Whether it’s a shot stopper, the man between the sticks or the number one, a goalkeeper is ultimately the last man. In fact, keepers can often save seasons as well as games. They can play a significant role in team’s campaign and can often contribute to key moments. Ultimately, they can be the difference when it comes to conceding a goal. It could be that penalty save in the dying seconds of a game or a one on one situation. Whatever the outcome, goalkeepers are vital cogs in the footballing machine. Yet to be a goalkeeper, not only does it take a tremendous amount of courage but teams rely on an individual’s personality to see them through.
Over the years, there have been a number of different personalities who have cemented iconic status in goal. This includes the likes of Rene Higuita who loved to come out of his area every now and again. Take for example the infamous goal he conceded when playing for his native Colombia against Cameroon at Italia 90. Higuita liked to show off and dribbled out to almost the halfway line. His skills though were to let him down as Roger Milla swiped the ball from under his feet and scored into an empty net. In addition, Higuita was also famous for his legendary Scorpion kick against England at Wembley stadium.
It is now more a case of out with the old and in with the new as goalkeepers are receiving more plaudits for their status. Nevertheless, they have certainly taken inspiration from some of the finest goalkeepers of recent years from Edwin Van Der Sar to Gianluigi Buffon. Manuel Neuer aside, who are the best young goalkeepers in the world and which ones are more likely to go on to achieve legendary status? We'll look at the top 15.
15 Asmir Begovic
One of the English Premier League’s brightest stars is Bosnian international Asmir Begovic. The Stoke City goalkeeper is adept thanks to his 6-foot-6 frame, whilst making the number spot his own. He has been a prolific performer for Stoke over the past few years and has already represented Canada at the Under 20 level. Still under 30 years of age, Begovic takes his inspiration from iconic German keeper Oliver Kahn. He has been a key figure in the Bosnia line up since 2009 and is extremely agile for a big chap. On the other hand, his kicking ability is another weapon in his soccer arsenal and has seen Begovic on the score sheet for the Potters. This took place against Southampton where Begovic scored in just 13 seconds from his own penalty area.
14 Rui Patricio
13 Fraser Forster
12 Ron Robert Zieler
11 Salvatore Sirigu
10 Wojciech Szczęsny
9 Fernando Muslera
8 Paul Nardi
Considered to be one of the great expectations for French football, Paul Nardi should be on the radar for many clubs. The 20-year-old now plays for AS Monaco in Ligue 1 having moved from AS Nancy. He made 33 appearances for the club before his glamorous move to the principality. Despite the $6 million price tag, Nardi is set to turn many people’s heads as he aims for glory. His developing success is down to among other attributes representing France at Under 20 level.
7 Keylor Navas
6 Marc-André ter Stegen
5 Joe Hart
4 Simone Scuffet
3 Bernd Leno
Bernd Leno has already impressed and holds the record for being the youngest ever number one to appear in a UEFA Champions League tie. Only in his early twenties, the Bayer Leverkusen keeper joined them back in 2011. He has progressed with seamless ease through the German ranks with appearances at every level. Time does seem to be on his side as stalwart Manuel Neuer is not going anywhere in a hurry. Yet head coach Joachim Loew will no doubt be grooming Leno to take over the German goalkeeping mantle.
2 Thibaut Courtois
1 David de Gea
Although he started off with a whimper, David de Gea has answered all of his critics to become a top class keeper. In 2011, the Spanish international signed from Atletico Madrid in a reported $25 million fee. Many pundits and fans were critical from the outset and criticised De Gea’s lack of influence and ability to catch crosses. Yet, he has swept all these disparagements under the carpet and has now emerged as the number one at Old Trafford. He has saved the Red Devils quite literally on more than one occasion this season especially against Everton and Liverpool. His ability knows no bounds as he has secured made the number one jersey his own at Manchester United. Meanwhile, De Gea is certainly the favourite to succeed Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas once the Madrid player calls it a day.
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