Since their reputation won’t be able to rise or fall for a few weeks, now is the perfect time to assess who the best goalkeepers in the world are right now. They say you have to be crazy to be a goalie, but you have to be even crazier to not have an opinion on who the best is. Will you agree with our top goalkeepers ranking? It’s going to fascinating to find out.
Regarding the rather miserable break in the sporting calendar right now, don’t despair – if there is any football on at the moment, you can be sure to catch it right here on our match predictions hub.
Right, let’s get stuck into ranking these number 1s. And yes, I saw the irony in that…
7. David De Gea (Manchester United)
Save ratio: 71.3%
Clean sheet ratio: 27.6%
All ratios given in this article refer to this season
We begin with someone many would argue shouldn’t even be on this list. True, his form hasn’t been great this season. Or last season, for that matter. But on his day, no goalkeeper in the world can match David de Gea for reflexes and shot-stopping ability. Over the course of the past decade, the Spaniard has repeatedly shown himself to be one of the best in the business, and we believe he still is.
Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011 at the age of just 20, de Gea initially struggled to replace legendary goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar due to an eye problem. Fans were calling for his head, but the youngster dug deep and set about establishing himself as one of Europe’s best, quickly winning those fickle fans round.
The Red Devils’ number 1 raked in a remarkable four player of the year awards at the club, winning in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018. The errors that had characterised the early stages of his career in Manchester were all but gone, and superlative performances became the norm. He was even the subject of a colossal bid from Real Madrid during this time, but the move fell through at the last minute due to a dodgy fax machine.
Going into the 2018 World Cup, de Gea was rated as the world’s best between the sticks. But a calamitous tournament, and consistently wobbly displays in the two seasons since, have seen the Spaniard drop down the world pecking order. His main issue seems to be a lack of confidence – why else would such an outstanding performer fall off a cliff at the peak of his powers?
After all, we still regularly see de Gea’s enduring ability on a weekly basis. The spectacular saves are still there, even if the consistency isn’t. Given he’s still only 29, it’s surely only a matter of time before he returns to his very best. Come on Dave, we’re all rooting for you.
6. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Save ratio: 73.3%
Clean sheet ratio: 40.0%
Another who would have featured much higher on this list a few years back, Manuel Neuer was the goalkeeper of the 2010s. A fantastic shot stopper with a penchant for the unexpected, the German is famous for his ‘sweeper keeper’ style of play, fearlessly patrolling areas of the pitch more commonly occupied by holding midfielders.
Neuer burst onto the world stage in the 2011 Champions League when his heroic displays for Schalke dragged the club to the tournament’s semi-finals. Bayern Munich were quick to swoop, as they tend to when a German starts playing remotely well, and the stopper established himself as the world’s best at the Bavarian side.
The two biggest titles in club and international football soon came within his grasp, with Neuer pivotal for Bayern and Germany in their respective 2013 Champions League and 2014 World Cup successes. But then something happened to him. Mistakes started creeping into his game – particularly when performing his trademark dashes upfield to snuff out danger.
Next injuries hit. He missed almost all of the 2017-18 season, for example. Many thought he was finished. His teams began to struggle too, with Bayern repeatedly failing to make an impact in Europe while national side Germany’s decline has been much-publicised.
But this season there have been signs that Neuer is on his way back to the very top. He has been outstanding all year, and while his reflexes aren’t quite what they were, his positional and mental game seems to have improved no end. Add the fact that he’s still a fine shot-stopper and handler of the ball, and you have a seriously impressive keeper. Keep this up, Manuel, and you could soon be shooting up this list again.
5. Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)
Save ratio: 75.3%
Clean sheet ratio: 31.8%
Slovenian born and bred, Samir Handanovic has taken the hard route to international stardom. Stints at Treviso, Lazio, Rimini and Udinese preceded his move to Inter Milan in 2012, where he has since become a club legend. The 35 year-old is known for his large frame and surprising agility, with his ability to get down quickly helping him save a total of 24 penalties in Serie A – a joint record.
It’s important to remember that Inter haven’t been a force in Europe since Jose Mourinho’s departure at the start of the 2010s, meaning Handanovic has found himself playing in a substandard side for much of his career. But, in a sense, this makes his rise to stardom all the more impressive. Indeed, the goalkeeper has often carried this struggling Inter team on his own, providing a desperately-needed defensive bedrock. He’s had little luck on the international scene either, with Slovenia failing to reach major tournaments for much of his career before Jan Oblak came along and took his place. Unsurprisingly, that was the last straw for Handanovic, who has now retired from the national team.
And it’s not just his performances that have been consistent. Handanovic has missed three or fewer games in each of his last 12 seasons in Serie A – some seriously impressive numbers. Now Inter captain, what’s left for the old veteran to achieve? Well, a first Serie A title would be nice, and with Inter beginning to build a team of talented stars under Antonio Conte, that last wish could soon be within his grasp.
4. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Save ratio: 68.4%
Clean sheet ratio: 30.8%
Think of a good all-round goalkeeper, then make him better. Now you have Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Despite being 27, it still feels like the German is a rising force in the game, with his reputation being enhanced with each impressive season he completes with Barcelona. It wasn’t always sunshine and roses though. He originally joined the Catalans back in 2014 from Borussia Monchengladbach, and it took him two years to become first choice.
But from then he has gone from strength to strength. Commanding and consistent, ter Stegen helped Barcelona consolidate their dominance of La Liga as well as enjoy great success in the Copa del Rey. In fact, one of his personal highlights came in the final of the 2017-18 edition of the competition, in which he made a late penalty save to secure victory over Sevilla.
More recently, he has become the first Barcelona goalkeeper to make an assist this century, providing a spectacular pass for Luis Suarez to finish against Getafe in September 2019. Remarkably, he set up another goal just three months later, this time Antoine Griezmann the lucky recipient in a 5-2 win over Mallorca.
But wait until you hear about his exploits with the German national team – here’s where things get tasty. Having been backup to the legendary Manuel Neuer for his entire international career, ter Stegen’s emotions boiled over in autumn 2019 when he claimed his lack of game time had been a “massive blow”. Neuer swiftly responded, branding the complaints “unhelpful”, before ter Stegen announced that those comments were, in themselves, “inappropriate”. Drama, eh.
3. Ederson (Manchester City)
Save ratio: 69.0%
Clean sheet ratio: 36.0%
If Pep Guardiola could build his perfect goalkeeper, it would look something like Ederson. The Brazilian is known for his outstanding skill on the ball – he can pick a teammate out with any type of pass, and even skip past an onrushing attacker or two when required. Why isn’t he higher on this list? Well, a couple of recent mistakes have done a little damage to his reputation, most noticeably in City’s 2-0 derby defeat at Old Trafford.
Ederson moved to Manchester from Benfica in the summer of 2017. His new side had been desperate for a new man between the sticks – after all, they had just endured 12 long months with Claudio Bravo as their number one. Luckily for the Citizens, the new man more than lived up to the hype. Ederson played in all but two matches in his first two seasons, during which he was vital in helping the club to back-to-back Premier League titles.
In this time he completed perhaps his most impressive feat – breaking the Guinness World Record for longest football drop-kick at 75.35m. He followed all this up with a breakthrough for the national team, and during the course of 2019 made six appearances for Brazil, seriously challenging compatriot Alisson Becker as his country’s number one.
Had he continued this rapid rise into the 2019-20 campaign, we could well be talking about Ederson as the best goalkeeper in the world right now. But the Brazilian has been less convincing this term, conceding far more goals per game than in his previous two seasons at City. That, plus the fact a few errors have crept into his game, mean we place this hugely talented footballer at third on our list.
2. Alisson Becker (Liverpool)
Save ratio: 80.4%
Clean sheet ratio: 50.0%
You can just imagine what Alisson Becker was thinking as he watched his Roma side crash out of the Champions League to Liverpool in 2018. If you can’t beat them, join them. That summer the Brazilian made the move to Anfield for £66 million – a world record fee for a goalkeeper – and hasn’t looked back since. Strong, reliable, and highly skilled with his feet, Alisson has established himself as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League… but not quite the world.
The big man began his career at Internacional, where he was originally backup to his older brother Muriel. Consistently excellent form earned him a place in the first XI and a move to Roma, where he went back to being second-choice. Sad times. Fortunately, starting goalkeeper Wojciech Sczcesny moved to Juventus at the end of the 2016-17 season, meaning Alisson became a regular fixture in the side.
His fine form earned him that famous move to Anfield the following year, and the rest writes itself. He earned the Premier League Golden Glove award in his first season, keeping 21 clean sheets in the league as Liverpool amassed an astonishing 98 points, but still finished second to Manchester City. He was instrumental in his new side winning the Champions League that year, notably making a last-gasp save against Napoli to prevent the Merseysiders crashing out of the group stages.
Injuries mean he hasn’t had quite the same impact this time around, but when he’s been in the side, he’s been at his very best. High on his personal highlights would be his spectacular assist to Mohamed Salah in the last-minute of Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United, after which he ran the length of the pitch to celebrate with the Egyptian.
More recently, injury meant the Brazilian could only sit and watch as his teammate and fellow goalkeeper Adrian made a calamitous error in this season’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid. The Reds won’t be able to defend their European crown, but at only 27, we’re sure Alisson will have plenty more chances to win the competition again.
1. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
Save ratio: 73.3%
Clean sheet ratio: 40.7%
Imagine being a living legend but not even the best goalkeeper from Slovenia. Well, that’s what Samir Handanovic has to put up with every day because of the absolute beast that Jan Oblak has become. If you somehow hadn’t heard of him before Atletico Madrid’s Champions League win over Liverpool, you have now.
Tall, strong, quick reflexes, excellent diving ability… it’s as if God sent this man to earth to play in goal. He even seems to have a good work-rate – how is that even possible for a goalkeeper? Like many great figures, Oblak came from humble beginnings. He played for Olimpija Ljubljana before spending four years at Benfica, during which he spent most of his time on loan at various obscure European sides.
Atletico Madrid swooped for him in 2014, however, and that’s where this tale really begins. After a debut season which saw him play just 11 league games, Oblak stormed into the side the following year, not missing a single match in La Liga for the entirety of the 2015-16 season. Having conceded just 18 goals in 38 games, the Slovenian was awarded the Ricardo Zamora award for the division’s best goalkeeper.
In 2018 he kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Marseille to help Atletico win the Europa League and finished 25th in the voting for the Ballon D’Or. At the end of the 2018-19 season he won the Ricardo Zamora award for the fourth consecutive time, equalling Victor Valdes’ record, and became Atletico’s vice-captain the same summer.
Then, eight months on, came his performance against Liverpool. One of the greatest displays of all time? You bet. Oblak made nine saves in the second leg, many of which were absolutely spectacular. It’s a match that has cemented his position as the world’s best goalkeeper… but for how long?
So there you have it, our complete list of the best goalkeepers in the world right now. Wasn’t too hard, was it? If you enjoyed our ranking of the world’s top goalkeepers, make sure to check out betting tips on their teams (and every other team come to that), in our football tips hub.