Probably the most underrated position in football is that of a goalkeeper. They are very rarely given the praise they deserve.
A single mistake from shot-stoppers can prove to be costly, and more often than not results in a goal. Mental strength is required to play in that role, and some of the best leaders in the game are often goalkeepers.
The evolution of football has seen the demands on goalkeepers increase. They are expected to be comfortable on the ball and able to spring attacks with their passing, while also being alert to the threats from the opposition attackers.
Over the years, many goalkeepers have dazzled in Europe and outside. Buffon's heroics for Italy and Casillas leading Spain to a host of international trophies are but a few of the great memories these custodians have etched into the minds of their fans.
On that note, let's rank the five best goalkeepers to have played the beautiful game of football in the last decade.
#5 Gianluigi Buffon
One of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the sport, Gianluigi Buffon was a beacon of consistency for much of the last decade.
Buffon joined Juventus from Parma in 2001 for £47.6 million, making him the most expensive goalkeeper in the world at that time. The Italy international became a firm fan favorite with his performances for the club, and his decision to stay with Juventus despite their relegation in 2006 was received extremely well by the club's fans.
The goalkeeper made 656 appearances in all competitions during his first spell with Juventus. In the last decade, he has won eight Serie A titles with the Old Lady and reached two Champions League finals. He was also the winner of the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year award four times in a row. With Paris Saint-Germain, he won the Ligue 1, and returned to Juventus in 2019. The 43-year old rejoined Parma last month.
His exploits with the national team are legendary as well. His biggest achievement with Italy came when he helped the Azzurri lift the 2006 edition of the FIFA World Cup.
#4 David de Gea
It is hard to imagine where Manchester United would have been in the last decade had it not been for David de Gea's performances in goal.
De Gea was comfortably Manchester United's best player of the last decade and the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. The Spain international was a world-class shotstopper in his prime and often left attackers frustrated with his miraculous saves.
The former Atletico Madrid man has won the Premier League once in the last decade. He was included in the PFA Team of the Year five times, was the recipient of the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award four times and won the Premier League Golden Glove for the 2017/18 season. The 30-year old has struggled in recent seasons but remains one of Manchester United's Premier League greats.
Unfortunately for De Gea, he is no longer the goalkeeper he once was. His drop in form over the last two seasons has been drastic and De Gea is no longer the first choice goalkeeper at Old Trafford.