Soccer has always been one of the most famous sports worldwide. But do you know the greatest and best goalkeepers of all time?
Throughout soccer history, we have seen numerous goalkeepers pulling off impressive saves and contributing to the team’s victory.
In a game, the team heavily relies on the goalkeepers. They have the tremendous responsibility of keeping the ball out of their goalpost and pulling off incredible saves. However, the position is one of the most underrated ones.
When we talk about soccer players, we seldom mention the goalkeepers. Therefore, remembering some of the best goalkeepers in soccer history, we have compiled a list of the best goalkeepers of all time.
Although you might disagree with our list, these goalkeepers are undoubtedly some of the best goalkeepers in soccer history. With that, let us start our list.
13 Best Goalkeeper Of All Time 2024
|13. Edwin Van Der Sar
|12. Petr Cech
|11. Sepp Maier
|10. Peter Shilton
|9. Manuel Neuer
|8. Neville Southall
|7. Dino Zoff
|6. Oliver Kahn
|5. Gordon Banks
|4. Peter Schmeichel
|3. Gianluigi Buffon
|2. Lev Yashin
|1. Iker Casillas
13. Edwin Van Der Sar
We are starting the best goalkeeper on the all-time list with 53 year-old Dutch goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar. Considered part of AFC Ajax’s golden generation, he started his senior playing career in early 1990.
Van Der Sar started his playing career in 1980 with a youth club in his hometown. After his senior debut with Ajax, he also played with Juventus, Fulham, and Manchester United during his playing career.
Similarly, he also played for the Netherlands’ national team from 1995 to 2008. Many critics and fellow players openly praised Van Der Sar for his goalkeeping skills.
He is considered one of the best and most successful goalkeepers. Van Der Sar won 26 major trophies and played 130 times on the national team during his professional career.
In 1995 and 2009, he was awarded Best European Goalkeeper and UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year 2009. Van Der Sar is also the oldest player to win the Premier League at age 40.
12. Petr Cech
Petr Cech is a former soccer player who also plays semi-professional ice hockey.The 41 year-old Cech is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in soccer history by numerous pundits, managers, and fellow players.
Cech was a part of the youth club and made his senior debut with Chmel Blsany in 1999. He played for Sparta Prague and Rennes before being signed by Chelsea in 2004.
From 2004 to 2015, he played for Chelsea. During the period, Cech helped the club to win four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Europa League titles.
In 2015, he joined Arsenal and stayed with the club before retiring in 2019. Similarly, Cech also played for Czech Republic’s national team. Aside from the U-19 division, he played in every division from U-15 to U-21.
Cech holds numerous records as a goalkeeper. Some of it is the cleanest sheets in Premier League history, and he is also the only goalkeeper to win the Premier League Golden Glove with two clubs, among others.
11. Sepp Maier
Born as Josef Dieter Sepp Maier, number 11 on our list of the best goalkeeper of all time is the former German player Sepp Maier. Now 79 year-old, he is regarded as one of Germany’s greatest goalkeepers.
In 1952, Maier started his playing career with the youth club, TSV Haar. He then joined Bayern Munich’s youth club in 1959 and made his senior debut with Munich’s senior team in 1962.
He spends all his professional playing career with Munich. Maier also played for the national team in youth, amateur, and senior debut.
Maier is well remembered for his sense of humor and performance in the field. His shot-stopping ability, fast reflexes, and agility earned him the nickname “Die Katze von Anzing,” meaning “the cat from Anzing.”
His most notable contributions to his team include the 1970 and 1974 FIFA World Cup, 1972 European Championship, etc.
10. Peter Shilton
Our number 10 best goalkeeper of all time is English former goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Now 74 year-old, he played professional soccer for 30 years and 11 different clubs.
Shilton began his soccer journey playing for Leicester City’s youth academy in 1963. Then he went ahead and made his senior debut with the Leicester in 1966.
Similarly, Shilton also represented England’s national team in international games like 1982, 1986, and 1990 FIFA World Cup, 1980 and 1988 UEFA European Championship. He was part of the U-23 division and senior team.
Some of his career highlight achievements are two European Cups, a UEFA Super Cup, a Football league Cup, and a First Division championship.
Likewise, Shilton has the all-time record for the most competitive appearances in world football and is England’s most-capped national team player. In 2000, the IFFHS ranked him as one of the top ten goalkeepers of the 20th century.
9. Manuel Neuer
The next player on our best goalkeeper of all time list is German player Manuel Neuer, captain of Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and the German national team. The 37 year-old is considered one of the best goalkeepers.
Starting his career in 1991 with the youth club Schalke 04, he made his senior debut with the team in 2004. Neuer signed with the Bayern Munich in 2011.
Likewise, he is part of Germany’s national team. Previously, he also made appearances for the U-18 to U-21 division of the national team.
Neuer has been awarded titles like the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year, IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper five times, Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper in 2014 FIFA World Cup, and ranked number 1 goalkeeper in 2010 FIFA World Cup.
After signing with Munich, Neuer won 26 trophies, including nine Bundesliga and two UEFA Champions League titles as part of the trebles.
Furthermore, the IFFHS has named him the best goalkeeper of the decade from 2011 to 2020.
8. Neville Southall
Described as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation, we have Neville Southall on our number 8 of the best goalkeeper of all time. The 65 year-old former Welsh player had a professional career of 28 years.
In 1970, Southall joined Llandudno Swifts youth academy, thus, starting his soccer journey. Then he made his senior debut with the Llandudno Town in 1973.
Similarly, from 1982 to 1997, Southall was part of the Wales national team. While playing with the Everton from 1981 to 1998, he had established himself as their first-choice goalkeeper.
Additionally, he has a club record of 578 appearances in the Premier League and English Football League. The World Soccer magazine named Southall one of the 100 ‘Greatest Players of the 20th Century.
For his numerous achievements and contribution to English soccer, he was also appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1996.
7. Dino Zoff
A former professional soccer player, Dino Zoff is considered one of the best Italian goalkeepers in soccer history. Now 81 year-old, he is the oldest ever winner of the World Cup.
Zoff made his professional debut in 1961 for Udinese. Similarly, he also played for teams like Mantova and Napoli before signing with Juventus.
He achieved most success while playing for the Juventus from 1972 to 1983. During that period, he helped the club to win six Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia titles, and a European Champions Cup.
Known for his astounding skills at goalkeeping, Zoff has been named the third greatest goalkeeper of the 20th-century by IFFHS. He is the sixth most capped player on the Italian national team.
Similarly, he has the record for the longest playing time without allowing goals in international tournaments between 1972 and 1974.
6. Oliver Kahn
On our number 6 of the best goalkeepers of all time, we have 54 year-old Oliver Kahn. He is one of the most successful German goalkeepers in recent history.
In 1975, Kahn joined the youth team of Karlsruher SC. After starting his soccer journey with the team, he made his senior debut in 1987 with Karlsruher SC II. He signed with the Bayern Munich in 1994.
Similarly, Kahn was part of the German national team from 1995 to 2006. Famous for his aggressive and commanding playing style, he was nicknamed “Der Titan,” which translates to The Titan.
Kahn has won eight Bundesliga titile, six DFB-Pokals, 1996 UEFA Cup, UEFA Campions League, and Intercontinential Cup. In the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Kahn became the only goalkeeper in soccer history to win the Golden Ball.
Likewise, the Titan has been awarded UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards for four consecutive years, IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper three times, and German Footballer of the Year trophies two times.
5. Gordon Banks
Born on December 30, 1937, we have former English goalkeeper Gordon Banks as our fifth best goalkeeper of all time. He played 20 years as a professional player making 679 appearances and winning 73 caps for England.
Banks was part of the Millspaugh, Rawarsh Welfare, and Chesterfield during his early youth career. He made his senior debut with the Chesterfield in 1958.
Similarly, he played for Leicester City, Stoke City, and Fort Lauderdale Strikers while being loaned to Cleveland Stokers, Hellenic, and St. Patrick Athletic teams. Banks also played for England’s U-23 and senior national teams.
In 1972, he lost his right eye’s sight after a car crash. Despite this, Bank continued with his professional career. Moreover, he was able to post the best defensive record in the league in 1977 and won the NASL Goalkeeper of the year.
Banks has been ranked as the second-best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS. He was also named the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1972 and FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions.
One of the greatest goalkeepers from England, Gordan Banks, sadly passed away on February 12, 2019.
4. Peter Schmeichel
On our number 4 of the best goalkeeper of all time, we have former Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. The 60 year-old who is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time started his soccer journey in 1972.
Schmeichel was part of the youth academy Høje-Gladsaxe. Similarly, he also played in Hero and Gladsaxe-Hero during his youth career before making his senior debut with Gladsaxe in 1981.
In 1991, he was signed by Manchester United, where Schmeichel enjoyed the most success. Aside from the United, he also played with Hvidovre, Brøndby, Sporting CP, Aston Villa, and Manchester City.
From 1987 to 2001, he also played in Denmark’s national team. Schmeichel captained 30 matches for his national team and is the most capped player on the Denmark national team.
He was ranked the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper in 1992, 1993, and 2000. He is also ranked among the IFFH’s ten goalkeepers of the 20th-century.
Schmeichel has been argued to be the greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history alongside Petr Cech.
3. Gianluigi Buffon
We are down to the top three, and Gianluigi Buffon ranks number 3 as the best goalkeeper of all time. He is the captain and goalkeeper for the Serie B club Parma.
The 46 year-old Buffon is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever and is among the few players recorded with over 1,100 professional career appearances.
In 1991, Buffon first joined the Parma youth system and played professionally. He made his senior debut with the team in 1995 and played for the team until 2001.
After that, he was part of other big named teams like the Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain before again signing with Parma in 2021. Similarly, Buffon also played in various divisions and senior team of Italy’s national team.
Not only has he won the title of Best Goalkeeper on several occasions, but Buffon is also the most capped player in Italian national team history.
He is the first player to win the Golden Foot award and was named as the IFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper for a record five-time.
2. Lev Yashin
Lev Yashin is widely regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in the sport’s history. He was born on October 22, 1929. His fans know him as the “Black Spider” or the “Black Panther.”
Yashin’s professional career spanned from 1950 to 1970, when he played entirely with the Dynamo Moscow. Similarly, he also played for the Soviet Union’s national team from 1954 to 1970.
One of the best goalkeepers, Yashin, is also credited for revolutionizing the goalkeeping position. Although a goalkeeper, he imposed authority on the team’s entire defense.
The 1958 World Cup was the first Cup to be broadcast internationally, and Yashin’s performance made a significant impression on soccer fans. His black head-to-toe dressing (actually very dark blue) earned him his nicknames.
Yashin was chosen for the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team 1994 and World Team of the 20th-century 1998. Likewise, he also won a gold medal at the Olympic football tournament in 1956 and European Championships in 1960.
Voted as one of the best goalkeepers of the 20th century in IFFHS ranking, the Black Spider passed away at age 60 on March 20, 1990.
1. Iker Casillas
And our number 1 best goalkeeper of all time goes to the former Spanish goalkeeper, Iker Casillas. The 43 year-old is known for his athleticism and extraordinary shot-stopping ability.
Beginning his soccer career in 1990 with the Real Madrid youth system, he made his senior debut with the team in 1998. Casillas spent most of his career with Madrid before signing with Porto from 2015 to 2020.
In 1999, after being promoted to the leading team of Madrid, he became the youngest goalkeeper to play in the final of the Champions League. His skills soon established him as the first-choice goalkeeper of the team.
Casillas’s outstanding shot-stopping ability earned him the nickname “San Iker,” meaning Saint Iker. His major career title wins include five La Liga, four Supercopa de España, two Copa del Rey.
He also won three UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. Casillas also represented his national team in various divisions.
Casillas has been named IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper five times. He announced his retirement from the sport in 2020.
These players have rightfully earned their names in the history of soccer. As a last line of defense for the team, these players successfully performed their due diligence, making them the best goalkeeper of all time.