Ladies and Gentlemen...the Greatest Ever series is back!
This is the 20th installment of the series where I look at the greatest talents to grace various sports. This time I look at football, and the top ten goalkeepers of all time! Enjoy!
10. Bert Trautmann (GER)
Throughout his career, Trautmann didn't just have to compete with opposition strikers, but with endless taunts from the terraces due to his being in the German army during the Second World War. After the war he settled in England and began playing football.
It says something for the quality of his performances that he eventually became accepted and even idolised by some fans, particularly those of Manchester City, where he became a legend.
The strongest sign of his acceptance came in 1956 when he was named FWA Footballer of the Year. Not long afterwards he helped City to win the FA Cup, playing the last 15 minutes of the final with a broken neck a remarkable feat of bravery made all the more impressive by the fact that he made some important saves in that time.
9. Pat Jennings (NIR)
One of very few players to have played for, and maintained the respect from both Arsenal and Tottenham fans, Pat Jennings played over 1,000 top level games in his 22-year career, and is Northern Ireland's highest capped player with 119 appearances.
Jennings is also a two-time FA Cup winner, a two-time League Cup winner and won a UEFA Cup in 1972 while playing for Tottenham. On an individual level, he was named the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1973, and the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1976.
8. Gianluigi Buffon (ITA)
By the time his career is over he could well be in the top five, but for now Buffon has to settle for eighth. After impressing at Parma he moved to Juventus, where he showed exceptional loyalty in staying with the club when they were demoted to Serie B.
During his club career he has won the UEFA Cup, the Italian Cup, and two Serie A titles. His greatest achievements, however, have come at international level where he currently has 90 caps and is a World Cup winner.
Individually, Buffon has been named as the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year seven times, and the IFFHS Best Goalkeeper four times, more than any other 'keeper.
7. Peter Shilton (ENG)
As a Leicester youngster not yet proved at the highest level, he forced then England No.1 and World Cup winner Gordon Banks out of the club by threatening to leave if he didn't get game time. Such was his potential that the club agreed.
Shilton went on to enjoy a 31-year career, playing 1005 league games, and 1237 games overall, more than any other player. He was 47 when he hung up his boots. He also played a record 125 times for England, despite competition from the likes of Banks and Ray Clemence throughout his career.
Shilton was part of Brian Clough's all-conquering Nottingham Forest side, and won one League title, a League Cup and two European Cups. Individually, he was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1978.
6. Oliver Kahn (GER)
Oliver Kahn is one of the most decorated German players of all-time, and it's no coincidence that wherever he went, he won trophies and accolades. While at Bayern Munich, Kahn won eight Bundesliga titles, six German Cups, six League Cups, a UEFA Cup, and a Champions League.
The story of success continued with the national team. His 86 caps included being part of the team that won Euro '96. Individually, he has been named German Footballer of the Year twice, IFFHS Best Goalkeeper three times, and Best Bundesliga Goalkeeper seven times.
5. Dino Zoff (ITA)
Zoff is the oldest player to have ever won a World Cup, having done so at 40 years old, while still captain of the Italian team. He once went 1142 minutes without conceding in international tournaments, a record which stands to this day.
His 112 Italy caps is the third highest of all-time and includes the success in the European Championships of 1968, in addition to the 1982 World Cup mentioned earlier. At club level he won six Serie A titles, two Italian Cups and one UEFA Cup.
Zoff was named as the third greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century in a poll done by IFFHS and, in 2003 was named as the best Italian player of the last 50 years.
4. Sepp Maier (GER)
The third German 'keeper on this list, Maier was a one club man who played alongside the likes of Franz Beckenbauer for years on end. As a key member of this golden age for both Germany and Bayern Munich, Maier became one of the most decorated players of his era.
He won the Bundesliga and the German Cup four times each as well as a Cup Winners' Cup, and three consecutive European Cups. At international level, his 95 caps included both a European Championships winners medal (1972), and a World Cup winners medal (1974).
He also won the West German Footballer of the Year award three times. Much of his success was due to his consistency and good health. Between 1966 and 1977 he played 422 matches in a row. That's 11 years without missing a game.
3. Gordon Banks (ENG)
Banks will be forever remembered for that save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup. Although his career wasn't exactly laden with trophies, his quality was recognised as the best in the world during his career.
Banks holds the unique distinction of being the only English goalkeeper to ever win a World Cup. His career was brought to a premature end when he lost the sight from his right eye following a car crash. He tried to continue but was never the same player again.
He finished his career having played 73 times for his country and was named as the second best 'keeper of the 20th century in the IFFHS poll.
2. Peter Schmeichel (DEN)
The imposing figure of Peter Schmeichel between the sticks was a key reason for Manchester United's dominance throughout the 90s. Before then, however, he was a success at Brondby, helping them to four league titles and a Danish Cup.
He came to international acclaim throughout the European Championships of 1992 as his performances helped Denmark to surprise everyone by winning the tournament. With United, Schmeichel won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups, a League Cup, and a Champions League title.
The Great Dane's last match for the club was the 1999 Champions League final, which they won, completing an unprecedented treble. Another league title in Portugal soon followed. Individually, he was twice named as the World's Best Goalkeeper by IFFHS.
1. Lev Yashin (USSR)
Nicknamed the "Black Spider" because it seemed like he had eight arms to save everything, Lev Yashin was a fiercely passionate goalkeeper with amazing reflexes and jaw-dropping athleticism.
He was a one club man, playing only for Dynamo Moscow. During his career, which also included 74 caps for USSR, Yashin saved over 150 penalties and kept almost 500 clean sheets, a remarkable record for someone who played 812 career games.
He was part of the European Championships winning team of 1960, four years after helping USSR to Olympic gold. Yashin, a three time winner of USSR's Best Goalkeeper award, remains the only goalkeeper to have been named the European Footballer of the Year, an award he picked up in 1963.
In 2000, he was named as the greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century in a poll conducted by IFFHS. I'm going one better, and naming him the greatest goalkeeper of all time.
Other articles from this series include:
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