It’s fitting that the goalkeeper, the loneliest position in football, bears number one.
In some circles, the role has gone beyond traditional norms, but a modern practitioner follows a familiar path.
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Possession is nine-tenths of the law; at this moment, Benfica’s goalkeeper shirt belongs to Anatolii Trubin; it’s been that way for the last few months.
No other club boasts a stronger modern lineage than Portugal’s most decorated club. Esteemed predecessors of Trubin include Jan Oblak and Ederson, the latter famously succeeding the former in the early 2010s.
In recent times, Odysseas Vlachodimos has assumed the role, with Helton Leite making several appearances. Mile Svilar, who left for Roma in 2022, was also highly rated, but the Eagles now have Trubin between the sticks after signing him for just €10m.
Having joined from boyhood club Shakhtar Donetsk last summer, it feels like Benfica struck gold again. After three consecutive unused substitute appearances, he’s featured across 14 consecutive Primeira Liga outings, conceding six goals (or one every 210 minutes).
Delving into the stats even further, Trubin boasts a higher save percentage than any other goalkeeper across Europe’s top seven leagues this season (360+ minutes played): 85.7%. The 10-time capped Ukrainian international has also more clean sheets (8) than goals shipped.
Only seven goalkeepers across those aforementioned European leagues have produced more shut-outs than Benfica’s number one. Yann Sommer of Inter currently leads with 12 clean sheets. Trubin, incidentally, tops Portugal’s chart.
But of those who have played at least 900 minutes, Trubin sits on top, with PSV’s shot-stopper Walter Benítez behind him on eight goals conceded.
As mentioned, goalkeepers today are counted on for more than keeping the ball out; his manager has lauded Trubin’s distribution.
“Trubin knows how to deliver the ball at the right moment and to the right teammate,” Roger Schmidt recently said. “His skills are very impressive. Anatolii was a little nervous at first, but now, thanks to his performances, he has grown a lot in Benfica.”
The defending Portuguese champions head into the latest round of fixtures sitting in second and one point behind city rivals Sporting.
Benfica are next in league action when they visit Estrela on January 30.