Gianluigi Donnarumma made history this summer after becoming the first goalkeeper to be named as Player of the Tournament at the European Championship, the Italy number one in fine form as the Azzurri were crowned Euro 2020 winners.
Goalkeepers are a crucial component of any side and possessing an elite shot-stopper can often prove the difference at the highest level of the game, a player who can be relied upon when teams come under pressure.
Modern goalkeepers are required to be much more than simply guardians of their goal however, with a comfortability in possession a must-have for the very best in world football.
We’ve decided to pick out five of the best goalkeepers in world football right now, based on a combination of both ability and current form:
Ederson is a goalkeeper who has helped transform perceptions of what goalkeepers are capable of with the ball at their feet, the Manchester City number one possessing one of the best passing ranges in the Premier League.
The 27-year-old is tailor-made for City’s possession-heavy style of football, with Ederson always available to receive the ball to feet and capable of starting attacks with passes through opposition lines or pinpoint direct balls forward.
Ederson’s 19 clean sheets in 2020/21 saw him win a second successive Premier League Golden Glove award, becoming just the fourth player to win multiple accolades.
Ederson’s kicking ability makes him a unique goalkeeping proposition, though he also ranked fifth in the Premier League for save percentage last season, in addition to keeping his league-high number of shut-outs.
Occasional rash moments prevent Ederson from ranking higher, with his poor positioning in the Copa America final contributing to Angel Di Maria’s winning goal for Argentina, having been handed his opportunity ahead of Liverpool’s Alisson.
The Brazilian edges out Alisson and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer in our rankings however, following indifferent domestic seasons for the duo last term.
4. Gianluigi Donnarumma
Gianluigi Donnarumma’s performances at Euro 2020 see him climb into our rankings for the five best goalkeepers in world football right now, the Italian having been in brilliant form to win the Player of the Tournament accolade.
Donnarumma burst onto the scene as a teenager at AC Milan and has incredibly made 251 appearances for the Serie A side despite only turning 22 earlier this year, though the Italian number one will play his club football with Paris Saint-Germain next season.
PSG have secured the signing of Donnarumma on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract at the San Siro and will provide the youngster with the opportunity to establish himself as one of the best in world football.
Donnarumma’s achievements to date are incredible with most goalkeepers not reaching their pinnacle until much later in their careers, the sky remaining the limit for the summer signing as he begins his career at the Parc des Princes.
He will face stern competition for a place in Paris from Keylor Navas, though Donnarumma could be both PSG and Italy’s number one for the next decade or longer.
3. Keylor Navas
Standing in Donnarumma’s way at PSG is Costa Rica international Navas, who has perhaps been one of Europe’s most underrated goalkeepers of recent years.
Navas formed part of the Real Madrid side that won three consecutive Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018, before signing for Paris Saint-Germain and reaching a further Champions League final with the French side.
His £13m fee has been one of the shrewdest modern investments big-spending PSG have made, with Navas remaining supremely athletic and agile despite entering the latter stages of a stellar career.
The 34-year-old produced a sensational performance as PSG defeated Barcelona in last season’s Champions League, making a string of saves – including denying Lionel Messi from the penalty spot – to help his side progress.
Donnarumma’s arrival will provide Navas with fierce competition but the veteran, who recorded the best save percentage in Ligue 1 last season – will not give up his first-choice status as PSG easily.
2. Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois’ shaky start at Real Madrid seems a long time ago now, the Belgium international having since re-established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in world football.
Courtois was excellent as Real Madrid were crowned as Spanish champions in 2019/20, before further cementing his status as one of La Liga’s best last term despite a difficult season for Los Blancos.
The 29-year-old ranked second for clean sheets and third for overall saves, whilst his 81.1% save percentage was the best in the division despite proving far busier than expected.
Belgium’s golden generation of talent may be moving past their peak without major silverware, but Courtois remains one of the world-class talents amongst the Red Devils’ ranks ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
The towering 6ft 7in star has won four league titles across spells with Atletico, Chelsea and Real, though his best performances may still be yet to come with Courtois a certainty to play a key role in Carlo Ancelotti’s rebuild at the Bernabeu.
1. Jan Oblak
Jan Oblak continues to produce performances of goalkeeping excellence in the colours of Atletico Madrid, the Slovenian shot-stopper perhaps remaining the benchmark for the world’s best number ones.
Oblak has performed with incredible consistency during seven seasons in the Spanish capital, boasting the best clean sheet percentage in La Liga history (53.7%) after keeping 123 clean sheets in just 229 La Liga games for Atletico.
Last season saw Oblak record a league-leading 18 clean sheets as Atleti were crowned champions, whilst he ranked second for save percentage (80%) despite being the busiest goalkeeper in the division after making 97 saves.
Agile, commanding and a brilliant communicator behind Atleti’s resolute backline, Oblak remains the best in the goalkeeping business in world football right now.
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