In this day and age, goalkeepers are expected to do so much more than just save shots. In the last 25 years or so, football, as we know it, has changed. It has become more demanding and goalkeepers are expected to add other skills to their repertoire to emerge as matchwinners.
Most importantly, coaching has evolved over the years, so managers expect their goalkeepers to be involved in the build-up play or start things up from the back. There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to ranking the best goalkeepers in world football at the moment, so this is a really interesting debate.
Physicality is important for the role, but you don't necessarily have to be 6'6 to be a top goalkeeper. If you're in the right environment to flourish, all these factors will take a back seat. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, for example, can be the best goalkeeper at the level he's at right now. If the Indian national team can compete at the highest level, it will allow Gurpreet the opportunity to face the best attackers in the world and take his game to another level.
There are so many top goalkeepers in the world and there could well be impressive players from the leagues I don't follow, but these are the names I've gone for after analyzing all the factors involved.
#5 Alisson Becker | Liverpool, Brazil
I wanted to pick Jordan Pickford on the back of his performances for England at Euro 2020, as he did just as much as Gianluigi Donnarumma, if not more. He didn't win the tournament, but he conceded just one, which was in the semifinal against Denmark. However, it's important to remember that a major tournament is just four good weeks of football, which is why I've gone for Alisson Becker.
It was a very up-and-down season for him at Liverpool due to a string of injuries and a few external factors involving his personal life, but he's a top, top goalkeeper. It took him until the end of last season to get back into the form Liverpool fans expected of him, but that has no influence on what he's done for club and country in the past few years.
The goal he scored against West Bromwich Albion turned out to be absolutely priceless in Liverpool's pursuit of a UEFA Champions League spot - it was the icing on the cake. Alisson is a great character and has developed a reputation of exhibiting calmness in pressure situations, he showed great courage to put aside what happened to him earlier this season to deliver a string of impressive performances for Liverpool.
I rate Thibaut Courtois very highly, but he's never been my top goalkeeper at any point over the years. Keylor Navas is another brilliant goalkeeper and everyone knows how highly I rate him. His dexterity is superb and he's enjoyed remarkable success with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, but for me, he's not at the level of Alisson.
I also really wanted to give Gianluigi Buffon a shout as well, but there are so many top goalkeepers in the world, so I just couldn't put him in my top five.
#4 Jan Oblak | Atletico Madrid, Slovenia
Jan Oblak has been regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in world football for several years now and it's not hard to see why. He finally got his hands on the La Liga title and did so by conceding just 25 goals in the league last season, which is considerably fewer than any other side in the competition.
It was an interesting season for Atletico Madrid in the sense that they led the way for so long, but they had to scramble over the finish line at the end of the season. They've been lauded for their defensive solidity under Diego Simeone over the years and Oblak has been a huge reason behind their success.
Last season, Atleti won games 1-0 and 2-0, so it might look like Oblak didn't have much to do as the goalkeeper playing in front of a resolute backline, but that wasn't the case. He made a series of crucial interventions between the sticks and spearheaded his side to the title ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid, which is quite the achievement.
It wouldn't be too far if I said that his contributions and clean sheets played a big part in their title triumph, so he is definitely up there with the best goalkeepers on the planet. It will be interesting to see what kind of a season he has with Atletico Madrid, as Barcelona and Real Madrid will look to strike back after failing to hit their stride in the 2020-21 campaign.