Italian football and great goalkeeping have been synonymous with each other throughout the history of the beautiful game. Italian fans have been treated to netminders like Zoff and Buffon who have brought home World Cup glory.
With a history of producing some of the finest keepers the game has seen, it has seemed like an unending assembly line of talent coming from Italy at the game's most unforgiving position. With Buffon's career fading into the sunset, the question of who would be the one to take the torch for Italy seemingly has more questions than answers. The answer may just be in the form of PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
Sirigu transferred from Palermo to PSG in 2011 for a reported 3.5 million Euros. His arrival was easily overshadowed by the transfers of Javier Pastore, Jeremy Menez and Blaise Matuidi. When Sirigu was signed, many viewed him as being brought in to back up the recently signed Nicolas Douchez who had arrived a month earlier from Rennes.
Sirigu put to rest any doubt as to who was PSG's No.1 with several steller showings to open the season. His first season in Paris opened enough eyes to earn him a spot on Italy's Euro 2012 squad. The inclusion into the Italian squad seems to have given Sirigu's confidence a tremendous boost.
Sirigu has been, in many people's eyes, the top keeper in Ligue 1 this season. He was voted as Ligue 1 player of the month for January.
Sirigu has many attributes that make him a top-level keeper. First is his 6'4" height which he uses well in dealing with crosses and high balls into the box. The length of his frame allows him to reach balls that may have been fingertip at best for many keepers.
Despite his size, Sirigu is tremendously athletic. He is quick to get down on low drives, and powerful in his driving across the goal in diving stops.
Sirigu is very solid positionally, something he has greatly improved upon since his arrival at Palermo. His command of the box has also been improving with experience, as his confidence has continued to grow.
If there is a weakness to his game, it may be in his footwork. There have been occasions where his transition from position to position has not been efficient. Those instances have been very few, and his athleticism has allowed him to make up for those slips.
The progress Sirigu has made is warranting his opportunity to claim the throne from Buffon. If he continues on his current trajectory, Italian fans will be treated to the same high-level goalkeeping the PSG faithful have witnessed this season.