The Best Goalkeepers Ever

Keeper Portal is often asked who we think is the best goalkeeper ever and it is a common argument between members of the goalkeeper union.

Generally there are a few names that pop up each time in every argument so we have pulled together some information about each and some highlights of their greatest moments to try and help our users decide who the best goalkeeper ever really is!

Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks is most famous with today’s fans for making what many experts have described as ‘The Greatest Save Ever’ when he managed to turn a close range Pele header over the bar in the 1970 World Cup in Brazil.

Whilst the Sheffield born shot stopper may not have had as glittering a career at a domestic level as some of his counterparts in this list lets not forget that he played every minute of England’s 1966 World Cup triumph and went on to earn 73 international caps before being involved in a car crash and losing his sight in one eye.

Whenever a ‘best goalkeeper ever’ topic comes up, Gordon Banks is certainly one of the names that always pops up!

Lev Yashin

Generally, as soon as someone mentions Gordon Banks somebody counters with Lev Yashin! Earning 70 caps for the Soviet Union ‘The Black Spider’ as he was nicknamed was labelled as the #1 Goalkeeper of the 20th Century by the IFFS (with Gordon Banks in 2nd).

As the only goalkeeper ever to win the Ballon D’Or, Lev Yashin was well known for his fantastic reflexes and athleticism during his 326 games for Dynamo Moscow where he spent his entire career and is consistently named as the goalkeeper when naming best teams of all time. Anybody who hasn’t seen Lev in action before will certainly enjoy the below video of Lev against West Germany!

Oliver Kahn

Whilst Manuel Neuer may be getting lots of attention currently, Oliver Kahn was Germany’s original top goalkeeper! As well as winning everything there is to win at club level Kahn’s individual honors include four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards, three IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper awards, and two German Footballer of the Year trophies. At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Kahn became the first and only goalkeeper in the tournament’s history to win the Golden Ball.

Kahn was an absolute monster at times in his career with a fiery temper who could single handedly win Bayern Munich (who he represented 429 times) and Germany many games with his amazing performances and world class saves. Some of which can be seen in the great highlight video below!

Peter Schmeichel

The imposing figure of Schmeichel standing 6ft 3 flying towards you in his infamous star shape would be enough to put many strikers off, but as well as unique style and legendary temper, Peter Schmeichel was undoubtedly one of the best shot stoppers ever.

Most famous for his time at Manchester United where he became a United legend having helped guide them to Champions League success and countless other domestic trophies Schmeichel’s individual honours are enough to rival any goalkeeper including; 4 time winner of UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year and 2 time winner of IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper.

Away from the bright lights of Old Trafford though, Schmeichel is also famous for his sensational displays in Denmark’s sensational Euro 1992 victory where among other great moments he saved a semi final penalty against Marco Van Basten.

There is no question that ‘The Great Dane’ is a popular choice in this argument and it’s easy to see why in the video below!

Gianluigi Buffon

When Juventus paid out a world record fee of £32.5 million in 2001 to bring Gigi Buffon to the club you got the feeling they believed they had found something special, and how right they were!

Buffon is the only keeper to have ever won the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award and narrowly missed out on the Ballon D’Or award in 2006 having been fundamental in guiding Italy to win the World Cup. At aged 37 and with 147 caps for Italy and 416 games for Juventus he continues to defy his age and produce man of the match displays for both club and country.

As well as being considered a great goalkeeper Buffon is also considered to be one of the most intellectual to have ever worn the #1 shirt at the top level and believes that positioning is the key to being a great goalkeeper which is clearly evident in his style!

Iker Casillas

Despite Iker Casillas more recent fall from grace, he was undoubtedly one of the greatest goalkeepers around in his prime winning 5 IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper Awards in a row as well as 2 European Championships and 1 World Cup with Spain as well as becoming the youngest goalkeeper to win the Champions League at just 19 years and 4 days old in 2000.

The Spanish shot stopper has played over 500 games in his professional career, all for Real Madrid and is certainly one of the most decorated goalkeepers of the modern game. Unlike a lot of the other famous goalkeepers, Casillas is only 6ft 1 and is famed for his agility rather than an imposing presence!

Who do you think is the best Goalkeeper of all time?

We’ve shortlisted a few above, if the Keeper you would have chosen has been missed just let us know in the comments below and we will look into adding it for you!

Best Goalkeeper Ever

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Daz @ KeeperPortal

Owner and creator of Keeper Portal, an FA qualified goalkeeping coach as well as being pretty impressive at keeping balls out of a net.

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  1. Thanks for your comment David, you’re right – they are both great keepers!

    We tried to keep this post to the keepers we have heard people argue for as the best ever, but there are hundreds of great keepers not on the list due to keeping it as concise as possible.

    Neville Southall is another fantastic keeper who hasn’t been included much to a few fans disappointment.

    Who would you vote for as your number 1 of all time?

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