Young children dream of scoring goals, creating their own celebrations, making headlines, baffling opponents, being superstars and virtually ruling the game. Such young, aspiring soccer players are guaranteed to have posters of Cristiano Ronaldo here and Lionel Messi there; of Wayne Rooney on the door front and Zlatan Ibrahimović on the door back; of Neymar on the window and Aguero in the wardrobe. But you would really struggle to find a kid worshipping Buffon or Kahn.
That’s why, to celebrate this much underrated art of soccer, we have rounded up 5 of the very best current goalkeepers in European soccer. Read on, take a moment to appreciate the efforts of these unsung heroes and get inspired by them – who knows, even you could end up on such lists 15 years down the line!
1. Iker Casillas (Spain, FC Porto)
The reason Casillas tops this list is that apart from being a very, very good goalkeeper, he is a natural leader. With 5 La Liga titles, 3 Champions League cups, a Euro Cup and a World Cup adorning his trophy cabinet, one can imagine the way he can solidify a team and bring the best out of his players.
Despite having had some bitter confrontations with the Real Madrid team management in recent past, he is still the most beloved Los Blancos’ goalie, their Captain Reliable and most importantly – a very, very humble man.
Extremely reliable in set play situations.
2. Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich)
With glittering performances in last three seasons for Germany as well as Bayern Munich, Manuel Neuer has established a firm place as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Drafted very young into the Bundesliga setup, Neuer was lucky to board the plane to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, as Rene Adler had to withdraw due to injury. Since then, he has quickly stepped up to the plate every time he was required to – winning 3 Bundesliga titles and 1 Champions League trophy for Bayern Munich.
Accurate Long throws and great composure in high pressure penalty shootouts.
3. David de Gea (Spain, Manchester United)
The rise of David de Gea has been nothing short of meteoric. Ever since he left Atletico Madrid in 2011, he has been a regular starter for Manchester United. He has also enjoyed the immense popularity that being with a huge club like Manchester United automatically follows. He has made many memorable saves for the Reds, the most memorable coming against the free kick of compatriot Juan Mata when he was at Chelsea.
He is the next in line to fill the big shoes of Casillas when he decides to retire from international soccer.
Saves off free kicks and excellent chemistry with defenders.
4. Petr Čech (Czech Republic, Arsenal)
After spending nearly his whole playing career at the Stamford Bridge, Čech made a shock move to Arsenal this summer. He has long stopped being the first-choice keeper for the teams he plays for, but that does not change the fact that he has been among the very best in the business for over a decade.
Barcelona fans will particularly remember Čech forever, for all those heartbreaks he has caused them over the seasons in Champions Leagues.
Attacking the ball and anticipating opposition’s through-balls.
5. Marc-André ter Stegen (Germany, Barcelona)
Stegen has been an understated presence at Camp Nou since he joined the club in an unexpected transfer two seasons ago.
He has been very responsible, however, in all of his appearances for the Spanish giants – allowing them to win the Treble (La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League) in his first season with them. His terrific save off Lewandowski against Bayern Munich in the return leg of the CL Semi Final in that season has been one of the proudest moments for Barcelona fans.
Great sweeping abilities and nimble diving skills.