Ranking the 10 Best Goalkeepers in World Football This Season
The goalkeeper position is one of the most valuable positions on the football pitch.
To be a standout goalkeeper in world football, you must have exemplary skills between the pipes and have a strong defense in front of you.
While there are many strong keepers in the world, only 10 of them were able to find their way onto this exclusive list.
Continue reading to find out which keepers found their way into the top 10 players at the position this season.
10. Brad Guzan, Aston Villa
No keeper in a relegation battle has stepped up more for his club this season than Aston Villa's Brad Guzan has.
Guzan supplanted veteran Irishman Shay Given in the role as the top keeper at Villa Park at the beginning of the season and he has proven his worth during the duration of the season.
If Guzan had not been in net this season for Villa, surely we would have seen Villa drop to the Championship by this time already.
Guzan's strong season in net for the Villains also helped him earn a spot in the United States starting 11 against Costa Rica and Mexico during CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying in March.
9. Stephane Ruffier, Saint Etienne
With all the attention in France being on the star-studded Paris St-Germain squad, not much attention has been paid to Saint Etienne and their keeper Stephane Ruffier.
In 36 matches in all competitions, the 26-year-old Frenchman has recorded 17 clean sheets and conceded just 25 goals.
Ruffier has been one of the main reasons why Les Verts are sitting in fifth place in the Ligue 1 table at the moment, which has them in contention for a spot in Europe next season.
8. Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City
While the Major League Soccer season does run concurrently with the European schedule, that does not mean we should ignore the American top flight.
The stingiest defense in MLS at the end of the 2012 season and the start of the 2013 season has been led by Danish keeper Jimmy Nielsen of Sporting Kansas City.
Up until last Saturday's match with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Nielsen had a 545-minute scoreless streak across six matches.
Nielsen was also named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year at the end of the 2012 season this fall and he was named to the 2012 MLS All-Star team that defeated Chelsea in July.
7. Artur Moraes, Benfica
It has been a two-horse race on top of the Portuguese Liga all season between giants of the game, Benfica and FC Porto.
Both clubs have played spectacular defense all season long, the two have conceded a combined 27 goals in league play, but one keeper has especially stuck out.
Benfica's 32-year-old Brazilian keeper Artur Moraes has recorded 23 clean sheets in domestic and continental play this season.
Moraes' expertise in goal has held clubs like Barcelona, Spartak Moscow, Celtic, Bayer Leverkusen and Bordeaux to zero goals in European play.
6. Thibaut Courtois, Atletico Madrid
For the last two seasons, Atletico Madrid have benefited from Petr Cech's stronghold on the No. 1 keeper position at Chelsea.
With Cech consistently starting at Stamford Bridge, his successor Thibaut Courtois is excelling in Spain with Los Rojiblancos.
With the 20-year-old Belgian between the pipes, Atletico Madrid have conceded just 25 times in La Liga this season.
Courtois has had 19 clean sheets in La Liga play this season, including shutouts in four of his last five matches.
Now the only question surrounding Courtois is when he will rise to the goalkeeping throne at Stamford Bridge.
5. Willy Caballero, Malaga
While Malaga have not conceded fewer goals than Courtois and Atletico Madrid have this season, their wily old keeper Willy Caballero has had a spectacular season.
Caballero was a huge part of Malaga's run into the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, a competition in which the 31-year-old recorded six clean sheets in nine matches.
In La Liga play, Caballero has recorded 12 clean sheets as his club looks to finish in the top four at the end of the season.
4. Morgan De Sanctis, Napoli
They say that goalkeepers, just like wine, get better as they age.
That is just the case this season for Napoli's 36-year-old Italian keeper, Morgan De Sanctis.
After failing to find his own at Sevilla in La Liga, De Sanctis moved to Napoli in 2009 and he has achieved the most in his career during his time in Naples, including his strong 2012-13 season.
De Sanctis and Napoli may have been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League during the round of 32 by Viktoria Plzen but that does not mean they have let that affect them on the domestic scene.
Napoli is in line to finish in second place in Serie A this season and we will see De Sanctis and all of his experience on display in the UEFA Champions League next season.
3. Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus
It is hard to not put Gianliugi Buffon on a list of the top goalkeepers in the world at the moment.
Buffon has been one of the key players at Juventus for over a decade now and he is once again proving his worth for the Old Lady of Italian football this season.
Now 35, Buffon is still in world-class form for the Bianconeri and his 19 clean sheets have shown that he has no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
2. Salvatore Sirigu, Paris St. Germain
One of the main reasons for the success of Paris St. Germain in Ligue 1 this season has been 26-year-old Italian keeper Salvatore Sirigu.
Sirigu has led the Parisians to the top of Ligue 1 and to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
Sirigu has recorded 22 clean sheets in 41 appearances in all competitions, eight of which came in a streak of matches from December 8 to February 1.
1. Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich
No goalkeeper in the world has been in better form this season than Bayern Munich and Germany's No. 1, Manuel Neuer.
Neuer has been the anchor to the Bayern back four that has given up an astonishing 14 goals in 30 Bundesliga matches.
Neuer's blistering hot form has not been limited to the domestic scene as the 27-year-old has so far recorded four clean sheets, three in the knockout stage, in the UEFA Champions League.
With Bayern bringing in Pep Guardiola as manager of the club next season, one can only imagine how much Neuer will continue to thrive in the season leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Which goalkeeper do you believe should be at the top of this list?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.