Goalkeepers are an integral part of football teams all around the world.
So, who are the very best stoppers in the world just at the moment?
7) Roman Weidenfeller
Having joined Borussia Dortmund in 2002 on a free transfer, the 33-year-old has put in a string of stellar performances in 2013 and was instrumental in BVB's run to the final of the Champions League.
6) Iker Casillas
It has not been a great year for the legendary Spaniard. He was dropped by Jose Mourinho and he does not appear to be in favour with new manager Carlo Ancelotti either. Casillas has not featured in the league this season. Nonetheless, having played in the Champions League, Casillas has shown glimpses that he is still the real deal.
5) Diego Lopez
The fact that this man has kept fans' favourite Casillas out of the team highlights his exceptional form this year. Having initially been brought in to cover for Casillas while he suffered from a wrist injury, the 32-year-old has impressed enough to cement his place on the team sheet after a string of impressive saves.
4) David De Gea
The young Spaniard was brought to Old Trafford in 2011 after the Red Devils missed out on Manuel Neuer. Despite his undoubted shot-stopping ability, De Gea struggled during his first season in England, seemingly unable to deal with corners and crosses.
This subsequently led to severe criticism from the media and rotation with Anders Lindegaard. However, after Christmas 2012, the 23-year-old matured and was no longer producing errors.
Now that he has matured physically, De Gea has to be regarded as one of the best, especially considering his shot-stopping ability, which is considered by many as the best in the world. With age on his side, the sky is the limit.
3) Manuel Neuer
The German was sensational during his time at Schalke and he has improved since his move to Bayern Munich. The imposing 27-year-old has had a fantastic season, helping Bayern to a historic treble. The fact that he is the only goalkeeper on the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or reflects this.
2) Hugo Lloris
The Frenchman has been incredibly consistent since moving to Tottenham Hotspur. Having been employed as a sweeper keeper, Lloris has performed exceptionally and is widely considered the best goalkeeper in the Premier League.
1) Thibaut Courtois
Arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. The 21-year-old Belgian has been a lynchpin for Atletico Madrid and was absolutely fundamental to their campaign both last season and this season so far. By far the youngest on this list, Courtois has enormous potential and will be cherished by Chelsea fans when returns from his loan.
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