Edouard Mendy is on top of the world right now.
Having just recently won The Best FIFA Goalkeeper award for 2021, the Chelsea shot-stopper has lifted even more silverware by helping to inspire Senegal to their maiden Africa Cup of Nations title.
In the penalty shootout that ultimately decided the final against Egypt, Mendy made the save from Mohanad Lasheen that teed up Sadio Mane to score the title-winning spot-kick.
The brilliance of Mendy
Marry that to Mendy’s recent triumph in the Champions League as well as simply being one of the best shot-stoppers in the business and it’s hard to look past the 29-year-old when it comes to goalkeepers in the men’s game.
However, when we zoom out a little and look at the other top stoppers in world football right now, can we honestly say that Mendy is the man to beat?
Well, here at GIVEMESPORT, that’s the exact question that we looked to answer by using our trusty medium of Tiermaker to rank who we consider to be the best 22 goalkeepers in the world at the moment.
Picking the best male goalkeepers
Our selections for the pool of contenders were based on performances across the last few seasons in order to mitigate recency bias, but current form will nevertheless be a key metric when it comes to the rankings within.
Both in the original selections and subsequent order, bear in mind that it’s ultimately a subjective exercise – other opinions are available – and we’d love to hear where you agree and disagree with our picks.
Plus, it’s important to note that when the cohort we’re ranking is ‘the best goalkeepers in the world’ that we’re still saying the shot-stoppers at the bottom are absolutely phenomenal at what they do.
Ranking the world’s best goalkeepers
However, enough with the disclaimers and housekeeping because there’s plenty of ranking, rating and debating to get into – and you can check out our final goalkeeping Tiermaker down below:
Worst of a great bunch
Peter Gulacsi and Kasper Schmeichel
Let’s keep the ‘of a great bunch’ part in mind here because we’re essentially saying that Gulacsi and Schmeichel are the world’s 22nd and 21st male goalkeepers – and that’s not exactly a crushing insult.
Nevertheless, despite shining in last year’s FA Cup and Euro finals, Schmeichel is starting to show signs that he’s declining this season and it could even be argued that Brendan Rodgers should have dropped him.
Meanwhile, maybe it’s just us, but Gulacsi never seems convincing between the sticks on the biggest stage and just five Bundesliga clean sheets in 2021/22 does little to persuade us that he’s the cream of the crop.
Wojciech Szczesny and Emiliano Martinez
Again, this isn’t necessarily the fault of the goalkeepers per se, but their performances simply haven’t matched the hype conjured up around them by fans and are therefore, well, overrated.
Szczesny flits between moments of looking world-class and perilously mistake-prone to the point where we haven’t seen enough consistency from him at Juventus to get drawn into the occasional swells of hype.
Meanwhile, people need to squeeze the brakes on Martinez’s rise to the top a little bit because it’s somewhat flown under the radar that he’s experiencing second-season-syndrome at Aston Villa.
Kudos to the Argentine for his inspiring rise up the ranks in 2020 and 2021, but with statistics showing that he’s conceded 4.8 league goals that he ‘should’ have saved this season, we need to ease up on the hype.
Middle of the road
Rui Patricio, Yann Sommer and Unai Simon
Middle of the road in the context of the world’s best goalkeepers is actually a pretty glamorous label, believe it or not and there is plenty to enjoy about the shot-stopper taking residence here.
Patricio is part of the furniture when it comes to top-level goalkeepers, but lukewarm numbers and 7/10 performances ultimately leave us cold when it comes to talking about him amongst the very, very best.
In the shot-stopping department, Sommer is one of the best in the business, but we’ve not seen enough from his all-round game on a consistent basis to suggest he’s knocking on the ‘world-class’ door.
And while Simon undoubtedly comes closest to climbing his way up the Tiermaker rungs with sound save percentage and goals prevented stats this season, there’s still some way to go before he’s in the world’s top ten.
Keylor Navas, Mike Maignan and Lukas Hradecky
Ok, sure, we’re not saying anything new by declaring that Navas is underrated and you only have to look at the way Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have treated him to get the picture.
But if banging the drum that he deserves more credit as one of the best goalkeepers of the last 10 years will help to change the narrative, then we’ll happily do it until we’re blue in the face.
And how often do you hear about Maignan when the finest goalkeepers in the sport are being discussed? Not often enough, that’s how often, but that will undoubtedly change with time.
As for Hradecky, it’s sad that even his stellar performances at Euro 2020 haven’t opened the world’s eyes to the fact that he’s quietly been one of the world’s most under-appreciated ‘keepers for years at Bayer Leverkusen.
Samir Handanovic, Hugo Lloris, Yassine Bounou, Ederson, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and David de Gea
Should it come as any surprise that a ranking of the world’s best goalkeepers has such a complimentary tier as its busiest? Of course not, because top quality is all around.
Maybe there’s reason to think that Handanovic, Lloris and Ter Stegen are on the way down, but don’t be fooled into believing that they’re no longer amongst the very best just yet because their quality is too-often taken for granted.
As for the superb Bounou, Sevilla’s hero only dodged a place in our ‘underrated’ category because he’s simply too good for that with one of Europe’s best save percentages and nine La Liga clean sheets this season.
Meanwhile, Ederson has shown enough wobbles in recent seasons to persuade us that he doesn’t quite meet our harsh criteria for the coveted ‘world-class’ label, but don’t think for a second that we don’t recognise his brilliance.
The opposite is the case for De Gea, though, because if he continues to play out of his skin for Manchester United – preventing a mind-blowing 9.8 goals this season – then his ticket to world-class status is assured.
Alisson Becker, Jan Oblak, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer
Look, ‘world-class’ is not a label that we dish out easily and any goalkeeper finding themselves in this tier has some sort of claim to being the best goalkeeper in the world.
So, let’s get the obvious shouts out of the way early because we’re not even going to have a conversation about whether or not Alisson, Donnarumma and Courtois are world-class.
And let’s make one thing clear: we’re well aware that Oblak has been hugely disappointing this season, performing woefully with a score of -9.7 for goals prevented in La Liga this season.
However, considering that we would have ranked Oblak as the world’s best goalkeeper ahead of 2021/22, we’re still giving him the benefit of the doubt for now before we strip him of his ‘world-class’ card.
Similarly, Neuer is playing a dangerous game with us because some alarming statistics this season are making us a little concerned that the Bayern Munich legend hero might be on the slide at 35 years old.
But having enjoyed something of a renaissance at the Allianz Arena over the previous two campaigns, Neuer still has enough credit in the bank to retain his ‘world-class’ status for now.
But yes, you knew it was coming, Mr. Mendy does indeed take the crown as the world’s best goalkeeper right now and inspiring Senegal to AFCON glory simply puts the cherry on the top.
Aside from winning the biggest club and international trophies available to him over the last 12 months, Mendy has been downright unstoppable when it comes to his individual performances too.
From save-a-minute masterclasses such as that night in Brentford to generally being one of the most reliable pairs of hands in the men’s game, Mendy really has been a revelation since his Chelsea move.
Is he perfect? Of course not, no goalkeeper is, but with the best league save percentage of any shot-stopper in our world-class category or above this season, Mendy simply had to sneak ahead of the pack.
Who is your pick for the No. 1 number one?
You’re angry with us, aren’t you? It was always going to happen.
Trust us, ranking the world’s best goalkeepers is an incredibly hard task, particularly when you’re balancing recent form with overall ability, so we’re by no means claiming to have the definitive answer here.
Besides, we could only be a few months of performances away from not only the rankings looking significantly different, but perhaps the 22 goalkeepers that made the cut differing wildly too.
Rule number one here is that there’s no number one answer when it comes to the number one number one in the world’s number one sport. You follow?