Sunday, 2 June 2013

Rangliste 2012-13 - Goalkeepers

Willy Caballero (Málaga and Argentina) 36 games, 0 goals **

Did any keeper perform quite so many heroics in so many big games this season as Caballero? Absolutely critical in Malaga’s Champions League run he also excelled in the most significant domestic matches making save after stunning save. Given the challenging circumstances that surrounded La Rosaleda the Argentine goalie performed real heroics in a supremely satisfying year.

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus and Italy) 32 games, 0 goals **

Given the standards that Buffon has set during a phenomenal career this was not his best season. That he kept 19 clean sheets in the league shows quite how high the bar is set. The veteran keeper was widely criticized for David Alaba’s shock early goal in the Champions League quarter-finals but he remained as steady as ever in another authoritative season. Conceding just 19 goals in 32 Serie A appearances was evidence enough of his enduring quality.

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany) 31 games, 0 goals **

The only criticism one can level at Neuer for this season is that he was simply not worked enough. Such was the quality of Bayern’s defence and midfield the German international was rarely called upon to repeat the heroics he so often showed at Schalke. When, like in the Champions League final, he was required to be at his best Neuer more than stepped up to the challenge and it is difficult to see a keeper of his age who can match the numerous attributes he offers to the Bavarians.

Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid and Belgium) 37 games, 0 goals *

Only 21 years old but already staking a claim to be the world’s best goalkeeper, Courtois’ presence in the Atletico goal has been a core part of their exceptional season. For all the (deserved) attention devoted to the exploits of Falcao at the other end of the pitch, it has been their defence which has carried Atleti this season. The Belgian appears content to spend another season in Spain but it can only be a matter of time before Chelsea decide to recall such a potential gamechanger.

Rene Adler (Hamburg and Germany) 32 games, 0 goals *

A season of mixed fortunes for Hamburg has been one of great promise for Rene Adler. Although he conceded 51 goals in 32 games, including a remarkable nine in a thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich, he was so often the difference maker in a struggling side. Few imagined that the move would prompt a return to the German national team but he now looks poised to battle for the place of Manuel Neuer’s understudy.

David de Gea (Manchester United and Spain) 28 games, 0 goals *

The first half of the season saw David de Gea facing pointed questions over whether he was yet ready to be the trusted No. 1 at Old Trafford. The fact that he was producing some miraculous saves behind a porous defence was overlooked and his deficiencies on crosses magnified. As the campaign wore on and the defensive issues ebbed away the ability of De Gea came again to the fore and underlined that he should be in situ for years to come.

Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt and Germany) 26 games, 0 goals *

While Frankfurt fell away from the heady heights they hit at the start of the season it was still a remarkable year for a newly promoted side. In the early months of 2012-13 the entire side were in stellar form, but while others dropped away Trapp remained a cornerstone in an excellent defensive performance. Germany are spoilt for choice when it comes to promising young keepers but Trapp is certainly a worthy rival to the likes of Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Bernd Leno.

Federico Marchetti (Lazio and Italy) 33 games, 0 goals *

The importance of Federico Marchetti to a fine Lazio season cannot be overstated. With the Italian keeper between the posts his team conceded just 32 goals in 33 games, a defensive record that only Juventus clearly bettered. In the five matches that Marchetti missed the team allowed 10 goals and looked extremely fragile, proving his worth conclusively within an impressive defence.

Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain and Italy) 33 games, 0 goals *

Voted by his fellow professionals as the best keeper in France, Sirigu’s reliability was an enduring factor in PSG’s title victory. Tall and agile, the Italian keeper has few flaws and has offered an excellent foundation on which a fine campaign was founded. Only 26 he looks the natural successor for the national team to Gigi Buffon when the Juventus legend finally hangs up his gloves.

Samir Handanovic (Inter and Slovenia) 35 games, 0 goals *

At the halfway point of the season many felt that Inter were the most likely candidates to push Juventus all the way in Serie A. Instead the team collapsed in the spring and ended the year having let in 57 goals, only bottom club Pescara boasting a worse defensive record. That it wasn’t an even worse disaster was due principally to Handanovic who performed heroically in facing a barrage of shots on goal during a testing first season in Milan.

Mickael Landreau (Bastia and France) 38 games, 0 goals *

No goalkeeper in France this season has been tested more often than Landreau. Bastia can boast the worst defensive record in Ligue 1, but had it not been for the former France international they would surely have been facing relegation. Indeed Landreau’s form has been more than good enough to merit a deserved call up to the French national team for their summer internationals.

Fraser Forster (Celtic and England) 34 games, 0 goals *

In a season with Rangers banished to the fourth flight there was never any danger of Celtic failing to win the league. For that reason it was always going to be the Bhoys progress in other competitions on which their season would be judged. Forster’s European heroics, particularly against Barcelona, were critical in the team’s Champions League progress and while his dip in form in the league was of concern to fans it still marked a major achievement.

Honourable mentions

Asmir Begovic (Stoke City and Serbia)
Morgan de Sanctis (Napoli and Italy)
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa and USA)
Gorka Iraizoz (Athletic Bilbao and Spain)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur and France)
Steve Mandanda (Marseille and France)
Antonio Mirante (Parma and Italy)
Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax and Netherlands)
Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund and Germany)

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