GOAT Goalkeepers in Football History. An illustrious career has finally come to an end for Gigi Buffon, but will history remember the Italian legend as the best shot-stopper?
Gianluigi Buffon announced his retirement on Wednesday in afternoon, capping off a remarkable 23-year career.
The tributes have been pouring in, and a number of prestigious judges have dubbed the legendary goalie of Italy as the best of all time.
But is Buffon actually the greatest shot-blocker that we have ever seen?
Does he actually surpass his illustrious countryman Dino Zoff? Or Iker Casillas, who excelled at both the club and international levels?
What about Lev Yashin, the goalkeeper who established the bar that everyone other has since tried to reach?
#10 Peter Shilton
No other elite goalkeeper can match Peter Shilton in terms of longevity, having played between the pipes for just over three decades.
In spite of the fact that he was 40 years old at the time of Italia ’90, he was still England’s first-choice goalkeeper.
However, that should not take away from the fact that, at the height of his abilities, Shilton was a truly exceptional shot-stopper, the last line of defense in the Nottingham Forest team that won back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980.
These days, Shilton is probably best known for continuing to be extremely bitter about losing to Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God.”
In spite of being at the top of his field throughout the 1980s, Shilton didn’t end his remarkable career until 1997, or about 31 years after making his debut for Leicester City.
#9 Edwin van der Sar
Edwin van der Sar was one of the pioneers of a new breed of goalkeepers who were excellent with the ball at their feet despite his height (6’5”/1.97m).
In fact, Manuel Neuer later acknowledged that the Dutchman’s risky ball distribution had influenced him.
Van der Sar was a member of the fantastic Ajax side that won the Champions League in 1995, and even if a later move to Juventus did not go well, he revived his career at Fulham before heading to Manchester United, where he had further Champions League success in 2008.
In fact, after making numerous key saves in open play that justifiably earned him the player of the match title, Van der Sar was the one who gave the Red Devils the victory by stopping Nicolas Anelka’s penalty in the shootout.
At age 40 in 2011, the former Netherlands international would go on to break the record for the oldest player to win the Premier League.
#8 Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas was a tremendous talent with amazing reflexes that Manuel Almunia once compared to those of a cat.
He made his Real Madrid debut at the age of just 18, and he was just 19 when he assisted Los Blancos in winning the 2000 Champions League final.
The Spaniard would go on to play regularly for both club and country for more than a decade, serving as captain of the best international team in the history of the sport.
Between 2008 and 2012, this helped him earn the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper award five times in a row.
One of the best goalkeepers in the history of the game, Casillas guided La Roja to two European Championships and one World Cup.
By the time he left Madrid for Porto in 2015, he had also won another two Champions Leagues.
The results speak for themselves, as Buffon observed of his formidable rival: “Honestly, I have no need to make up a lot of words to convey what a player he is because the outcomes are there for all to see.”
#7 Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel, a goalkeeper of extraordinary size, strength, and agility, was a nightmare for attackers who struggled to get past the enormous Dane with his signature “star jumps” and an inspiration for all aspiring goalkeepers.
Schmeichel is cited by Casillas as an inspiration.
The legendary player for Manchester United was also known to be known for his long, accurate throws, which he utilized to start counterattacks with deadly results, and his organizational abilities.
In the event that his defenders were misplaced, Schmeichel never held back in letting them know!
Schmeichel was a true winner, whether you liked him or not (Roy Keane thought his old United teammate was a “poser”!).
He won 15 titles while playing for Old Trafford, but his greatest achievement was helping Denmark shock the football world in 1992 by taking home the European Championship in Sweden.
#6 Gordon Banks
Gordon Banks was a goalkeeper with extraordinary agility and athleticism and is perhaps the guy behind the most famous save in football history.
This was best demonstrated by the World Cup winner, who during a memorable match between Brazil and England in Mexico in 1970, not only stopped Pele from scoring but also turned the ball over the crossbar.
Even though he had already begun to celebrate, Pele later confessed, “I was speechless at the things I had seen.”
Between 1966 and 1971, Banks won the FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year award six times in a row, but the loss of vision in his right eye as a result of a car accident tragically brought an end to his stellar career.
#5 Sepp Maier
In West Germany’s and Bayern Munich’s most prosperous periods in their respective histories, Sepp Maier was without a doubt the No. 1 player.
The Bavarian won three straight European Cups with his club team between 1974 and 1976, as well as the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup with his nation.
But Maier wasn’t just a winning machine; he was also a player with a strong sense of character, a larger-than-life figure who was admired and adored by his teammates for his drive and sense of humor.
#4 Manuel Neuer
Although he may not have created the position of “sweeper-keeper,” Manuel Neuer is undoubtedly its best representative.
By effectively acting as an extra player in defense and a crucial ball distributor from the back, Neuer fundamentally altered the entire idea of the shot-stopper with his amazing achievements for both Bayern Munich and Germany.
As evidenced by the fact that Neuer finished third in the 2014 Ballon d’Or voting after winning the World Cup in Brazil, goalkeepers were previously disregarded when it came to individual awards.
Neuer was generally credited with inspiring a new generation of goalkeepers.
#3 Dino Zoff
Dino Zoff was 40 when he led Italy to victory at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, making him the oldest man ever to do so.
This accomplishment is a credit to both his professionalism and superb placement.
The Italian hero won six Serie A championships with Juventus during his illustrious career, which also saw him win the European Championship on home soil in 1968.
Zoff was a quiet, modest person who led by example.
Despite this, he was an excellent organizer who was admired for his sense of sportsmanship and was known for his attention to detail and composure under pressure.
Enzo Bearzot, a former Italy coach, described him as a level-headed goalkeeper who was able to maintain composure in both stressful and exciting circumstances.
But he was always reserved, both out of modesty and respect for his rivals.
#2 Lev Yashin
Yashin, who won the IFFHS award for goalkeeper of the 20th century, was adored for his theatrics.
He dazzled crowds with his amazing, acrobatic saves and was known for wearing an iconic all-black uniform that gave the appearance that he had extra limbs, earning him the moniker “The Black Spider.”
Yashin, who was a pioneer in short throw-ins and punching the ball away, set the bar for all goalkeepers, therefore it is only fair that the greatest goalkeeper at every World Cup since 1994 has been given the “Lev Yashin Award.”
Yashin was an innovator in terms of punching the ball away and short throw-ins.
He set the bar for all other goalkeepers, therefore it is only fair that the best goalkeeper at every World Cup has been given the “Lev Yashin Award” since 1994.
“He was excellent at everything he did. For the subsequent 10 to 15 years, he served as the goalkeeping role model.
I used to learn from him even though I was already playing at the greatest level,” Banks later acknowledged.
#1 Gianluigi Buffon
Gianluigi Buffon attained a level of sustained greatness that is absolutely unmatched, from his iconic Serie A debut against AC Milan as a teenager to helping Juventus win an unprecedented eight consecutive scudetti.
It’s tough to discover any flaws in his game, according to his fierce adversary Casillas.
Buffon is a legend at Juve for having stuck with the club in spite of their relegation to Serie B that same year, as well as at Parma, where he rejoined for the final two years of a remarkable career, in addition to being a national icon for his role in Italy’s 2006 World Cup victory, in which he was only defeated by an own goal and a penalty.
The Champions League is the only significant trophy that is absent from his resume, yet it has no effect on his position in the sport.
He does really retire as one of the few football personalities who is adored by everyone.
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