With the footballing world becoming more fast-paced and striker-centric with each passing season, goalkeepers are often served with the short end of the stick. The men between the sticks often determine the fortunes of a team's season and are usually involved in the most critical moments of every game.
Europe's high-profile teams have historically relied on exceptionally talented goalkeepers to take their club's fortunes to impressive levels. The likes of Dino Zoff and Lev Yashin have become emblems of the beautiful game and their legendary feats have been etched into footballing folklore.
Teams in the UEFA Champions League have invested heavily in world-class goalkeepers in recent years and their decisions have paid regular dividends on both European and domestic fronts. The likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona have signed brilliant shot-stoppers over the past decades and have maintained the clout over the modern game as a result.
Goalkeepers have already produced several decisive moments this season and will likely play pivotal roles in their team's fortunes in the next few months. Here is a list of five goalkeepers who have made the world take note with their stunning exploits this season.
Barcelona's well-documented defensive problems have plagued what has been a crucial transitional year under Ronald Koeman. The Catalan giants have shown glimpses of solidity in their own half but have been let down by individual errors and a distinct lack of discipline on several occasions this season.
Despite the infamous deficiency of composure in their defensive ranks, Barcelona have conceded only 24 goals in their 30 league games so far. Marc-Andre ter Stegen might not be his best self this season but deserves immense credit for bailing the Catalans out of difficult phases at critical junctures in their La Liga campaign.
The Blaugrana remain in the hunt for the league title this season and Ter Stegen remains one of the club's most valuable players alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong. Barcelona are in dire need of a source of inspiration at the moment and their German wall is perfectly capable of stepping up for his side.
Inter Milan have taken the Serie A by storm this season and are set to demolish Juventus' stranglehold on the league title in the coming months. In the midst of Romelu Lukaku's goalscoring exploits and Antonio Conte's tactical machinations, however, Samir Handanovic's reliable performances seem to have slipped under the radar.
Handanovic has been a loyal servant of Inter Milan for nearly a decade and has been a critical piece of the Nerazzurri puzzle this season. The Slovenian veteran is the ideal foil for Inter Milan's back-three and his presence adds an aura of solidity to Antonio Conte's side.
Inter Milan have an impressive 11-point lead at the top of the Serie A standings and are the favourites to win the Scudetto this season. With Samir Handanovic in their ranks, the Nerazzurri can remain safe in the knowledge that their defensive record will remain impressive for the remainder of the season.