Manuel Neuer vs David de Gea - who is the best in the world?

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Football News

Perhaps this is an impossible question to answer, and it might be true that any answer to this will be entirely subjective, but I believe there are a few current standout contenders, and comparing their strengths and weakness will be interesting, if not revealing of an outright winner.

Not only is current ability important, but also age and potential. And an interesting current trend in goalkeeping is that the old guard of great keepers, who have been around for decades now, seemingly are being overtaken rapidly by a new form of goalkeeper.

Some (Casillas and Valdes are the obvious two) have even lost a once untouchable status and been replaced by the new generation.

This goes against the old trend of keepers improving with age as they gain experience, as the careers of Edwin Van der Sar and Oliver Kahn testify to.

So who are the current contenders?

Manuel Neuer

He is the most obvious choice. He is a world class shot stopper, dominant in the air and excellent at communicating with his defenders. In one on one situations he dominates opponents, a gives off an aura of invincibility at times.

He is also a good distributor of the ball, always keen to start attacks with his throwing and kicking. He is also lightening quick of his line, and loves to play sweeper keeper very aggressively.

This is at times reckless, and one various occasions he has been caught out to his team's detriment, but this is also an asset to his team, which few other keepers do as well or as extensively.

Neuer also this year was one of very few keepers in history to be a finalist for the Ballon d'or, though he did not win it.

David de Gea

After a shaky start at United, he has gone from strength to strength in recent seasons,and is now rightly ranked as one of, if not the, best in the world, as his Player of the Year nomination shows.

He is a shot stopper without compare in the Premier League, with agility and reflexes which are astonishing at times. He also has excellent handling, having not dropped a single catch this season in the Premier League, a statistic no other goalkeeper in the world can boast.

His distribution is also excellent, him being a talented passer of the ball, and his command of his box and defense is also solid.

He is a far less eccentric keeper than Neuer, but in terms of pure goalkeeping ability, is easily his match, and his ability to sweep up play in behind his defenders also is solid, if unspectacular.

Another thing in De Gea's favor is that, unlike most players on this list, he has played the last two years in front of a shaky and ever-changing back line, and still showed his quality, and I doubt any other keepers on this list have single handedly won as many points for their team as de Gea has.

Thibaut Courtois

Another young keeper, who has enjoyed an excellent season at Chelsea, after plying his trade on loan at Atleti for two season. He shows maturity beyond his tender years, and is perhaps the best in the world at commanding his box aerially.

It is astonishing how many balls he will pluck out of the air from set pieces, and he rarely drops them, even when under pressure. He also is an excellent, if unspectacular shot stopper, and his size and frame make him an imposing presence in one on one situation.

Though he has been prone to the occasional error this season, this should not be overstated and his displacement of the perennially outstanding Petr Cech is testament to his ability as a goalkeeper.

Though I must say that him playing behind one of the meanest defences in world football must be taken into account, this shouldn't detract from his excellence as a goalkeeper. He also is the youngest of the three, which should be considered.

Other admirable mentions would be Joe Hart and Hugo Lloris, though both I think are slightly behind the three just mentioned.

Lloris is slightly questionable in terms of his aerial ability, though he is an excellent shot stopper and distributor, and Hart is slightly too error in his handling and shot stopping to be considered as one of the best in the world.

Old Guard

It also seems to mention some of the great old faces of goalkeeping, both of whom are still plying their trade at the highest levels of world football

Gianluigi Buffon

For almost a decade probably considered the undisputed best in the world, he truly has been a phenomenal goalkeeper, with virtually no weaknesses.

His loyalty to Juve during their time of crisis was admirable, and he is a World Cup winner. However, injuries and age (he's now 37) seemingly are catching up with him and he is no longer the undisputed world No.1.

Iker Casillas

Another, like Buffon, who for much of his career was considered the world's best, he has suffered a decline in recent seasons, despite still being considered an outstanding keeper and Real Madrid and Spain legend.

His game is now rather error prone, which is surprising given his abundant experience, and as with Buffon, he can no longer be considered to be the game's very best.


Neuer is the obvious choice for world No.1. He is at the perfect age for a goalkeeper, being 29 meaning he still has the peak of his agility and physique, but also has had a decade of playing top level football under his belt.

Though his sometimes insane moments outside his box are questionable, his sweeping behind the back line is a massive benefit to his team usually, and his goalkeeping abilities are excellent, though perhaps De Gea is a better shot stopper.

Who do you think is the best goalkeeper in the world? Let us know below!

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Joe Hart
Bayern Munich
David De Gea
Manchester United
Thibaut Courtois
Iker Casillas
Manuel Neuer

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