What attributes do the best goalkeepers in the world have? The role of goalie ain't what is used to be, with No.1s required to start moves as well as provide the last line of defence in the modern game.
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. David De Gea (Manchester United)
The Manchester United man's stock may have never been lower coming into the 2021/22 season but he's reminded Premier League fans why he was once considered the best goalkeeper on the planet. De Gea made the third-most saves in the Premier League last term; constantly putting out fires behind a porous defence. He also stopped the joint-most penalties (3), following huge criticism on that front in the past. The Spaniard's developed into a leader the days, and was highly critical of his team-mates throughout a tough campaign.
9. Samir Handanovic (Inter)
Handanovic made 37 starts for title-chasing Inter last term, racking up Serie A's second-best shot-to-save ratio (78.5%) and second-most clean sheets (15) in the division. Inter may have fallen short to cross-town rivals Milan in the battle for the Scudetto, but their No.1 was among the league's star performers across the campaign.
8. Manuel Neuer (Bayern)
It wasn’t long ago that people were talking about Manuel Neuer in the past tense. A player who finished third in the 2014 Ballon d’Or voting began to struggle towards the end of the decade with recurring foot injuries. Things took their toll on the Bayern and Germany captain, leading to repeated calls for Neuer to be replaced in the national team by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
But all of those doubts and concerns have now been banished, as Neuer – back to his confident best – inspired Bayern to record tenth-straight Bundesliga title last term.
Aside from the joint-most clean sheets (10) in Germany's top-flight, Neuer boasted the most sweeper clearances and the highest pass completion of any 'keeper, proving he is a real asset to Bayern's attacking play as well as a fine stopper. On his day, there is still nobody better than Manuel Neuer.
7. Yassine Bounou (Sevilla)
Bounou enjoyed a stellar campaign for Sevilla last term, with the 30-year-old ending the season with the best shot-to-save ratio (77.6%) in La Liga. No team – including champions Real Madrid – kept as many clean sheets as Sevilla and much of that had to do with the sublime shot stopping and organisation of their Moroccan stopper.
6. Ederson (Manchester City)
In an age where goalkeepers are required to participate in build-up play, few No.1s can rival Manchester City’s Brazilian goalkeeper. Whether knocking it first time to Fernandinho between two on-rushing attackers or pinging it 60-yards onto Raheem Sterling’s big toe, Ederson is adept at getting City on the front foot, whatever the scenario.
He boasted the joint-most clean sheets (20) of goalkeepers in the Premier League last season and the second-lowest goals against per 90 (0.7). There is room for improvement still when it comes to shot stopping but, on his day, Ederson is a monster between the posts for Pep Guardiola's champions.
5. Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
A goalkeeper's contribution is determined by so much more than eye-catching saves. Yet Trapp's 119th minute block against Rangers in the Europa League final will go down as one of the great moments in Eintracht's long history. The gloveman took his game to a new level this season, inspiring the underdogs to European glory and dominating on home soil, too. The Germany international's save percentage of 72.9 puts him third in the Bundesliga over the course of last season.
4. Make Maignan (AC Milan)
Head and shoulders above the rest in Serie A. Frenchman Maignan kept the most clean sheets (17) in the Italian top-flight last term and also enjoyed the league's best shot-to-save ratio (81.2%) over the course of the season. The latter placed him among the very best in Europe and, without him between the posts, it's hard to imagine Milan having sealed their first Scudetto in 11 years.
3. Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
Last season, Chelsea fell short of the glittering standards set during Thomas Tuchel's first campaign but Mendy enjoyed another spectacular year. The Senegalese kicked off 2022 by winning AFCON and followed that by winning the Club World Cup with the Blues in February. Solid with his feet and brilliant with his hands, there are few safer bets between the posts right now.
2. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
No goalkeeper has made more saves over the course of the 2021/22 Champions League season than Real Madrid's Belgian stopper, with 52 before the final. There's an argument to make that Courtois – behind only Karim Benzema – has been Real's most valuable player in throughout the competition.
At home he's been a behemoth, too. The 30-year-old banked the second-highest clean sheets (16) and shot-to-save ratio (76.7%) as the Spanish titans sealed another La Liga crown.
1. Alisson (Liverpool)
Liverpool were electric on all fronts across the 2021/22 campaign and Alisson was the bedrock on which a four-way title assault was built. The Brazilian was the hero in the FA Cup final shootout victory over Chelsea and boasted the lowest goals against per 90 (0.67) in the Premier League last season. Alisson is sensational with his feet, great in the air and always ready when called upon.
Dubbed "the best in the world" by manager Jurgen Klopp earlier in the season, it's hard to argue with that assessment.
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