arrizabalaga.
It's often said that having a reliable man between the sticks will win you several points every season, and the following players are good examples of just that.
10. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Neuer could soon climb his way back to the top of this list, but the last two seasons have been plagued by injury and he endured a horrendous World Cup upon his comeback last summer. Germany were knocked out in the group stage, losing 2-0 to South Korea after Neuer ventured upfield chasing an unlikely leveller, but succeeded only in giving away possession for the killer strike.
He was back in a Bayern shirt last season and skippered the Bavarians to the Bundesliga title before frustratingly ending the campaign back on the treatment table. The 33-year-old - not to mention the Munich faithful - will be hoping 2019/20 is the year he returns to top form.
9. Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
Before last summer, Kepa wasn’t known by many fans outside of Spain. Since then, the 23-year-old has made his way into the history books by becoming the world’s most expensive goalkeeper following his £71.6m move to Chelsea from Athletic Bilbao.
The Spaniard adjusted well to life in England, missing just two Premier League appearances in 2018/19 under Maurizio Sarri and keeping 14 clean sheets.
He did, however, refuse to be substituted ahead of the Carabao Cup final penalty shoot-out against Manchester City, which didn’t exactly make him universally popular. Chelsea lost 4-3, although to his credit, Kepa did at least save one.
8. Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)
For the best part of a decade, Handanovic spent his Serie A career in the shadow of Gianluigi Buffon. Frankly, though, he was quite happy to stay there; unfussily getting on with his job and demonstrating the quiet consistency that has earned him so many admirers in Italy.
The Inter shot-stopper has been ever-reliable while those around him haven’t, and aged 35 has somehow seemed to get better with each season. The Slovenian is proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks, too: under Luciano Spalletti, Inter’s more patient build-up play forced Handanovic to adjust his game accordingly.
He retired from international duty in 2015 to wave through Atletico Madrid’s brilliant Jan Oblak, but remains essential to the club he now captains and has a contract at San Siro through to 2021 that will see him lead Inter into the Antonio Conte era.
7. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
His kicking will always be a stick to beat him with, but Tottenham fans are glad they have Hugo Lloris between the sticks more often than not.
The Frenchman’s ability to pull off breathtaking saves is among the best in the Premier League, and he remains a huge asset to his manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Lloris still has his moments, as he proved with that bizarre balls-up in the World Cup final against Croatia last summer, but the Bleus skipper was magnificent throughout that tournament and followed that up by leading Spurs to their first ever Champions League final.
6. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
The biggest compliment you can pay to Courtois is that he doesn’t stand out, and nor does he try to. His excellence comes in his incredible consistency: minute after minute, game after game, month after month.
Rarely is the Belgian pulled up for individual criticism. Mistakes are rare. Simply, he is a centre-back’s dream; a commanding presence who generally does his job with consummate ease, and who has three league titles in two countries to show for it.
However, his first season at Real Madrid was a difficult one to say the least, and Courtois was even dropped for Keylor Navas for a few games after Zinedine Zidane returned to the Bernabeu bench. The 27-year-old is capable of much better than he has displayed in Spain so far and will undoubtedly be determined to show that this season.