From Oliver Kahn to Gianluigi Buffon, the best goalies in the world seem to combine both a sharp focus and a consistent work ethic to ensure their durability between the sticks. Here are the top 11 goalkeepers of all-time.
One of the best goalkeepers of all-time, the ‘Great Dane’ Peter Schmeichel powered one of the most decorated Manchester United sides. With a commanding goal presence and quick reflexes, Schmeichel won a Champions League, five Premiership titles, three FA Cups, and a League Cup during his eight your spell with the Red Devils.
An 8-time German Champion along with six DFB Cups, a UEFA Cup, and Champions League trophy to his name, 6’2 Oliver Kahn aka ‘Der Titan’ holds the record for Bayern Munich club appearances at 632. He’s also the only goalkeeper to ever win the Golden Ball at the FIFA World Cup where he led his team to second and third place finishes.
If he’s going to keep playing, he deserves to be on the list. With 176 appearances, Gianluigi Buffon is Italy’s most capped player of all-time. He recorded a record five clean sheets during Italy’s road to the World Cup trophy in 2006. Buffon also has over 500 appearances in the Juventus kit, a team he helped win nine Serie A titles and five Coppa Italia titles. Now in his 23rd year of professional football, Buffon now starts for Paris St. Germain.
The Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas spent 16 years as a dependable and consistent shot blocker between the posts. Casillas went on to make 725 appearances with Real Madrid where he loaded up the trophy case with five Spanish League championships, four Spanish Super Cups, two Copa Del Rey’s and two UEFA Super Cups. He also protected the net for Spain on their way to winning the World Cup in 2010.
The first recipient of the Premier League Golden Glove award, Petr Čech set a single-season record of 24 clean sheets for The Blues during the 2004-05 season. After returning from a horrific incident in a 2006 match that left him with a fractured skull, he sported a trademark helmet that saw him lift Champions League, four League titles, and four FA Cups.
Regarded as one of the best goalkeepers ever, the physical and commanding Manuel Neuer rules the posts with imperious superiority. He helped lead the side that won Germany’s fifth title in 2014, nearly winning the Ballon d’Or in 2014 only to finish third behind Messi and Ronaldo. He also captained the side that fell short in the 2018 World Cup. A so-called ‘Sweeper-Keeper’ for his passing ability outside the box, Manuel Neuer modernized the goalkeeper position for which he still has many years to come.
Edwin Van Der Sar
The commanding goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was once the most capped player The Netherlands with 130 appearances. The former Dutch footballer of the year helped take the national side all the way to two Euro semifinals, in 2000 and 2004 and one World Cup semi-final where they lost to Brazil in penalty kicks.
Nicknamed the black spider for his iconic all-black outfit, the goalie Lev Yashin played in four World Cups for Russia and spent twenty years between the posts for club side Dynamo Moscow. Often considered the best goalkeeper of all-time — he’s the only goalie ever to receive the Ballon d’Or — he also set a precedent for Premier League goalies like David Seaman who also wore black.
One of the most decorated goalkeepers of all-time, Italian Dino Zoff won the 1982 World Cup wearing a grey goalkeeper’s kit on top of what looks like the classic blue Italian jersey. Along with the captain’s white armband, black shorts, and red-striped gloves, Dino Zoff looked as stylish as his game.
He’s remembered for making one of the best saves of all-time in the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico. Gordon Banks tipped a bouncing Pele header up and over the bar just as it was about to enter the goal. Brazil won the match 1-0. Banks also helped Stoke win its first-ever major trophy in 1972.
Signed in 1990 by then Arsenal coach George Graham, David Seaman went on to win the 1990-91 league title while conceding just 18 goals all season. He won the Double twice after that with Arsene Wenger at the helm, in both the 1998 and 2002 seasons. He also started in goalie for the England national team, playing in two World Cups.