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 are:
- 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)
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.
|Goalkeeper||Shots faced (on target)||Shots saved||Save percentage||Points won|
|Marc-Andre Ter Stegen||156||108||68.37%||2|
|David De Gea||139||101||72.08%||6|
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.
|Goalkeeper||Penalties faced||Penalties saved||PK save percentage||Points won|
|Marc-Andre Ter Stegen||8||2||25%||9|
|David De Gea||3||0||0%||7|
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.
|Goalkeeper||Chances created||Passes attempted||Passes completed||Pass accuracy percentage||Points won|
|Marc-Andre Ter Stegen||2||1,490||1,276||83.93%||18|
|David De Gea||0||833||616||70.20%||2|
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.
|Goalkeeper||Clean sheets||Points won|
|Marc-Andre Ter Stegen||16||7|
|David De Gea||14||6|
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.
|Goalkeeper||Goals conceded||Games played||Percentage of goals conceded to games||Points won|
|Marc-Andre Ter Stegen||49||44||112%||2|
|David De Gea||38||40||95%||4|
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.
|Goalkeeper||Games played||Minutes played||Points won|
|Marc-Andre Ter Stegen||44||3,960||18|
|David De Gea||40||3,600||11|
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!
|9th||36||David De Gea|
|Joint 4th||52||Ederson / Samir Handanovic / Alisson Becker|
|3rd||56||Marc-Andre Ter Stegen|
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.