Ranking 14 famous goalkeeping performances from an outfield player

The whole footballing world smirked when Kyle Walker pulled on a pair of goalkeeping gloves on Wednesday night.

After Ederson was forced off with injury and Claudio Bravo picked up a red card, the full-back was hailed from the bench and required to play 10 minutes against Atalanta as a goalkeeper.

It isn’t the first time that a famous footballer has been forced to do so and it certainly won’t be the last.

So, bearing that in mind, we’ve decided to look at 14 of the most famous examples in recent history and rank the respective outfield players on how they performed between the sticks.

We’ve made our selections based on the profile of either the player or the performance, while the specific rankings have looked at involvement, mistakes, saves and competence.

14. Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur vs Asteras (2014)

With Hugo Lloris dismissed and Spurs all out of substitutes, Kane took his place between the sticks having scored a hat-trick earlier in the game.

But the Englishman is bottom for a reason as he channelled his inner Rob Green to embarrassingly fumble a Jeronimo Barrales free-kick into his own net.

13. Dani Alves – Paris Saint-Germain vs Sochaux (2018)

The Brazilian finds himself above Kane because he didn’t make a mistake, but Alves literally did nothing during his 30-second stint in goal.

12. John Terry – Chelsea vs Reading (2006)

The Chelsea captain pulled on the gloves after both Petr Cech and Carlo Cudiccini were injured and, much like Alves, had very little to do in his unfamiliar position. He at least touched the ball, though.

11. Rio Ferdinand – Manchester United vs Portsmouth (2008)

There were no saves of note from the United man during this FA Cup tie, although he did show competent goalkeeping technique as he came inches away from saving a Sulley Muntari penalty.

10. Kyle Walker – Manchester City vs Atalanta (2019)

Again, there’s not much to report this far down the list, but Walker at least had a save to make.

The right-back made more stops than Ederson and Claudio Bravo in the San Siro by way of unconvincingly thwarting Ruslan Malinovskyi’s free kick.

9. John O’Shea – Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur (2007)

Ah yes, the performance that had Wayne Rooney chuckling on the touchline. O’Shea had some of the worst technique on this list, but he escaped with a clean sheet through pure determination.

O’Shea flapped at a cross and neutralised a counterattack with a slide tackle, yet both worked to absolute perfection.

8. Phil Jagielka – Sheffield United vs Arsenal (2006)

Replacing Paddy Kenny after he injured himself with a goal kick, Jagielka dealt competently with a cross and made a cracking save from Robin van Persie to keep a stacked Arsenal team at bay.


7. Vinnie Jones – Wimbledon vs Newcastle United (1995)

How is a player that conceded three goals so high on the list? Bear with us.

Wimbledon’s 6-1 defeat would have been far worse without Jones who made a brilliant save low to his left, astonishingly tipped a rebound on to the post and almost made a world-class stop against Les Ferdinand.


6. Robbie Savage – Derby County vs Reading (2010)

Again, we’ll disclaim that Savage did concede twice, not that he could have done anything about them, but the Welshman also made some cracking saves.

We’ve selected him this high for an astonishing save from a Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick that was hurtling towards the top corner.


5. Jan Koller – Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich (2002)

Imagine replacing Jens Lehmann against Germany’s biggest club. Well, that’s exactly what Koller did in 2002 and he finds himself in fifth place for showing exemplary technique.

While there wasn’t a picture-book save during his cameo, the handling, positioning and penalty area generalship made Koller look like a genuine ‘keeper.


4. Michael Tarnat – Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt (1999)

Tarnat earns this spot for two reasons: keeping a clean sheet and making a phenomenal save. The latter justification is probably the most impressive save from any outfield player on the list.


3. Mladen Petric – FC Basel vs Nancy (2006)

To gain entry to the top three, you need to save a penalty and that’s more common than you’d think for outfield players getting their first taste of goalkeeping action.

During this Europa League tie, Petric made a cracking stop down to his left hand side – showing impressive technique in the process – and held on to both the ball and the clean sheet.


2. Niall Quinn – Manchester City vs Derby County (1991)

Choosing between Petric and Quinn was incredibly tough, but the former City man gets the nod for producing a marginally better penalty save. 

Admittedly, the Irishman did concede a header later in the game, but we’re still giving him the benefit of the doubt after being forced to play more than 45 minutes between the sticks.


1. Cosmin Moti – Ludogorets vs Steaua Bucharest (2014)

If you know, you know.

There couldn’t have been another number one after centre-back Moti secured Champions League qualification for Ludogorets by saving two penalties in a shootout and scoring one for good measure.

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