Ranking the Busiest Goalkeepers from Europe's Top 5 Leagues
Goalkeeping can be a thankless job.
Sure, a shot-stopper will be hailed as a hero upon making a spectacular save to deny an almost-certain goal against, but it’s the sort of recognition that doesn’t last all that long—typically until his next inevitable concession.
Then there’s the blame. It’s assigned to 'keepers more often than not, even when their defense leaves them hanging out to dry.
That’s what we’re concerned with in this slideshow—thanklessness. And unheralded busyness.
Following are the 20 goalkeepers from Europe’s top five leagues who have made the most saves so far this season.
(Statistics courtesy Squawka)
20. Kiko Casilla, Espanyol: 84
It’s hard to say where Espanyol would be without Kiko Casilla.
They almost certainly wouldn’t be in the top half of La Liga, and the 27-year-old’s stellar play this season already has him linked with a return to Real Madrid, although he’s denied any interest on his part, as per Goal.
But no doubt more than a handful of clubs will be looking to pry him away from the Barcelona side during the summer.
19. Miguel Angel Moya, Getafe: 84
As an underage international for Spain, Miguel Angel Moya won UEFA U-16 and U-19 titles, but at 30 years of age he has yet to turn that experience into a senior cap for La Roja.
Still, he’s been an important contributor to Getafe since arriving at the Madrid outfit in 2011, and he’ll surely be vital to their chances of avoiding relegation over the next few weeks.
18. Diego Marino, Real Valladolid: 84
Diego Marino has winner’s medals from the 2011 and 2013 UEFA European U-21 Championships, and at 23 he’s among a strong group of up-and-coming Spanish goalkeepers.
He came through at Villarreal, but it’s been at Real Valladolid that he’s left his mark, although like Miguel Angel Moya he has a relegation fight on his hands this spring.
17. Andrea Consigli, Atalanta: 85
Atalanta are once again exceeding expectations in Serie A—something for which goalkeeper Andrea Consigli deserves considerable credit.
But for a pair of loan deals, the 27-year-old has spent his entire career with La Dea, and in 2008 he represented Italy at the Beijing Olympics.
16. Yoel Rodriguez, Celta Vigo: 86
Luis Enrique’s exciting Celta Vigo side is backstopped by Yoel Rodriguez—an academy product.
The 25-year-old has made 86 saves this season and helped Os Celestes rise to 13th in La Liga with four matches remaining.
15. Kossi Agassa, Reims: 86
Nicknamed “Magic Hands,” Kossi Agassa is a Togolese football legend and backstopped the African side at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
This season he’s made 86 saves for Ligue 1 side Reims, who are presently a surprising eighth in the French top flight.
14. Tim Howard, Everton: 88
It’s hard to believe that Tim Howard is already 35 years old.
The former New York Red Bulls and Manchester United goalkeeper is currently the star shot-stopper at Everton, who still have a shot at Champions League football ahead of next season.
Howard will also be backstopping the United States at the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
13. Claudio Bravo, Real Sociedad: 91
Also headed to Brazil is Claudio Bravo, who will be representing dark-horse outfit Chile.
The former Colo-Colo No. 1 is among the best goalkeepers in La Liga these days and last season helped take Real Sociedad into the Champions League.
The Basque outfit are presently sixth in La Liga despite selling Asier Illarramendi to Real Madrid last summer.
12. Vito Mannone, Sunderland: 94
If Sunderland are relegated, it won’t have been for lack of effort on the part of Vito Mannone.
The 26-year-old arrived at the Stadium of Light from Arsenal last summer and has been one of the busier goalkeepers in the Premier League so far this season.
The Black Cats are dead last in the English top flight with four matches remaining.
11. Francesco Bardi, Livorno: 95
Should Livorno avoid relegation this spring they’ll have Francesco Bardi to thank.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper, on loan from Inter Milan, has been heroic at times for the Amaranto, but with four matches remaining the Serie A side need three points to emerge from the drop zone.
10. Benoit Costil, Rennes: 96
It’s been a difficult season at Rennes, who were placed in the care of new manager Philippe Montanier last May.
But one of the constants at the Ligue 1 outfit, who are renowned for developing players, has been Benoit Costil—the 26-year-old who has made 96 saves so far this term.
9. Roberto, Granada: 102
Veteran goalkeeper Roberto spent most of his career at Sporting Gijon, but these days the 35-year-old is helping diminutive Granada exceed expectations in La Liga.
Already this season he’s made 102 saves, and his side are presently 14th in the Spanish top flight.
8. Guillermo Ochoa, Ajaccio: 103
No goalkeeper in France has made as many saves as Guillermo Ochoa.
The Mexico international and 2009 Gold Cup winner has stood resolutely behind a porous defense at Ajaccio this season, and with the side already relegated he’ll likely be off in the summer.
7. Rafael, Hellas Verona: 104
Promoted Hellas Verona have been one of the stories of the season in Serie A, and the club’s success will have no doubt come as the source of considerable satisfaction to captain Rafael.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper has been with the Gialloblu since a move from Brazil in 2007, and his 104 saves have helped the club rise to ninth in the table with four rounds remaining.
6. Raphael Schaefer, Nurnberg: 104
Raphael Schaefer used a DfB Pokal win with Nurnberg in 2007 to launch a move to Stuttgart, but after only a single season at his new club he returned to Der Altmeister the following spring.
Now, at 35, he has been one of the busiest goalkeepers in the Bundesliga, and he’ll have to raise his game even further if Nurnberg, presently 17th, are to avoid relegation this season.
5. Oliver Baumann, Freiburg: 109
Freiburg have recently put a bit of distance between themselves and the relegation places in the Bundesliga, and the play of goalkeeper Oliver Baumann has contributed to their recent results.
The 23-year-old has struggled at times this season, but the former underage Germany international has played some of his best football of the season in recent weeks as Freiburg have risen to 13th in the German top flight.
4. Willy Caballero, Malaga: 107
Through the ownership chaos, player sales and European suspensions that have hampered Malaga in recent seasons, goalkeeper Willy Caballero has been a rare pillar of reliability.
At 32 years of age, the late bloomer has developed a reputation as one of the better goalkeepers in La Liga, although he has yet to translate that success into a senior cap for Argentina.
Malaga are presently 10th in the Spanish top flight with four rounds to play.
3. Keylor Navas, Levante: 120
Keylor Navas isn’t a household name. Not yet, anyway.
This season the Levante goalkeeper has been nothing short of heroic—helping the Valencia-based club to 11th place in La Liga with four matches remaining.
He’ll get further attention at the World Cup in less than two months' time, when he’ll backstop Costa Rica against Uruguay, Italy and England.
2. David Marshall, Cardiff, 120
Cardiff City’s David Marshall has made the most saves of any goalkeeper in the Premier League this season.
His 120 stops have helped keep the relegation-threatened club within sight of safety, although he’ll likely have to make a trio of heroic performances against Sunderland, Newcastle and Chelsea if the Welsh side are to play top-flight football for a second consecutive season.
At present the Bluebirds are 18th in the table—two points (and considerable goal difference) adrift of Norwich.
1. Esteban, Almeria: 126
If it’s a miracle that Almeria are yet to be relegated, that miracle’s name is Esteban.
The 38-year-old goalkeeper has kept the Andalusian side’s head above water this season, and despite their struggles the Juegos Mediterraneos outfit are just two points from safety in La Liga.
No goalkeeper in Europe’s top five leagues has made as many saves as Esteban this season.