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By Samuel Brady

Sub-edited by Cameron Winstanley and Daniel DeFalco

Often referred to as the loneliest job in football, the goalkeeping position is very demanding and tough to play, arguably the hardest. The last line of defence and the added pressure of being in the one position where you are literally on your own, it’s a job that requires strong mental resilience. In this report we’ll look at ten of the top regarded shot stoppers in the world and ultimately compare the numbers and analysis to determine who really is the best in the world between the sticks. The scoring system will be from 10 points to one point, 10 points for the winner of each section and followed down to one point for the loser. The stats used in this report will be from the 2019/20 seasons. All the stats and numbers used in this report are courtesy of Squawka and Transfermarkt.

The top ten regarded goalkeepers we will be looking at our:

  • Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
  • Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) 
  • Alisson Becker (Liverpool) 
  • Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Barcelona) 
  • Ederson (Manchester City)
  • Samir Handanovic (Inter)
  • Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
  • David De Gea (Manchester United)
  • Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid) 
  • Keylor Navas (PSG)

Save Percentage:

The most important, and first thing managers look for in a No.1 is shot stopping. For this section we will take a look at each of the goalkeeper’s stats from shots faced, shots saved and finally save percentage. The stats to be shown are from each keeper’s domestic league along with Champions League or Europa League (However if a keeper has played in both Champions League and Europa league, we will only count the Champions League, being the higher competition) in order to give the best all rounded numbers possible.

GoalkeeperShots faced (on target)Shots savedSave percentagePoints won
Jan Oblak14511274.3%8
Manuel Neuer14610975.05%10
Alisson Becker987174.04%7
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen15610868.37%2
Ederson1198671.42%4
Samir Handanovic14110270.84%3
Hugo Lloris1259363.71%1
David De Gea13910172.08%6
Thibaut Courtois1279671.85%5
Keylor Navas936975.03%9
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Penalties:

As a keeper it is important to do your homework from the penalty spot, who’s done the most out of our list? Same again, we will look at penalties the keepers have faced in their domestic leagues along with European competition.

GoalkeeperPenalties facedPenalties savedPK save percentagePoints won
Jan Oblak4125%9
Manuel Neuer5120%8
Alisson Becker100%7
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen8225%9
Ederson400%7
Samir Handanovic4125%9
Hugo Lloris5120%8
David De Gea300%7
Thibaut Courtois100%7
Keylor Navas11100%10
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Distribution:

The modern-day keeper needs to be good with his feet. More increasingly we see teams trying to play out from the back and in order to be successful, you need a competent keeper who is more than comfortable on the ball. For this area we will assess each keeper’s chances created, passes completed and pass accuracy. Points will be rewarded for passing accuracy, with an extra 5 points for every chance created.

GoalkeeperChances createdPasses attemptedPasses completedPass accuracy percentagePoints won
Jan Oblak01,04456753.42%1
Manuel Neuer11,6711,44686.65%14
Allison Becker195081287.47%15
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen21,4901,27683.93%18
Ederson11,12394982.28%11
Samir Handanovic21,11995383.66%17
Hugo Lloris055237872.01%3
David De Gea083361670.20%2
Thibaut Courtois01,07281577.80%5
Keylor Navas070055676.89%4
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Clean sheets:

The stat that keepers look at most and want a good record in is clean sheets. For this area we will look at how many clean sheets each keeper made in their domestic league and European competition combined.

GoalkeeperClean sheetsPoints won
Jan Oblak2110
Manuel Neuer2110
Allison Becker145
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen167
Ederson188
Samir Handanovic146
Hugo Lloris64
David De Gea146
Thibaut Courtois209
Keylor Navas167
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Goals conceded:

This area will highlight who is the best, and worse, at conceding goals. As a keeper this is a stat that you will turn your nose up at. No keeper wants to see it. But goals conceded is a key area for us to examine. The goals conceded tally will be judged on both domestic and European competitions and will be compared with how many games each keeper played. Points will be awarded in order from the best percentage to the worst.

GoalkeeperGoals concededGames playedPercentage of goals conceded to gamesPoints won
Jan Oblak364776.6%9
Manuel Neuer394488.64%5
Allison Becker273479.42%8
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen4944112%2
Ederson354381.4%6
Samir Handanovic4141100%3
Hugo Lloris3425136%1
David De Gea384095%4
Thibaut Courtois314175.6%10
Keylor Navas243080%7
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Appearances:

To be considered to be one of the best you need consistency in your game. Consistency will only come with regular appearances. Appearances can be affected by injury but we’re still going to look at how many games each of the keepers play in order to get an idea of how many games they play, and therefor how busy they probably will be. Scoring will be done on minutes played and games played, 10 points from best to worst.

GoalkeeperGames playedMinutes playedPoints won
Jan Oblak474,23620
Manuel Neuer443,96018
Allison Becker342,99510
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen443,96018
Ederson433,74716
Samir Handanovic413,69014
Hugo Lloris252,1686
David De Gea403,60011
Thibaut Courtois413,64513
Keylor Navas302,6898
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The results:

So that’s all the key areas analysed, and the points awarded so it’s time for the results for who really is the best goalkeeper in the world according to the numbers. Here we go!

RankTotal pointsGoalkeeper
10th23Hugo Lloris
9th36David De Gea
8th45Keylor Navas
7th49Thibaut Courtois
Joint 4th52Ederson / Samir Handanovic / Alisson Becker
3rd56Marc-Andre Ter Stegen 
2nd57Jan Oblak
1st65Manuel Neuer 

So there you have it. The saying goes the stats don’t lie and certainly from this report, Manuel Neuer has come out on top between the sticks. From adding up the scores it was by no means a clean-sweep victory for the German. Meanwhile at the other end, Hugo Lloris came last. However this was probably due to his arm injury he sustained last season which did keep him out for a few months. With the new season now under way it will remain to be seen if the keepers in this list can improve and try to challenge for that number one spot.

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