Best Goalkeepers of All Time


Posted: April 7, 2020

Updated: April 7, 2020

  • Paraguay goalkeeper Chilavert scored 67 goals
  • Gordon Banks conceded only 3 goals during the 1966 World Cup
  • Lev Yashin is the only goalkeeper to receive the Ballon d’Or

Fans and professionals usually focus on the strikers or midfielders when they look at the teams, but goalkeepers are just as important. A good goalkeeper can not only save the team from goals but provide a stable background for the defenders and for the whole team. Like the best goalkeepers of all time did, from Buffon to Kahn. 

The following goalkeepers were all significant members of their teams both at their clubs and the national teams. They took part in the biggest football tournaments and showed incredible saves. And were not afraid to lead their teams, especially their defenders. Often shouting and arguing with them if they had to. Most of them had a long and successful career, just think about Gianluigi Buffon who still plays for Juventus at the age of 42. 

In the best goalkeepers of all time, we find real showmen

Maybe he wasn’t the best, but he was one of the most entertaining goalkeepers in football’s history. Jose Luis Felix Chilavert was the goalkeeper of the Paraguay national team and several clubs in South America. He won the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper award three times and 12 club titles. Chilavert took part in the World Cup with Paraguay in 1998 and 2002 and was voted in the World Cup Team of the Tournament in 1998. 

He was a great goalkeeper but what he was really famous for were his goals and free kicks. He scored 67 goals during his career which is the second-most number of goals scored by a goalkeeper. Paraguay has the chance to take part in the next world cup in 2022, odds for the winner are already available on bet365. 

France had a similarly entertaining person in his goal in Fabien Barthez. The bald goalkeeper was part of the World and European champion team in 1998 and 2000. He was probably the best goalkeeper at that time. Barthez made huge saves and was comfortable with the ball with his feet. He won Ligue 1 and the Champions League with Marseille in 1993. But in his last game, even he couldn’t save the French team in the 2006 World Cup final against Italy. 

Best of Britain

best goalkeepers of all time
Gordon Banks – Image source: Panini / Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

One of the best English goalkeepers was Gordon Banks, who became world-famous when he managed to save Pele’s shot in the 1970 World Cup. But his best success came from the tournament before, when he became World Champion with England in 1966. He conceded only three goals in the entire tournament and had a massive part in England’s victory. England hopes to have a similar tournament next year in the Euro2021, where they have the odds of 6.00 to win at Bet365 Sportsbook.

Although neither Peter Schmeichel nor Edwin van der Saar is British, both of them were important players in one of the biggest English clubs, Manchester United. The Danish giant, Schmeichel played at the club between 1991 and 1999, winning five Premier League titles and the Champions League in his last game. He also won the European Championship with Denmark in 1992, surprising everyone. 

Dutch goalkeeper van der Saar played for other clubs as well like Ajax and Juventus but reached his biggest successes with United. He won four Premier League titles and the Champions League with the club in 2008. He had a period of 1311 minutes without conceding a goal in that season, which is still a world record. Van der Saar didn’t have great victories with the national team, but he is the second most-capped player in the history of the Netherlands. 

Great goalkeepers from Italy

It is not easy to decide which Italian goalkeeper is the best. Some will say that it is former Juventus legend Dino Zoff who was also the captain of the Italian team which won the World Cup in 1982. Zoff won six Serie A titles and the UEFA Cup with Juventus and held the record for the longest period without conceding a goal in international football with 1142 minutes. Zoff was already part of the Azzurri in 1968 but won the world cup title at the age of 40. Online sportsbooks in Italy are still remembering his great skills like his agility and reflexes. 

His true successor is Gianluigi Buffon, both at the club and international level.  Buffon started his career in Parma and had a short spell at PSG. But he has spent most of his career at Juventus. He won 4 Serie A titles with the club and also became a world champion with the Italian team in 2006.  Though he retired from international football now, you can still see him playing for Juventus at the age of 42. Online gambling sites in Italy are hoping their team can perform well in Euro2021, but their odds are only 12.00 to win. 

Top of the tops

On most lists ranking the best goalkeepers of all time, we find German goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn in the top 3. Khan had more than 780 club appearances, most of them for Bayern Munich. He won eight Bundesliga titles, six German Cups and the Champions League in 2001 with the club. In the latter, he had an enormous part after saving penalties in the penalty shootout against Valencia. Kahn was a strong character at his teams. He also leads the German national team to the final of the 2002 World Cup. Though the team lost there 0-2 against Brazil, Kahn was still awarded the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament. 

best goalkeepers of all time
Goalkeepers are one of the most important members of a football team.

Only one person could top Kahn’s performance, the goalkeeper of Dynamo Moscow and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 60s, Lev Yashin. His nickname was ‘The Black Spider’ after his incredible reflexes. He won 5 league titles and 3 cups with his club, his national record is even better. Yashin won the 1956 Olympics with the Soviet team and became European Champion in 1960. He was the first modern goalkeeper, who gave orders to the defenders. And didn’t only stand in the goal waiting for the ball. Until now Lev Yashin is the only goalkeeper to receive the Ballon d’Or. He was voted the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the International  Federation of Football History and Statistics. 

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