Top 10: Goalkeepers of the 21st Century
Iker Casillas, Gianluigi Buffon and Edwin van der Sar feature in this list of best goalkeepers since 2000
From the turn of the century, we've seen some spectacular goalkeeping from exceptional players. They have produced saves that don't look physically possible to reach, and can react incredibly to block a shot.
Here's a look at some of the best keepers since 2000:
10. Tim Howard
Undoubtedly a surprise to many on making the list, but Howard, despite not being able to establish himself fully at Manchester United, has been incredibly consistent for Everton since moving there on loan in the 2006/07 season, promptly signing permanently in February 2007. An astonishing 210 consecutive Premier League games in a row for the Toffees is testament to the American's ability - and he even has a goal to his name.
9. Brad Friedel
Similar to his compatriot Tim Howard, Friedel has been one of the first names on the team-sheet each week at almost every club he's been at. 310 consecutive Premiership matches shows his class, performing outstandingly for Blackburn, Aston Villa and currently Tottenham. Despite the competition provided by talented Frenchman Hugo Lloris, and being 41-years-old, he has still managed to get an even balance of appearances.
8. Pepe Reina
An ever-present in the Liverpool side for the majority of his time on Merseyside, Reina has produced many displays of high quality for his club. Despite the odd mistake, he can be relied on to make fantastic saves and keep out opposition strikers. His distributional play is marvellous, too, equally accurate with long-range kicking and throwing. A total of 234 clean sheets in 573 matches for the Reds is extremely respectable.
7. Victor Valdes
A graduate of the Barcelona academy, Valdes has never looked back since making the step up to the first team. A hugely reliable figure at the Nou Camp, he is prone to the odd mistake, but is genuinely regarded as a safe protector of the Barca goal. The Spaniard has won the Zamora trophy (lowest goals-to-game ratio) a record five times, and the last four consecutively.
6. Joe Hart
Since returning to Manchester City after being loaned out to Birmingham for one season in which he was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, Hart has inherited both the number one spot for club and country, and is recognised as possibly the best young keeper in the world. Winner of the Barclays Golden Glove for the past two seasons, he is rarely replaced between the sticks for City or England.
5. Julio Cesar
The Brazilian has been one of the best in his trade for the last 5-6 years now, and his best season was arguably the 2009/10 campaign, where he was named Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year for the second time in succession, and also UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year, through his instrumental displays that led Inter to Champions League glory.
4. Edwin van der Sar
A career spent at the top with teams like Juventus, Ajax and Manchester United, the Dutchman has won it all at club level. Van der Sar has the Best European Goalkeeper award to his impressive honours list, which he received in both 1995 and 2009, along with the UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the year too. On top of this, he's appeared for Holland more than any other player with 130 caps, and is also the oldest player to ever win the Premier League at 40 years and 105 days old. Whilst at United, in the 2008/09 season he set the world clean sheet record after not conceding a goal for 1,311 minutes.
3. Petr Cech
A £7m signing for Chelsea back in 2004, Roman Abramovich has certainly got his money's worth. 139 clean sheets in the league is incredible, and he has been a vital part of a Blues side that have won three Premier League titles, a Champions League and four FA Cups to name a few of his club successes. The Czech international has also received a huge array of individual awards and despite suffering a serious head injury in the 2006/07 season, he is still brave when battling for the ball.
2. Gianluigi Buffon
In 2001, Buffon became the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, signing for Juventus from Parma for a mammoth €55m. Since then, Gigi has not failed to live up to the price tag, becoming a hugely respected player within the sport. One of the stars in the infamous Calciopoli scandal, Buffon remained loyal to the Old Lady, sticking with them in the second string of Italian football. He was also an integral part of the 2006 World Cup winning Italy side, and has since become captain for both club and country. Renowned for his dominance in one-on-one situations, he is sought as one of the best keepers of all time, being named in Pele's list of the 125 greatest footballers ever.
1. Iker Casillas
What more can be said about Iker Casillas that hasn't already been said? The first-choice Real Madrid goalie since way back in the 1999/00 season, and Spain's number one since the age of 21. He is captain of both Madrid and Spain, and is also the highest capped player in the national team's history, with 143 matches to date. His incredible reflexes and natural shot-stopping ability makes him invaluable to both his teams, and he's a huge icon in his country, captaining them to the 2008 European Championship title where he was voted the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament, the 2010 World Cup, and the 2012 Euros, too. An ideal role model, he will no doubt go down in the history books as one of the true greats of the game.
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