The last line of defense. That’s what goalkeepers are called because they literally embody that statement. If the ball goes past you, it’s over.

Being a goalkeeper is probably the hardest job in football. It’s very easy to be made the scapegoat for every loss. The world does not remember the saves but they remember the ones that go past you. Being a keeper is a thankless job with no glory. That is why most keepers are the best team players in the squad.

Right now, in the world, there are many exceptional goalkeepers around and since the game is changing so are the duties of the goalkeepers. With the game being more tactical-based and strategic the role of the keeper has changed. A 21st-century goalkeeper has to be good with his feet, needs to supply accurate passes on all ranges, and has to charge and sweep out potential dangers.

As more and more goalkeepers are being included in the build-up plays it has become a common requirement for goalkeepers to be comfortable with the ball. The age of traditional keepers is gone and the age of dashing, supercool sweeper keepers is on the rise!

So, on that note let’s take a look at the top 4 goalkeepers of this generation.

  1. Alisson

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 33 appearances
  • 10 clean sheets
  • 74.8% save percentage
  • 32 goals against
  • 37.9 expected goals against

Liverpool had a difficult season last year, falling far short of their typically lofty standards. The absence of Virgil van Dijk caused havoc in an otherwise sturdy backline, but Alisson remained his dependable self between the posts and helped provide Champions League football.

Not only is he a talented shot-stopper, but he is also a motivating presence behind the defense. Goalkeepers like Alisson, who is quick on his feet and seems to exude confidence all the time, are a rare species. Liverpool is fortunate to have him.

  1. Ederson

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 36 appearances
  • 19 clean sheets
  • 75% save percentage
  • 28 goals against
  • 29.2 expected goals against

Ederson’s ability to launch assaults from City’s box sets him apart from the rest of the world’s goalkeepers, making him the ideal fit for Pep Guardiola’s system. His shot-stopping and ground coverage is among the greatest in the game, thanks to his fast reflexes. His numbers were comparable to those from the previous season.

  1. Manuel Neuer

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 33 appearances
  • 9 clean sheets
  • 67.5% save percentage
  • 42 goals against
  • 44.2 expected goals against

It wasn’t long ago that Manuel Neuer was spoken in the past tense. A player who finished third in the 2014 Ballon d’Or vote began to deal with chronic foot ailments towards the end of the decade.

All of those misgivings and fears have since been dispelled, as Neuer – back to his confident best – led Bayern to a treble in 2019/20, before winning the Bundesliga for the ninth time in a row last season. Neuer had the most sweeper clearances in the German Bundesliga this season, as well as the highest pass completion, demonstrating that he is a valuable asset to Bayern’s attacking play as well as a superb goalkeeper. Manuel Neuer is still the best goalkeeper in the world on his day.

  1. Jan Oblak

2020/21 Season Stats:

  • 38 appearances
  • 18 clean sheets
  • 80% save percentage
  • 25 goals conceded
  • 31.8 expected goals against

The Slovenian goalkeeper guided Atletico Madrid to a La Liga-low 25 goals conceded in 2020/21, as Diego Simeone’s team won their first league title since 2013/14. His 18 clean sheets lead all La Liga goalkeepers, and his 0.66 goals conceded per appearance earned him the Ricardo Zamora Trophy for the fifth time in six years, becoming him the most decorated non-Spanish goalkeeper in La Liga. At only 28 years old, the best in the world may still be at his peak. Surprisingly, he allowed 6.8 fewer goals than projected previous season. Immense.