Ten of the Best Goalkeepers in the World

A good goalkeeper can mean the difference between success and failure for a team. Here is a look at 10 of the best goalkeepers in the world.

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Manuel Neuer (Germany & Bayern Munich)

Manuel Neuer
Manuel Neuer of Germany controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final match. Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

An excellent 2010/11 season for Schalke prompted Bayern Munich to splurge a reported US$26 million on the player, with another $10 million dependant on performances. Many Bayern supporters felt that the club had overspent on a player whose contract was due to expire in 2012, when he would have been available for free. Neuer, though, has silenced his critics and was the best goalkeeper at the 2014 World Cup as Germany won the tournament for the first time since 1990.

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Thibaut Courtois (Belgium & Chelsea)

Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois could be at the top of the game for the next 10 years. Jean Catuffe / Getty Images

Courtois plays with confidence beyond his tender years and pulled off some truly remarkable saves after joining Atletico Madrid on loan from Chelsea in 2012. Injury permitting, Courtois will be one of the very best goalkeepers in the world for the next 10 or 15 years and was key to the Spanish outfit winning their first La Liga title since 1996. The Belgian returned to Stamford Bridge after that 2014 title win.

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Gianluigi Buffon (Italy & Juventus)

Gianluigi Buffon
Gianluigi Buffon won the World Cup in 2006. Giuseppe Bellini / Getty Images

A World Cup winner in 2006, Buffon is considered by many observers as the best goalkeeper of the last decade alongside Casillas. The Juventus custodian has few weaknesses and remains the most expensive goalkeeper in the world following his 2001 move from Parma to Juve. Now well into his 30s, injuries may be taking their toll on Buffon, but he remains an important presence for club and country.

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Hugo Lloris (France & Tottenham Hotspur)

Hugo lloris
Martin Rose / Getty Images

Boasting a long reach and superb reflexes, France captain Lloris is capable of keeping strikers at bay when his team are firmly under the cosh. Previously at Nice and Lyon, he was signed by Tottenham in August 2012 as they looked for a long-term option between the posts. Must improve his decision making but an undisputed first choice for club and country.

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Petr Cech (Czech Republic & Arsenal)

Petr Cech
Matej Divizna / Getty Images

After arriving at Chelsea from Rennes in 2004, Cech was been a model of consistency, rarely making errors and helping the club to three Premier League titles and a Champions League. He recovered from a fractured skull sustained in a controversial challenge by Reading's Stephen Hunt in 2006. Before being displaced by Courtois, Cech instilled confidence in what was a solid Chelsea defense, and although he may have had fewer saves to make than many goalkeepers, it was a sign of his class and extreme concentration that he was rarely found wanting when called upon. Granted a move to Arsenal in 2015.

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David De Gea (Spain & Manchester United)

David De Gea against France
Xavier Laine / Getty Images

The Spaniard initially struggled with the lifestyle change after his big money move from Atletico Madrid, but credits increased confidence, training well and a more positive outlook for a drastic improvement over the last two seasons. One of the best shot-stoppers in the business, De Gea now commands his area with far more authority and has also cut out the errors that were costing United in his early days at the club.

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Iker Casillas (Spain & Porto)

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 22: Goalkeeper Iker Casillas of Real Madrid CF stops the ball during his warming up prior to start the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Elche CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 22, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

'Saint Iker,' as he is known at Real Madrid, was dropped for much of the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons but remains a club legend, having come through the youth system. Casillas often had the misfortune of having an inadequate defense in front of him as Real focused on assembling a fearsome attack, only to neglect the backline. But this simply meant he was able to showcase his skills to an even greater extent, bailing out his defense time and time again, putting his body on the line and making spectacular saves when the opposition looked odds-on to score. Left for Porto in 2015.

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Joe Hart (England & Manchester City)

Joe Hart
Jamie McDonald / Getty Images

A superb shot-stopper possessed with calmness and authority, Hart made a huge contribution to Manchester City's title win in 2012. He initially made few mistakes after breaking onto the scene in a loan spell with Birmingham, and then returning to City. However, the 2012-13 and 13-14 seasons will not be remembered as the best of Hart's career, and despite his numerous strengths, the England goalkeeper needs to improve his handling and minimize errors that have proved costly for club and country.

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Victor Valdes (Spain)

Victor Valdes
Denis Doyle / Getty Images

There is a case for arguing that if the former Barcelona custodian was any other nationality, he would be his country’s number one. But Valdes has had the misfortune of being in his prime at the same time as Casillas, who has held the Spain jersey for over a decade. Valdes is Barca’s most successful goalkeeper, having won six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues with the club. The former Tenerife youth player is terrific in one-on-one situations. He left Barca in 2014.

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Samir Handanovic (Slovenia & Inter Milan)

Samir Handanovic
Claudio Villa / Getty Images

The 6ft 5in stopper left Udinese for Inter Milan in July 2012 after establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A. Conceding just four goals in 10 2010 World Cup qualifying matches, Handanovic helps form the spine of the Slovenia team, with his agility and penalty-saving prowess both valuable assets.

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