Goalkeeper of the year: The nominees
Shot-stoppers have a cruel job on their hands. They hardly get as much credit as they deserve and are the first ones to get the stick from the fans and media alike. Yet, we’ve had several goalkeeping heroics to celebrate at the end of this calendar year, with each one of the following nominees shining when it mattered for their sides. As another glittering year of football ends in a few days, we at Sportskeeda take a look at the top goalkeepers of the year:
Make sure you don’t forget to vote for your ‘best goalkeeper of the year’ at the end!
There may never be a better ‘keeper or a leader to have played for the Spanish national side and Real Madrid. For his club and country for almost a decade now, Iker Casillas has been a symbol of reliance and inspiration. Iker had another fascinating year as he helped his club to La Liga glory, snatching away the title from the mighty Catalans. He was equally successful in the Euros for the Spanish side that created history after winning three consecutive major championships in the span of 4 years. It has been intriguing to see how this iconic player in front of the goal could manage so many prolific years in the game and the best thing about him is that there’s been no major dip in his performances over the years to raise any doubts on his stature.
The veteran Italian ‘keeper enjoyed a spectacular year of football for his club and country on the back of some solid performances between the posts. His composure paid dividends as Juventus enjoyed a glorious unbeaten league season and went on to stretch that run to 49 league games. His saves and his experience in organizing the defensive unit were an advantage for his national side, with the Italians ending as the runners-up in Euro 2012.
The German goalkeeper has been an indispensable part of Bayern Munich as well as his national side. His performance in the Champions League campaign last season helped his side reach the finals, where again, the shot-stopper fought valiantly in the penalty shoot-outs, which was a treat to watch for every football fan. Moreover, on a grander stage of European Championships, Neuer again came to the fore, acting as an indefatigable wall for the German side. The extreme confidence he possesses was visible when he of all players in the Munich squad, decided to take a penalty and score in the all important shoot-out of the Champions League final.
Cech embodies that relentless approach that lifted his Chelsea side to the Champions League triumph this year. At the beginning of 2012, there were doubts over his ability to deliver consistent performances for the Blues and Cech made sure that he answered them on the right occasions. He almost single-handedly kept his side in the competition against the likes of Napoli and Barcelona to ensure a spot in the final – a stage where he proved his mettle in front of the world. His penalty save to keep Robben from scoring in the extra-time and then putting up a heroic performance in the shoot-out will be forever etched in the memories of every Chelsea fan.
The English ‘keeper has been ever so reliant for Manchester City and his national side over the past calendar year. Hart was again the best of the Premier League shot stoppers and he’s now a formidable source of inspiration for City. There have been countless number of games where his saves kept his side in contention for the league title. City’s first league title in 44 years was achieved after Hart’s significant contributions over that last couple of seasons.
On loan from Chelsea at Atletico Madrid, Courtois has been learning the tricks of the trade and even making a name for himself in the La Liga. This highly rated academy product from Genk has been deemed as one of the hottest goalkeeping prospects in the game. His shot stopping skill-set along with his much famed reflexes have been on display as the ‘keeper is already having some decent games in the league as well as on the European stage. Courtois, in pure goalkeeping aspects, has been the best ‘keeper in the Spanish league, while his composure was also merited with a Europa League winners’ medal this season. Chelsea should be wary of the interest from other big European clubs in their young talisman as his performances certainly signal that greater things are still to come from this Belgian prodigy.
Now, VOTE for the ‘goalkeeper of the year’ here: