The modern game of soccer is faster than it's ever been. Strikers are bigger, faster and more nifty than ever, and the new soccer balls make wicked swerves and shifts in the air. Top strikers in the world like Diego Costa, Romelu Lukaku, Karim Benzema and Sergio Aguero are merciless when it comes to scoring goals, and they get paid huge bucks for their services. When it comes down to it, the only line of defense most teams have is putting their trust into some of the best and most agile goalkeepers in the game. It's a tough job being a goalie because some of these attacking players let off fierce shots that are laced with unforgiving fury and clinical precision. However, the best keepers in soccer always find a way to keep their team in a game, and their performances are often both brave and brilliant. Below is a list of 15 of the top goalkeepers in professional soccer. Take a look ....
15 Fernando Muslera
One of the most talented soccer nations in the world is Uruguay, and the Uruguayan player we often hear the most from is the fantastic yet troubled striker, Luis Suarez. If there was ever someone who could be dubbed as the “vampire” of professional soccer, Suarez would be it. However there is another talented player from Uruguay named Fernando Muslera who also happens to be one of the best keepers in the world. He plays his club football for Galatasaray in Turkey, and his impressive skill manning the goal is a major reason for Uruguay performing so well on the world stage.
14 Joe Hart
The 27-yr-old Joe Hart is one of the tallest keepers on this list. He stands at an impressive 6’5” and he has amazing goalkeeping ability to match his imposing height. He currently serves as the keeper for the English national soccer team, and he is also the first choice goalkeeper for Manchester City in the English Premier League. In his national career, he hasn’t achieved that much noteworthy success but as the keeper for Man. City, he has won two league titles and won the Golden Glove Award 3 times in a row.
13 Iker Casillas
At the age of 33, Iker Casillas is one of the most respected soccer players in the whole world. He happens to be the captain of the top notch Real Madrid team, and whenever he plays for his country, he plays the role of captain as well. It’s worth mentioning here that the Real Madrid team is full of international super stars including: Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. So for Casillas to be named captain of these multi-million dollar Galacticos, it already proves just how formidable and talented he really is.
12 Guillermo Ochoa
29-yr-old Guillermo Ochoa is the #1 keeper for the Mexican national team, and he is also the current goalkeeper for Malaga in the Spanish soccer league. Ochoa is 6”1” in height, and he is an unmistakable sight on the field due to his bouncy and curly afro. At the most recent World Cup, Ochoa truly proved his outstanding ability in a highly contested match against Brazil during the group qualifying stages. That match ended in a 0-0 draw, and that score was mostly due to Ochoa’s scintillating saves.
11 Salvatore Sirigu
10 Diego Lopez
The top Spanish teams in La Liga are: Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atheltico Madrid. To be a player in one of these teams, you need to be at the top of your game, and Diego Lopez played for seven years as one of the top goalkeepers at Real Madrid. Lopez currently tends the goal for another elite team, A.C. Milan in the Italian Serie A league. He is also a regular team member of the Spanish National squad, but in the pecking order, he usually comes second after the aforementioned goalkeeping super star, Iker Casillas.
9 Petr Cech
32-yr-old Petr Cech is one of the most respected keepers of his generation. He is originally 6’5” in height and hails from Czechoslovakia - he has been the top keeper of the world renowned Chelsea soccer club since 2004. During his years at the club, he has continuously distinguished himself as a goalkeeper of the highest order. He has won the Golden Glove award 3 times in the EPL: for the 2004-05, 2009-10 and 2013-14 seasons. In the current EPL season, he is actually serving as back-up keep to the young Chelsea keeper Courtois, but he still remains the #1 choice for the Czechoslovakian national soccer team.
8 Tim Krul
Tim Krul is a Dutch superstar goalkeeper who plays his club soccer for Newcastle in the English Premier League. He possesses a very tall and lanky structure, and he puts his physique to excellent use when making some of the most incredible saves you’ll ever see. He’s also a known expert at saving penalty shots. Soccer fans will remember the high-tension game in the knockout stage of this past World Cup between the Netherlands and Costa Rica. When the game was to be decided by penalties, the Dutch coach substituted Krul in as the goalkeeper. He made some key saves and enabled the Netherlands to move on to the next round. They were eventually beaten by Argentina in the semi-finals.
7 Victor Valdes
Barcelona is one of the important and popular soccer franchises in the entire world. The team is bursting at the seams with all kinds of global stars including: Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Danny Alves and Andres Iniesta. Spanish keeper Victor Valdes has been the goalkeeper of this extraordinary soccer club since 2003. He has appeared in over 500 games from the club and won 21 titles with his teammates. He recently injured his knee this past March, and the word around the soccer vines is that when he finally regains his full health, the 32-yr-old star goalie will be headed to Manchester United.
6 Tim Howard
The 35-yr-old Tim Howard is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers in professional soccer right now. He is originally from New Brunswick, NJ, and for the last several years he has been the undisputed #1 goalkeeper for Everton’s football club in the English Premier League. Everyone already knew that he was an outstanding soccer player but he was flung onto the world stage at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. Howard was the goalkeeper for the US National Team, and he turned in a heroic performance against the Belgian national squad. Even though the American team lost, Howard made 16 amazing saves and he had a spectacular game that he will never forget.
5 Hugo Lloris
Hailing from Nice, France, the 27-yr-old Hugo Lloris is the next goalkeeper on our list. Even though he’s very tall at 6’2”, he is known for having extremely fast reflexes, and he’s able to scamper across the goal and get down low to save shots with lightning velocity. He is also regarded as one of the best one-on-one goalkeepers in the business. When top flight strikers are barreling down on goal, Lloris is one of most competent in the business for blocking laser-aimed shots. He currently pulls double duty as captain for the French national team and goalkeeper for Tottenham Hotspurs in the English Premier league.
4 Samir Handanovic
The 30-yr-old Slovenian keeper Samir Handanovic is one of the most highly paid goalkeepers in professional soccer. He has an imposing height of 6'4" and he is known as an extremely talented technician when it comes to saving penalty kicks. He is currently the #1 goalkeeper for Inter Milan, after making the transfer from Udinese in 2012 for a whopping 11 million pounds. He is also the first choice keeper for the Slovenia national soccer squad.
3 Gianluigi Buffon
At the age of 36, Buffon’s illustrious career might be soon coming to an end. But oh my, what an illustrious career it has been! At one point, he was the most expensive goalkeeper on earth after completing a 32 million pound transfer from Parma to Juventus in 2001. He was named by the legend Pele as one of the greatest living footballers and in 2003, he was named the UEFA club footballer of the year. In 2006, he was the keeper of the Italian National Soccer team, and he helped guide the team to a wonderful victory. He still plays for Juventus, and he will undoubtedly be forever known as one of the best Italian players of all time.
2 Thibaut Courtois
In the last several years, Belgium has been producing some of the best, young soccer players in the world. A few of those names include skilled technicians like Kevin De Bruyne & Eden Hazard, and deadly strikers like Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku. The Belgians also have a talented 22-yr-old keeper who is nothing short of a soccer phenom. At the young age of 22, Courtois is already one of the top keepers in the world and he has won 2 League cups with the Spanish team, Athletico Madrid. He’s currently the first choice keeper for Chelsea in the English Premier League.
1 Manuel Neuer
The 28-yr-old Manuel Neuer is often labeled as one of the best goalies in the world. The German keeper has been nicknamed the “sweeper-keeper” because of the forceful and commanding manner that he marshals the penalty area surrounding his goal. He’s almost the perfect hybrid of a center-half and goalkeeper, and it’s no surprise that he is the top choice for Bayern Munich and the German national squad. In the most recent World Cup held in Brazil, Neuer was a huge reason for the German team winning the cup and taking it back to their adoring fans in Berlin.