The Greatest Goalkeepers in the History of Football |

Here’s Anna wth her article on the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football


The Greatest Goalkeepers in the History of Football

The great Sir Alex Ferguson always believed every great team needs a great goalkeeper, and that a great goalkeeper would win a team 10-12 points on his own across an entire league season. Standing between both goal posts might look like the most boring aspect of football, but it is the second most important when you consider that you need to score to win football games.

For every great team that had Pele, Messi, Maradona, or Cristiano Ronaldo leading the charge from the front, an able goalkeeper was doing likewise at the other end. Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson had Edwin Van der Sar when they won the league three times on the bounce (2007-09), Jose Mourinho and Chelsea had Petr Cech, even the great Spanish national team (from 2008-2012) could boast of Iker Casillas between the sticks. Here is our list of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football.

Gordon Banks

Born in Abbeydale, Sheffield on 30 December 1937, Banks began his professional career with Chesterfield in 1958, during an English Third Division game against Colchester United. Banks is certainly not the flashiest or most popular name when you speak of goalkeepers, past or present, but he’s one of the best to ever do it. He didn’t play for the so-called modern-day big clubs in England but spent eight years (293 appearances) between the sticks for Leicester City after signing from Chesterfield in 1959.

Banks was England’s first-choice goalkeeper when they won the World Cup back in 1966. His save against Pele during the group stages of the 1970 World Cup is regarded as one of the/if not the greatest save of all time. Banks joined Stoke City in 1967 from Leicester, helping the club secure its only major honors to date (1972 League Cup). He was also voted the Football Writers Association (FWA) Footballer of the year in 1972 and won named FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year six times. Banks was named the second greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).

Peter Schmeichel

Arguably the greatest goalkeeper in the illustrious history of Manchester United. When former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson signed Schmeichel for just over £500,000, he called it “the bargain of the century”, and was he right. He was relatively unknown outside of Denmark but was a massive part of the Brondby team that won four championships in five seasons (1987-91), and also reached the semifinals of the 1990-91 UEFA Cup competition.

Schmeichel won five league titles with Manchester United during eight years with the club. He ended his United career on a high note, helping the club win the treble, Premier League title, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League in 1999. United struggled to replace Schmeichel following his departure to Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 1999.

Schmeichel also represented the Denmark national team on 129 occasions during 14 years (1987-2001) and also won the UEFA European Championship with Denmark in 1992. He was voted FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year in 1993, and also won the IFFHS Goalkeeper of the Year award in 1992, 1993, and 2000.

Iker Casillas

Nicknamed “San Iker” by the Spanish media for his ability to make spectacular saves, Casillas is one of the best goalkeepers of his generation and also one of the most decorated of all-time. He spent the majority of his 15-year spell with the Real Madrid first team as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper and became captain of the club in 2010. Casillas won five La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions Leagues, four Spanish SuperCups, two UEFA SuperCups, two Copa del Rey titles, one Intercontinental Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Casillas left Real Madrid unceremoniously in the summer of 2015, with fans calling for the head of club president, Florentino Perez, for how badly he handled the legend’s departure from the club. He spent another five years at the Portuguese club, FC Porto before calling time on his illustrious career in August 2020.

Casillas’ 167 international caps have him ranked second in terms of total appearances for the Spanish national team. He was captain of the Spain team that won the UEFA European championships in 2008 & 2012, and also led the team to World Cup glory in 2010 in South Africa. Casillas has been named IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper for a record five times and remains the only goalkeeper to have won the award four times in a row.

Gianluigi “Gigi” Buffon

Born in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy on January 28, 1978, to athletes Adriano Buffon and Maria Stella Buffon. Buffon began his professional career with Parma in 1995, and also made his first-team debut that year. He helped Parma win the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Cup and the Supercoppa Italiana in 1999.

Buffon became the most expensive goalkeeper in the history of football when he moved to Juventus for €52 million in 2001. During his first spell at the club, Buffon became one of the best players in the world at his position, winning the Serie A nine times, as well being named Serie A Footballer of the Year on one occasion. Buffon was also named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year on 12 separate occasions, and also got included in the Champions League Squad of the Season in 2015 & 2017.

Buffon left Juventus in 2018 after 17 years to sign for French champions Paris Saint-Germain where he won the Ligue 1 title and the French SuperCup. He returned to Juventus in 2019 and remains the club’s backup goalkeeper to first-choice, Wojciech Szczesny.

Gigi remains the most capped player in the history of the Italian national team with 176 caps and was an important member of the Italian team that won the 2006 World Cup.

Buffon won the IFFHS Best Goalkeeper of the Year award on five occasions.

Lev Yashin

Known for his athleticism, bravery, positioning, acrobatic reflex saves, and imposing stature in goal, Yashin spent 16 years as the goalkeeper of the Soviet Union (from 1954-70), winning the UEFA European championships in 1960 and a gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. He appeared in four World Cups and was chosen for the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team in 1994.

Yashin was named the greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS and remains the only goalkeeper to ever win the Ballon d’Or award, having done so in 1963. He spent his entire club career with Dynamo Moscow, making over 300 appearances in two decades for the Russian club.


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