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Football's 20 greatest goalkeepers of all time

Modified 25 Sep 2019

Here’s the list of the 20 greatest goalkeepers of all time.

20) Edwin van der Sar

Schalke 04 v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Semi Final

Clubs: Ajax, Juventus, Fulham, Manchester United

Country: Netherlands

The Dutchman is considered to be one of the great goalkeepers of the 1990s and 2000s. He was instrumental in the emergence of a very fine Ajax team in the mid-nineties that went on to win the UEFA Champions League in 1995, beating a strong AC Milan team in the final, a Rossoneri side which consisted a majority of players who were responsible for the demolition of the Dream Team of Johan Cryuff’s Barcelona in the previous European Cup final.

After an uneventful spell in Italy with Juventus and a stint at Craven Cottage with Fulham, the 6’5″ goalkeeper made a move to Manchester United in the summer of 2005. During his time in Manchester, Van der Sar was a key component of the Red Devils team that won four Premier League titles and one Champions League crown. The Voorhout-born stopper was even named the man of the match in the Champions League final in 2008.

He was a highly consistent player with the Netherlands national team as well, retiring as the most capped Dutch footballer ever.

19) Rinat Dasayev


BT Sport, Football, pic: 1989, Rinat Dasaev, U,S,S,R, goalkeeper

Clubs: Volgar Astrakhan, Spartak Moscow, Sevilla

Country: USSR

It is often said that Rinat Dasayev was the equivalent of Diego Maradona in goal in the 1980s. A couple of Brits might have something to say about that, though.

Nicknamed The Iron Curtain, one of his biggest strengths was his command in the penalty box. Never afraid of putting his neck on the line, he would rise above the attacking players to latch on to the ball.

Another great strength of Dasayev was his magnificent distribution of the ball. His distributions would often lead to fine counter-attacking moves, which would leave the opposition bewildered.

18) Gilmar

Dos Santos Dives

Clubs: Corinthians, Santos

Country: Brazil

The great Santos team in the 1960s received an abundance of plaudits, and rightly so, for their tremendous success on the pitch. Most of the plaudits though seem to go to their attacking players, such as Pele and Pepe.

But every great team needs a backbone and that is exactly what Gilmar provided to the Os Santasticos. Gilmar enjoyed ample success with the Brazilian national team as well, starting in goal for La Selecao in both the 1958 and 1962 World Cups.

To date, he happens to be the only goalkeeper to have played in and won two successive World Cup finals.

17) Neville Southall

Sport. Football. pic: 9th April 1995. FA. Cup Semi-Final. Tottenham Hotspur 1 v Everton 4. Neville Southall, Everton goalkeeper 1981-1998, who also won 92 Wales international caps between 1982-1998.

Clubs: Bury, Everton, Port Vale, Southend United, Stoke City, Doncaster Rovers, Torquay United, Bradford City

Country: Wales


Everton enjoyed a glorious period in the 1980s and Neville Southall was the cornerstone of the club’s success. Southall’s greatest strength was undoubtedly his shot-stopping ability. He was very quick on his feet and developed newer skills by reading books and adding even the most minor details in his training sessions.

The Welsh international was tremendously unlucky to win just one piece of silverware in Europe because of the ban of English clubs from European Football after the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985. It came as no surprise that Everton named him their greatest goalkeeper ever during the club’s 125th-anniversary celebration in 2003/04.

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Published 22 Jul 2013, 06:02 IST
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