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. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
The Slovenian was second the last time we complied this list, but he's had a poor season. His 51% save percentage is the lowest of any regular goalkeeper in the Spanish top flight and his unusually wobbly displays have permeated through Atheltico's squad. Diego Simeone's side are currently fifth in La Liga and need their custodian to recapture his world class best.
9. Yassine Bounou (Sevilla)
Sevilla are flying high in second place in La Liga and that owes much to the imperious performances of their Moroccan between the posts. Bounou has the highest save percentage (81%) of any goalkeeper in the Spanish top-flight, and has the lowest goals against per 90 in the division. The 30-year-old has been sensational this campaign.
8. Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao)
Already capped 20 times by Spain, 24-year-old Simon is among the finest young goalkeepers in world football. The Bilbao youth product replaced David De Gea between the sticks for his nation at Euro 2020 and turned in a number of confident displays both in possession and when forced into defensive action. A big money move will surely be on the cards soon for a player who boasts the second highest save % in La Liga this term.
7. Jose Sa (Wolves)
Portuguese gloveman Sa arrived from Olympiacos last summer with the tough task of replacing fan favourite Rui Patricio at Molineux. He's slotted in seamlessly, proving himself one of the most capable stoppers in Europe for a stubborn Wolves side. Sa boasts the best save percentage (84%) in the Premier League, and only the regular no.1s at the current top three have conceded fewer per 90.
6. Aaron Ramsdale
Two relegations on the bounce don’t usually earn you a big money move to Arsenal, yet Aaron Ramsdale got just that in the summer after Mikel Arteta sanctioned a €25m bid for the Sheffield United stopper, previously demoted with Bournemouth. Social media tittered… but they’re not laughing now. Ramsdale has proved a revelation between the sticks for the Gunners, turning in a series of commanding displays after replacing the much maligned Bernd Leno back in August. His passing and composure in possession have been key to Arsenal's recent renaissance. A dark horse for England's no.1 jersey at this year's World Cup.
5. Alisson (Liverpool)
Last season was a trying time for Liverpool, who have fell well short of their usual lofty standards. Virgil van Dijk's absence caused chaos in an erstwhile solid backline, yet Alisson remained his reliable self between the posts and helped deliver Champions League football.
This season, his 71% save ratio pits him ninth among the division's stoppers; hardly world class. Yet Liverpool's stingy 0.75 goals against per game column has much to do with his organisation and leadership.
4. Ederson (Man 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 boasts more clean sheets (14) than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League this season, and the 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.
3. 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 a treble in 2019/20, before winning a ninth-straight Bundesliga crown last term. Neuer boasts the most sweeper clearances in the German top flight this campaign and the highest pass completion, 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.
2. David De Gea (Manchester United)
The Manchester United man's stock may have never been lower coming into the new season but he's reminded Premier League fans why he was once considered the best goalkeeper on the planet. After ousting his rival for the no.1 jersey, Dean Henderson, the Spaniard has put in a series of commendable displays between the posts for the Red Devils over the past couple of months. No goalkeeper has made more saves in the Premier League this season than De Gea's 92.
1. Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)
Since the 29-year-old was parachuted in by Frank Lampard as the replacement for the error-prone Kepa in 2020, the Blues have been hoovering up silverware.
His inspirational performances in the Champions League - particularly his eye catching display against Real Madrid in the semis – were crucial to the Blues' European triumph last season and, this term, he's helped Chelsea to Club World Cup glory in February. Couple that with victory with Senegal in AFCON 2022 and it's impossible to overlook Mendy as the safest pair of hands on the planet right now.
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Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Key FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.
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