Best La Liga Goalkeepers of all time
There is an old saying in football that an average team with a good goalkeeper is a well-competitive tram, but a mediocre goalkeeper in a good team makes it average. In today's modern football goalkeepers are not only responsible for marshalling the defense line, but also have to get involved in the play. the are the first player in the attacking form, just as the strikers are the first line of defense, when the ball is lost. In the following article we have selected the best goalkeepers in the history of Spanish La Liga.
From the legendary Ricardo Zamora who re-defined the role of goalkeepers in the early decades of football, to the giant wall of Atletico Madrid, Jan Oblack, who somehow managed to win four Zamora Trophies in just 6 years, here is the list of the best goalkeepers in La Liga History.
All you need to know about the La Liga Best Goalkeepers of all time
In the following article SportMob will have a brief look at the careers of the Best goalkeepers in the history of the Spanish La Liga.
- Years Active in La Liga: 12 years (2004-2016)
- Clubs in La Liga: Barcelona
- Club and International Honors: La Liga Tile (6), Copa Del Rey (2), Spanish Super cup (6), Uefa Champions League (3), Uefa Super Cup (2), Club World cup (2), FIFA World Cup (1), Uefa European Championship (1)
- Individual Honors in La Liga: Zamora Trophy (5), La Liga Best Goalkeeper of the season (2), Team of the season (1)
Including Victor Valdez in the list of Best La Liga Goalkeepers of all time should not be a head-scratcher in any way, considering his amazing achievements in the blaugrana shirt, but there is only one problem. He was consistent both in giving heroic performances, and in making horrible mistakes.
Known for his composure between the sticks and ability to play with his feet, the Spaniard is also remembered for his costly howlers at crucial moments, most notably in the Spanish Super cup against Real Madrid that lead to a crucial away goal by Angel Di Maria which won Real Madrid the cup in the second leg. Despite these mistakes, Valdez contributed a lot to Barcelona's historical achievement both under Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola.
His best games were the two UEFA Champions League finals against Arsenal (2004-2005), in which he denied Thierry Henry in two one-on-one chances and against Manchester United (2008), when he frustrated Cristiano Ronaldo with two world-class saves.
In 2014, a scientific study by the Spanish Center of Football History and Statistics named Valdez as the best goalkeeper in the history of La Liga, after analyzing the career of almost 800 goalkeepers in the history of the league. During his career Valdez played 387 games for Barcelona and won the prestigious Zamora trophy a record 5 times, 4 of which were achieved in the Guardiola era.
He was also a part of Spain's all-conquering squad in the 2010 world Cup and the 2012 Uefa European Championship although he was the second-choice goalkeeper behind Iker Casillas and did not feature in any matches.
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- Years Active in La Liga: 20 years (1988-2008)
- Clubs in La Liga: Real Madrid, Celta Vigo, Valencia
- Club and International Honors: La Liga Tile (3), Copa Del Rey (1), Spanish Super cup (2), Uefa Champions league (1 win and 2 runner-ups), Uefa cup (1), Uefa Super cup (1)
- Individual Honors in La Liga: Zamora Trophy (4)
Nicknamed the Black Cat by the fans for his quick reflexes, Santiago Canizares was one of the best La Liga goalkeepers of all time and among the members of the last golden generation of Spaniards who underachieved at the international level. However, His achievements at the club level were amazing.
He graduated from Real Madrid's Academy and was the second-choice keeper for Los Blancos in the Champions League final triumph over Juventus in 1998. The following season Canizares left Madrid for Valencia, where he helped Los Che win their last La Liga titles (2001 and 2002) and reach two consecutive UEFA Champions League finals (1999–2000 and 2000–01).
Valencia lost both finals, to Real Madrid and Bayern Munchen respectively. Yet Canizares had one of the best games of his career in the penalty shoot-out loss against Bayern Munchen, in which he saved a Mehmet Scholl penalty in normal times of the game.
Cañizares won the Zamora Trophy four times in his career, establishing his place in the list of Best Goalkeepers in La Liga history. He is the third in the list of goalkeepers with most Zamora Trophies, behind Victor Valdez (5) and Antoni Ramallets (5).
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- Years Active in La Liga: 6 years (20014-Present)
- Clubs in La Liga: Atletico Madrid
- Club and International Honors: Spanish Super cup (1), Uefa Champions league (1 runner-up), Uefa Super Cup (1), Uefa Europa league (1)
- Individual Honors in La Liga: Zamora Trophy (4), La Liga Best Goalkeeper of the season (4), La Liga Team of the season (2), Uefa Champions League Team of the season (2)
The Slovenian Giant is surely one of the Best Goalkeepers in La Liga history despite playing only seven seasons in Spain. Oblack individual achievements in such a short time have been really impressive. He has won the Zamora Trophy in four out of the six seasons he has spent in Atletico Madrid, all of them achieved in a consecutive manner. His best record was set in 2014-2015 season, in which he only conceded 18 goals in 38 matches.
An all-time record which proves yet again why Oblack should be considered in the list of Best La Liga Goalkeepers of all time.
Some would argue that Oblack has benefited immensely from Diego Simeone's ultra-defensive tactics, yet he has truly been a wall in the goal for his team. Oblack has played a total of 257 games for Atletico Madrid in all competitions, 191 of them have been in Spanish La Liga.
He is the fastest goalkeeper to reach 100 clean sheets in La Liga (in 182 games) and the first non-Spanish goalkeeper in history .to become a centenary in the Spanish Primera Division. he has surely proved that he is among Best La Liga Goalkeepers of all time
- Years Active in La Liga: 20 years (1942-1963)
- Clubs in La Liga: San Fernando, Mallorca, Valladolid and Barcelona
- Club and International Honors: La Liga Tile (6), Copa Del Rey (5), Spanish Super cup (3),
- Individual Honors in La Liga: Zamora Trophy (5)
Another Great Barcelona Goalkeeper in the list of Best La Liga Goalkeepers of all time, Antoni Ramallets is the only player in La Liga history with 5 Zamora Trophies and the only one with four consecutive ones. (He shares both records with Victor Valdez). His best season in terms of goals Conceded Ratio was in the 1958-1959 season in which he conceded only 23 goals in 28 games for Barcelona.
Ramallets was one of the starts of the Legendary Barcelona side which conquered five domestic titles in the 1951-1952 season. He played 288 times for Barcelona and was Spain's Goalkeeper in the 1950 .FIFA World Cup. He is without a doubt one of La Liga Best Goalkeepers of all time
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- Years Active in La Liga: 18 years (1980-1998)
- Clubs in La Liga: Alavez, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia and Barcelona
- Club and International Honors: La Liga Tile (6), Copa Del Rey (3), Spanish Super cup (3), Uefa Champions League (1), Uefa Super Cup (2), Club World cup (2), UEFA Cup (1)
- Individual Honors in La Liga: Zamora Trophy (1)
Known as Zubi among football fans, Andoni Zubizarreta is undoubtedly one of La Liga's Best Goalkeepers of all time. The charismatic shot-stopper kept many records in the Spanish football to his name for many years. Among them are the record for most clean sheets in La Liga history and the all-time record of most appearance in the league with an incredible sum of 622 games, Half of which he played at FC Barcelona between 1986 to 1994.
Zubizarreta won the Zamora Trophy only once during his career, which is rather unusual given the quality and consistency of his performances in Barcelona and Valencia shirts. His best season on personal levels was at the 1986-1987 season in which he conceded only 29 goals in 43 matches for Barcelona. He presented Barcelona on two UEFA Champions League Finals which had bitter-sweet outcomes for the veteran goalkeeper.
In his first UCL final (1992), Barcelona beat Sampdoria 1-0 to win its first-ever UEFA Champions League. The second Final (1994) was an altogether different story as Johan Cruyff Dream Team were humiliated 4-0 by Arrigo Sacci's AC Milan. A heavy defeat which surely put an end to both Cruyff's managerial era and Zubizarreta's career in Barcelona. Despite the frustrating ending to .his career, zudizarreta is considered among Best La Liga Goalkeepers of all time.
- Years Active in La Liga: 22 years (1916-1938)
- Clubs in La Liga: Espanyol, Barcelona and Real Madrid
- Club and International Honors: La Liga Tile (2), Copa Del Rey (1-Runner-up)
- Individual Honors in La Liga: La Liga Best Goalkeeper of the season (3)
A great goalkeeper, a stylish icon, a war prisoner and an actor, Ricardo Zamora was all of those in one brilliant character. According to many critics, Zamora is the Best La Liga Goalkeeper of all time.
Zamora had an eventful life. His outspoken, adventurous, and bright personality contributed a lot to his popularity in his home nation. He was a war prisoner in the Spanish civil war. His unique habit of wearing a cloth cap and a white polo-neck jumper on the field was imitated by many of his contemporaries. He even got arrested once for trying to smuggle Havana Cigarettes. He also appeared in two movies named Por fin se casa Zamora (1926) and ¡¡Campeones!! (1943).
He won the award for the best goalkeeper in the first, fourth, and fifth seasons of La Liga. The award named after him in 1958 to honor his numerous achievements in La Liga and with the Spanish national team.
During his career, Zamora played for Barcelona, Espanyol, and Real Madrid. He was the star of the Barcelona Team when it won its first Copa Del Rey (1920). After Joining Real Madrid in 1930, Zamora helped Los Blancos win their first-ever La Liga title in 1932. His best season was in 1931-1932 in which he conceded 15 goals in 17 matches.
But the game he is most remembered for was Spain's historic 4-3 win against England in 1929, where Zamora heroically kept playing despite fracturing his sternum during the game. he is surely one of the Best La Liga Goalkeepers of all time.
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- Years Active in La Liga: 16 years (1999-2015)
- Clubs in La Liga: Real Madrid
- Club and International Honors: La Liga Tile (5), Copa Del Rey (2), Spanish Super cup (4), Uefa Champions League (3), Uefa Super Cup (2), Club World cup (1), FIFA World Cup (1), Uefa European Championship (2)
- Individual Honors in La Liga: Zamora Trophy (1), La Liga Best Goalkeeper of the season (2), Team of the season (1), FIFA World Cup Dream Team (1), UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament (2), Golden Boot (1)
From an early age, Iker Casillas was in many ways a phenomenon and right from the start he proved that he can be among the Best La Liga Goalkeepers of all time. He joined Real Madrid as a teenager and had his first-team debut in La Liga and UCL within three days, at the tender age of seventeen. His quality, maturity, and composure were such that he immediately proved himself as Madrid's first-choice goalkeeper.
The teenager's first four years with Real Madrid were legendary as Los Blancos won two UEFA Champions League and two La Liga titles, among many other titles. However for the next 10 years, Barcelona became the most powerful team in Spain and Casillas had less success, comparing to his early years. A fact which somehow explains why he only won one Zamora trophy, despite consistently giving impressive performances for Real Madrid.
Nicknamed "the saint" for his modest and charitable personality, Casillas was one of the most popular players in the history of La Liga, even respected by his rival's fans. He had a key role in Spain's historical achievements on the international level, as the national team won The FIFA World cup and two back-to-back UEFA European Championships from 2008 to 2012. During this spell, Casillas won another two La Liga and one UCL Title with Real Madrid. Establishing himself as one of La Liga Best Goalkeepers of all time.
In 2015, a season-long dispute with Madrid's then manager, Jose Mourinho forced Casillas to leave Madrid for FC Porto, and put an end to his La Liga career. He had a successful three-year spell in Porto before retiring in 2020, one year after suffering a heart attack in training.
Casillas has many all-time records written to his name. Some of the most important ones are as follow:
- Most clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League (57)
- Youngest goalkeeper to win a UCL final. (19 years and four days)
- Most international clean sheets (102)
- Most clean sheets in a single edition of the FIFA World Cup( 5 in 2010)
So what do you think about the list? Any other goalkeeper who should be included? let us know in the comments below.