Guardians of the Goal

Since 1987, the IFFHS has been handing out the World’s Best Goalkeeper award to the most outstanding goalkeeper of the year. It is won outright by virtue of votes cast by the editorial staff of the association as well as experts in the industry. It is a much-coveted prize among goalies. But just last year, the FIFA Football Awards launched its first goalkeeper recognition, the Best FIFA Goalkeeper Award. As to who will win FIFA’s best this year, well, the World Cup performances will have to be taken into account.

Let’s take a look at some unique individuals who have impressed us with their skillful saves over the years.

1997 – Angelo Peruzzi

A highly regarded goalkeeper in football history, Peruzzi has won many awards and is part of the Italy team that won in the 2006 World Cup

He has been named as Serie A Best Goalkeeper of 1995, 1997, and 1998 has won the UEFA Cup, the Super Cup, the Intercontinental Cup, and the Champions League with the Bianconeri. Angelo will go down in the books as Italy’s pride and as one of the best keepers of his generation. Angelo’s success on football leagues is mostly credited to his powerful physique. He is globally renowned as the “Tyson” of Italy for his explosive reactions, agility, and speed.

Peruzzi currently manages Lazio, a professional Italian sports club based in Rome. It seems Mr. Peruzzi won’t quit serving the football fans, interacting still with such prestigious sports institutions of his homeland.

2007 & 2017 – Gianluigi Buffon

Buffon has won the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper Award for both 2007 and 2017. You would think nobody can be that good. But evidently, Buffon is. His league titles and individual awards can speak for him. He has won the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper Award for a record of five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2017) and he also came out on top on IFFHS’ polls for the World’s Best Goalkeeper for the first decade of the 21st century and the World’s Best Goalkeeper of the past 25 years.

Gianluigi holds numerous records including having the longest streak without conceding a goal in Serie A, unbeaten for 974 consecutive minutes during the 2015-2016 season. He also owns a record of twelve Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year awards.

During Buffon’s humble beginnings in Parma, he was noted as one of the rising young goalkeepers; and it is no wonder he was given such praise. Last 2017, the Italian Superman was awarded FIFA’s first-ever Best FIFA Goalkeeper Award in a ceremony held in London. He beat Germany’s Neuer and Costa Rica’s Navas with 42.4% majority of the votes. Asked what he thought of the award, the 40-year-old Buffon said winning was significant as it proved “the hard work to improve and have higher goals” pays off.

Honorable Mentions:

1978 – Ronnie Hellström

One of 1970’s topnotch goalkeepers, Sweden’s Hellstrom made history when he was awarded his country’s best footballer twice (1971 and 1978). He helped Sweden as well to claim a fifth spot in the 1974 FIFA World Cup. He had a total of 77 international appearances.

1998 – Jose Luis Felix Chilavert

Chilavert is Paraguay’s former football player who played for numerous teams namely, Sportivo Luqueno, Guarani, Real Zaragoza, RC Strasbourg, and Paraguay’s national football team for Fifa. He has won 12 titles, including the 1994 Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup. He played as a goalkeeper for the country’s national league about 74 times during 1989 to 2003 and even scored 8 goals.

2008 – Iker Casillas

Called as the “Saint Iker” for his notable shot-stopping agility on the field, Casillas is named as one of the finest goalkeepers the 21st century. He was given a Gold Medal of Royal Order of Sporting Merit in 2009 and holds a record of most clean sheets at the UEFA European Championship along with former Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

Goalkeepers to Watch Out For in 2018 FIFA World Cup

The list includes David De Gea of Spain, Hugo Lloris of France, Keylor Navas of Costa Rica, Manuel Neuer of Germany, Allison Becker of Brazil, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen of Germany, and Thibaut Courtois of Belgium. Punters reckon one of these net-minders or even a surprise name can lay claim to the Golden Glove Award this year.

Treble winner Sir Alex Ferguson once said that attack will win you the games, but defense wins you the titles. Who will take 2018 World Cup by storm with his incredible saves? Who will win as the best goalkeeper of the tournament? We’re all waiting to find out.

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