Hugo Lloris and Manuel Neuer are in, while the old guard is making its way out. No more Van Der Sar. Gianluigi Buffon hasn’t returned to the pre injury days, and might never return. Petr Cech is upgrading in mask, but not in his ability between the posts.
Three Spanish goalkeepers – Victor Valdes, Pepe Reina and Iker Casillas, join Lloris and Neuer to make our first best-by-position in the world of soccer for 2012, the top 5 goalkeepers in the world.
Number 5 – Victor Valdes, Barcelona & Spain
It’s always a tough decision with Valdes. He did make that mistake against Real Madrid in the Clasico last month, but it seems like it’s been years since his last big mess up and even the best are allowed to mess up. Playing for Barcelona, you’re judged differently. You don’t get tested as often as other keepers, which would make it harder to keep your concentration up. Another problem is the Spain jersey, which will never be his as long as Iker Casillas is around.
Number 4 – Pepe Reina, Liverpool & Spain
The Premier League’s only three time winner of the Golden Glove award, given to the keeper who has kept the most clean sheets during a season. Jose Manuel Reina has been in the Premier League since 2005 and in 239 matches, has kept 115 clean sheets. Last season was a bit problematic for Reina, confidence-wise, but since Dalglish’s arrival the defense looks much better, and Reina’s back to his old form. He’s also probably the best in the world when it comes to distribution of the ball.
Number 3 – Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich & Germany
Bayern always claim the best players in the Bundesliga, and are willing to pay a lot of money for them. Neuer became the second most expensive goalkeeper of all time, purchased for €22 million this summer from Schalke. Although he has made a mistake or two, his presence and ability are hard to ignore, both for the club and the national team. Bayern have conceded a league low 11 goals so far this season, and Neuer’s performance against Manchester United for Schalke has to be one of the best in recent Champions League history.
Number 2 – Iker Casillas, Real Madrid & Spain
He’s been around for so long it’s easy to forget he turned 30 only six months ago. Casillas did have a drop in his ability during 2010-2011 but so far this season, he’s back to the form which made his the best keeper in the world in recent years. He was never one of those who command the box with ease, but his shot stopping prowess is still the best in the world. He recently became Spain’s most capped player, currently with 127 caps.
Number 1 – Hugo Lloris, Lyon & France
At 25, Lloris is well established as France’s number one keeper and in our opinion, the world. His Champions League ability, even when under a barrage of shots when visiting the likes of Real Madrid, is usually of the highest standard. His leadership and shot stopping abilities have made him the French Captain since November 2010. He has won the Ligue 1 keeper of the year award twice, and has so far avoided the courtships of the rich and powerful clubs of Europe. For how long? Lloris has yet to win a league title with Lyon, arriving just as the streak ended.