The Champions League is in full swing and some of the very best goalkeepers in the world are on display.
Often overlooked by fans but never by team-mates and coaches, goalies are an unfashionable but essential part of the game. Every side that has ever won the Champions League has had a great goalkeeper.
But who are the best goalkeepers in this season’s edition of the Champions League? We had a look and came up with the top five!
Club: Manchester City
Champions League clean sheets 2020/21: 7
Champions League clean sheets 2021/22: 0
It’s a tight call for who squeezes in at fifth on this list with Liverpool’s brilliant Brazilian Alisson and Barcelona’s gallant German Marc-Andre Ter Stegen just missing out. In terms of Ter Stegen, he’s coming off an injury and his worst season in Catalunya so will need to earn his way back onto these kind of lists.
Alisson had his injury problems last season but he’s come out of them looking decidedly ordinary. He’s still obviously very good but just not quite as impenetrable as usual, evidenced by him losing his starting spot with Brazil to Ederson, who also takes the fifth spot on this list.
Ederson is a solid stopper whose unique selling point is his magnificent and mercurial passing ability. The Brazilian is an essential part of Manchester City’s offensive strategy, not only as an extra playmaker to work around the press as they play out from the back, but also as arguably the best long-range passer in the team. He’d be higher on his list but a rash decision to come out to face Kai Havertz cost Man City the Champions League last season, and that’s an error he’s going to have to work off.
4. Thibaut Courtois
Club: Real Madrid
Champions League clean sheets 2020/21: 4
Champions League clean sheets 2021/22: 3
Thibaut Courtois endured a horrific start to life as a Real Madrid goalkeeper but overcame that to scale the heights yet again. Now he’s back as one of the finest shot-stoppers on the planet with his incredible reflexes and long limbs bailing Los Blancos out on so many occasions. The one time Real Madrid tightened up and played defensive football at the end of 2019/20, Courtois was the club’s key man as they won 10 straight games to take La Liga, but usually things are looser as Los Blancos play with their cavalier style.
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3. Manuel Neuer
Club: Bayern Munich
Champions League clean sheets 2020/21: 3
Champions League clean sheets 2021/22: 3
Manuel Neuer looked finished. Then he looked immortal again, deading Kylian Mbappé and Neymar to help Bayern win the Champions League (and their second Treble) in 2020. Now he’s just kinda great and, despite being 35, is back among the world’s finest goalkeepers. A monstrous presence sweeping behind his defence and a vocal leader, Neuer is the boss.
2. Jan Oblak
Club: Atlético Madrid
Champions League clean sheets 2020/21: 2
Champions League clean sheets 2021/22: 1
Jan Oblak has been an immovable object in the Atlético Madrid goal for years now and is always such a formidable force on the rare occasions opponents manage to break down the Atleti defence. Oblak played a huge role in Diego Simeone’s men winning La Liga last season and now will be out to try and finally get his hands on the Champions League after coming so close in 2016.
1. Edouard Mendy
Champions League clean sheets 2020/21: 9
Champions League clean sheets 2021/22: 4
Edouard Mendy came really from out of nowhere at the start of last season and instantly made Chelsea look more solid at the back, replacing Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Senegalese goalkeeper is such a composed figure it brings order to the Blues’ back-line and once Thomas Tuchel came in, things went to another level.
In the knockout stages of the Champions League, Mendy kept five clean sheets in seven games to help Chelsea walk away with the trophy, for which he claimed UEFA’s Goalkeeper of the Year award. Mendy plays behind a rock solid defence, but he’s so impressive himself with a save percentage of 91.18% en route to Champions League glory last season (more than any other goalkeeper to play more than 90 minutes) that he absolutely must be recognised as the finest goalkeeper in the Champions League this season.
He’s so good that when Federico Chiesa scored against him this season, even though it was a world-class finish (and the only goal he’s conceded in five Champions League games), people were still surprised. That’s the level he’s set.