After the feast of the World Cup, it’s time to look at how events in South Africa shaped our list of the World’s Top Goalkeepers. After a disappointing season with Real Madrid, Iker Casillas was rather lower down the pecking order than many may have expected, but his commanding displays in the Spanish goal were the foundation upon which their attractive brand of football can be built.
Until the final you would have barely noticed his contribution and that’s no bad thing. Just think about how Robert Green’s profile sky-rocketed during the World Cup but for all the wrong reasons. Casillas was tidy, assured and typically agile throughout the World Cup, but it was in the final when he was called upon to stop Arjen Robben on two occasions he was superb. He again did the less spectacular things perfectly well and gave the defenders in front of him the confidence to set up Spain’s attacking play. He won the Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament and he jumps to the top of the rankings as a result. There can be little doubt that he is the best in world.
Moving in the opposite direction is Julio Cesar of Brazil. Rather than being a knee-jerk reaction to the one major mistake against Holland, that’s more a reflection of a general dip in form. After a treble winning season with Inter Milan, maybe too much was expected of him, but he was shaky in general and didn’t help when the questions were asked of his defence. He’s still top class, but his problems harked back to earlier problems in his when he looked very uncomfortable with the physicality of Serie A.
Perhaps surprisingly, Hugo Lloris doesn’t suffer too much for France’s horror show. The Lyon keeper played reasonably well considering the farce that was unfolding in front of him. With the major European leagues about to commence, there’s sure to be some big movement over the next few weeks.
The Ministry Of Glove’s Goalkeeping Rankings
1. (4) Iker Casillas (Real Madrid and Spain)
2. (1) Pepe Reina (Liverpool and Spain)
3. (2) Shay Given (Man City and Ireland)
4. (3) Gigi Buffon (Juventus and Italy)
5. (6) Hugo Lloris (Lyon and France)
6. (7) Edwin Van Der Sar (Man Utd)
7. (8) Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow and Russia)
8. (9) Petr Cech (Chelsea and Czech Rep.)
9. (10) Victor Valdes (Barcelona and Spain)
10. (5) Julio Cesar (Inter Milan and Brazil)