Football Features

Ranked: The top five goalkeepers in the Champions League this season

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 16:40, 15 September 2021

The Champions League is back and so are some of the very best goalkeepers in the world.

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!

5. Ederson

Age: 28
Club: Manchester City
Champions League clean sheets last season: 7

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. Manuel Neuer

Age: 35
Club: Bayern Munich
Champions League clean sheets last season: 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.

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3. Edouard Mendy

Age: 29
Club: Chelsea
Champions League clean sheets last season: 9

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).

2. Thibaut Courtois

Age: 29
Club: Real Madrid
Champions League clean sheets last season: 4

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 usually cavalier style.

1. Jan Oblak

Age: 28
Club: Atlético Madrid
Champions League clean sheets last season: 2

There can be no other choice for the best goalkeeper in the Champions League besides Jan Oblak, the finest in the world. The Slovenian 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.