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Sportsmail takes a look at the world's best goalkeepers

27 Apr 2011 13:21:02

Sportsmail takes a look at the world's best goalkeepers

Manuel Neuer looked set to produce one of the best clean sheets in recent memory during Schalke's Champions League semi-final clash against Manchester United. Despite being breached by Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney, he came in for much praise and even prompted United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to claim it was one of the finest keeping  performances he had ever seen against his side. After his world class showing, Sporstmail looks at how the Schalke man compares against nine other top stoppers. Manuel NeuerHis United heroics have brought him to the wider public attention, but the Schalke stopper has gone through a rapid development in the last couple of years. From one to another: Neuer (left) is commiserated by United keeper Van der Sar following his star showing In 2009 the German was playing in the Under 21 European Championships and was only third choice keeper in the build up to the World Cup. But the tragic death of Robert Enke and an injury to Rene Adler propelled him to take the No 1 spot in South Africa which he has kept since. He looks Bayern Munich bound in the summer and at only 25-years-old will only get better. Gianluigi BuffonThe 33-year-old has been on top his game for 16 years now, right back to when he made a stunning debut for Parma in a 0-0 draw with AC Milan in 1995. Following his move to Juventus for ?32.6million in 2001 he still holds the record for being the world's most expensive goalkeeper. Buffon's future remains unclear at Juventus who are well off the pace in Serie A and Arsenal are keen on bringing him to the Emirates Stadium. Iker CasillasHas always been a fabulous shot stopper but it's only in the last few years that Casillas has established himself as a fantastic all-round keeper. Hands aloft: Casillas recently lifted the Copa del Rey after Madrid beat Barcelona The Spaniard had already won the Champions League with Real Madrid by the time he was 19 in 2000, but his early career was littered with errors that even cost him his place in the Madrid first XI. But since being made captain of a Spain side that went on to win Euro 2008 and last summer's World Cup Casillas has barely put a foot wrong and can already claim to be one of the game's finest ever stoppers. Edwin Van der SarProof that there is life for goalkeepers after they reach 40. The Dutchman has been around for 20 years after making his debut for Ajax in the 1990/91 season and is still producing world class performances for Manchester United. He has been one of the world's finest goalkeepers since winning the Champions League with the Dutch side in 1995 and with 130 caps for Holland, is the country's most capped player. He is set to hang up his gloves at the end of the season, much to the dismay of Fergie who was desperate for him to commit to another year. Sergio RomeroPlaying for AZ in Holland, the Argentine No 1 doesn't get much exposure beyond Europa League football, but he has played a big part in one of the club's golden periods that saw him win the league title in 2009. Just 24-years-old, he also played in all five of Argentina's games at the last World Cup and standing at 1.96m, is very agile around the box. He has one slight downfall which is his temperament. He once broke his hand after punching a door in frustration following a defeat with AZ in a cup match. Pepe ReinaLiverpool's demise in recent years has been alarming in itself but it could have been a whole lot worse had they not Reina between the sticks. The Spaniard has been rock solid since joining from Villarreal in 2005, being able to pull off spectacular saves and very rarely making an error. It's a testament to his ability that he is widely regarded as one of the world's finest keepers despite being kept out the national side by Casillas. Reds fans will be boosted by the news he wants to stay with the club but that won't stop Europe's top teams trying to secure the 28-year-old's services who has a reported buyout clause of ?20m. David De GeaThe fact that Manchester United have agreed a deal worth ?17.8million with Atletico Madrid for the 20-year-old speaks volumes of de Gea's potential. Future star? De Gea is reported to be set for a move to Old Trafford He hasn't even made his debut for the Spanish national side but Sir Alex Ferguson already sees him as the long term successor to Van der Sar, with barely a full year's worth of La Liga football behind him. He has played in big games though, featuring in a Champions League group game against Porto last season as well as being in goal for the Europa League final win against Fulham. Joe HartThere has been a long list of goalkeepers that have laid unconvincing claims to be England's No 1, but finally it looks like the Three Lions have found the answer. Hart has been first choice for Manchester City and England since returning from loan at Birmingham last season where he played a pivotal role in keeping them in the top-flight. The learning curve is still there with a few errors creeping into his game this season, but not since David Seaman's international farewell nine years ago has the future of English football looked in safer hands. Shay Givenwhich brings us to Manchester City's previous No 1, Given. It speaks volumes of Hart's ability that he replaced the Irishman in the side who was crucial in leading City to their highest ever Premier League finish of fifth last season. Green with envy: Despite playing second fiddle to Hart, Given has been a evergreen performer The Republic of Ireland international has lost his place through no fault of his own with his brilliant shot-stopping, command of the penalty area and reliable performances fit enough to enable him to claim the No 1 spot at many top sides in Europe. At 35-years-old he does not have a long left, but with his City career reduced to a back-up role, he will be one of the most sought after players during the summer transfer window. Hugo LlorisThierry Henry wasn't the only Frenchman using his hands to deny Republic of Ireland a place in the 2010 World Cup. Lloris's performances in both legs of their play-off were just as crucial in getting France to South Africa. The 24-year-old Lyon keeper looks set to be a fixture in the national team for many years to come, even being selected as captain in the 2-1 win against England at Wembley last November. How long he stays in France is another matter, he has already been linked with Manchester United and AC Milan and Lyon may not have the previously safe deal-breaker of Champions League football next term.  The 100 club: Defoe joins Shearer and co in the Premier League's record listWho Wenger must sign to avoid ANOTHER trophyless campaignHe just can't score! ?50m Torres joins Chelsea's list of expensive strike flops  Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Shay Given, Pepe Reina, Ryan Giggs, Edwin Van Der Sar, Thierry Henry, Joe Hart, David Seaman, Wayne Rooney Places: Liverpool, Madrid, Lyon, Birmingham, Argentina, France, Republic of Ireland, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, South Africa, Europe


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