Goalkeepers are one of the most important figures on a football field.
Undervalued for their contributions and over-criticised for their errors, there’s no position under quite as much scrutiny as the goalkeeper.
Their unique position makes those who excel there all the more impressive. With that in mind, here are Europe’s top 10 goalkeepers currently. Overall quality is considered but weighting is given to recent displays, so intensely out of form stoppers are out of luck.
10. Ederson (Manchester City)
Sure, we could talk about how Ederson has been the catalyst that turned Manchester City into the dominant force they are today. Sure, we could talk about his 16 clean sheets since the start of last season the Premier League, or the fact that he actually ended last season with multiple assists, but he falls down this list because lately he’s not been so good at the actual art of stopping goals. Others are pushing for a spot in the top 10, so he’ll need to improve lest he go the way of the other Manchester goalkeeper.
9. Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig)
RB Leipzig ended the last Bundesliga season with the second-best defence in the Bundesliga and a first-ever appearance in the Champions League semi-finals and the Hungarian stopper, who was once third-choice at Liverpool, is a huge reason why. Gulacsi kept 11 clean sheets, made 87 saves and 16 keeper sweeper actions for Julian Nagelsmann’s men.
8. Samir Handanovic (Inter)
Perpetually underrated because he plays for the haphazard and unstable Inter, Samir Handanovic has been one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the world over the past few years. Since the start of last season he’s kept 13 clean sheets in Serie A and helped guide Inter all the way to the Europa League final. He’s also Inter’s captain, so you know he’s a good leader as well.
7. Keylor Navas (PSG)
PSG finally worked out having a worthy goalkeeper will improve their chances of European glory. Signing a three-time Champions League winner proved to be a no-brainer and Navas has been worth every penny, taking then to within inches of the promised land as they lost the Champions League 1-0 to a late Bayern Munich goal. He won Ligue 1 but his performances in Europe, where he posted an impressive 5 clean sheets, were the difference-maker.
6. Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Ter Stegen is a supreme goalkeeper, a ridiculous combination of Brazilian duo Ederson and Alisson’s great strengths, in that he is both a maestro with the ball at his feet – able to loft gentle lobs over pressing attackers heads to team-mates by the touchline – and also a pillar of strength and dominant presence when 1 vs 1 against an onrushing striker.
That said he is injured and got slapped 8-2 in his last appearance, so despite his incessant consistency he cannot be top five.
5. David Soria (Getafe)
Perhaps not the Spanish David you were expecting to see here, but whilst the one in Manchester is having a miserable time of things the one in Madrid is busy being magnificent. David Soria does have the advantage of playing for the ferociously defensive Getafe (think Atlético Madrid back in 2013) but he takes that advantage and runs with it.
Since the start of last season he’s kept an impressive 18 clean sheets and made a frankly ridiculous 34 keeper sweeper actions which is the most across Europe’s top five leagues. He is a huge part of Getafe’s defensive prowess and fully deserving of his spot in the top 5.
4. Alisson (Liverpool)
The bread and butter of goalkeeping is stopping the ball going into the net. And in this regard, Alisson is supreme. The brilliantly bearded Brazilian has been a calming presence at the back for Liverpool as they have pivoted to a side built on their defence.
Alisson is big, strong and has absurd reflexes. He’s a monster at coming off his line (as Arsenal recently found out) and he must be an organisational genius given that in his absence Liverpool got slapped up at Anfield in the Champions League and shipped an absurd seven goals against Aston Villa.
3. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
It took some time but Thibaut Courtois now feels right at home. Real Madrid supporters weren’t always his best friend throughout a difficult 2018/19 campaign; which saw him unfortunately become a scapegoat for the club’s failings, however those days are behind him and he’s proven his worth with a series of colossal performances to allow Los Blancos to win La Liga with only the most meagre of offensive outputs. 21 clean sheets since the start of last season is the most in Europe’s top five leagues and as if that wasn’t impressive enough he’s conceded just 22 goals in that time!
2. Jan Oblak (Atlético Madrid)
Jan Oblak was signed for a measly €16m and has delivered year-upon-year of quality play. Since the start of last season he has 19 clean sheets, and has made 100 saves. That is doubly impressive when you realise that Atleti are nowhere near the defensive juggernaut they were when he first arrived and he’s having to work wonders. He recently put in a miracle performance at Anfield, making nine immense saves to keep Liverpool out and sure Atleti knock out the reigning European champions.
Others may rise and fall or occasionally challenge his spot but no one can truly step to Jan Oblak… usually.
1. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years. Manuel Neuer is fully over his foot problems and is back being Bayern Munich’s best goalkeeper and defender. The giant German is irrepressible and his dominating personality has seen everyone fall in front of him. Bayern Munich won the Champions League last season and they were victorious in every game as Neuer kept a tournament-high 6 clean sheets.
Neuer’s display in the final was terrifying in the same that watching a shark hunt and slowly devour other smaller fish is terrifying. The German repeatedly showed up to dead PSG attacks that looked like surefire title winners, ending the Parisian’s 34-match scoring streak in Europe and allowing Bayern to win it with just one goal. He now has clean sheets in a World Cup and Champions League final (no one else does) and then repeated the feat again by dominating Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup.
Salute Manuel Neuer, the best in the world once again.