We all love a nail-biter when we are watching a game, don’t er? One of the most dramatic events in international football is penalties. The odds of scoring from a penalty kick is only 50%. Isn’t that so?
Now imagine the stress the penalty-taker and the goalkeeper, -let alone the spectators, and us viewers- go through and suffer from. There is a high risk of cardiac arrest (just so you know). We all go to the edges of our seats to see if the penalty is saved or not. Saving a penalty can turn you into a one-game hero. But saving various penalty kicks, will turn you into a club or national hero. Below, we will go through the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever. It should also be noted that there no accurate statistics of goalkeepers such as Gordon Banks, or Lev Yashin. We don’t even know how many penalties Peter Shilton or Claudio Taffarel have denied! So, if you see that our list is mostly made up of 21st century goalkeepers, it is not our fault. Blame the football historians for their laziness. Now, without further ado, let’s go through the list of greatest penalty savers in history.
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Let’s begin our journey of exploring best penalty savers of all time. Buckle up, scroll down and enjoy the ride!
The first name on the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever isSamir Handanovic
. He tops the list of the most penalty saves by goalkeepers. The Inter Milan star and captain has saved a record 38 penalties during his professional career and this is not the end. Although the 36-years-old Slovak footballer has retired from the national team in 2015, he is still one of the crucial players in Internazionale. During the 2019-20 season, Handanovic equaled Gianluca Pagliuca‘s record of most penalties saved in Serie A. Both have 24 stops in Italy, but Samir Handanovic is unbeatable by a general number of saves. Taking into account the high chances of Inter to reach the 2020 Europa League final, its goalkeeper can renew his record.
Samir Handanovic is without a doubt, one of the goalkeepers with highest penalty saves of all time.
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The second name on the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever is the majestic Gianluigi Buffon. He is a legendary Italian goalkeeper who is considered one of the best players of all time. He regularly enters the tops of the best keepers in the world, but this time he finished second. With 30 penalty saves, Buffon is the runner-up on the list of most penalty saves by goalkeepers in the 21st century. Although Buffon has quit the Italian national team two years ago, he can still improve his penalty-saving rate in Serie A. Currently, the 42-years-old keeper plays in Juventus, the new champion of the domestic league. Buffon has many chances to try to reach the #1. Gigi Buffon should be considered as one of the
goalkeepers with highest penalty saves of all time
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The third place on the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever goes to Diego Alves. He is not a worldwide famous goalkeeper, yet, he managed to enter the top-3 by penalty saves and surpassed such beasts as Neuer or Cech. Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Alves has hit the top-3 of the best penalty savers since 2000. The 35-year-old keeper managed to overcome Neuer by just one extra save – during his career, Alves has made 26 stops. Diego Alves thinks of penalty kicks as "a psychological battle between the goalkeeper and the taker.”
Alves’s most successful career years have gone in Spain when he was playing for Almeria and then Valencia. Currently, Diego plays for Brazilian club Flamengo and its national team. He has made 10 appearances for the Brazilian national team. Diego Alves is surely one of the greatest penalty savers in history.
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The 4th name on the list of
goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever
is the magnificent beast, known as Manuel Neuer. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has always entered the lists of the best keepers in history. In 2014, he entered the top-3 in the FIFA Ballon d’Or voting, which rarely awards goalkeepers. Also, Neuer won several Player of the Year titles in Germany as well as four UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year awards.
Revolutionizing the role of a goalkeeper,Neuer
is now known as a “sweeper-keeper.” When the opposing team’s strikers have beaten the offside trap, he will act as a sweeper and comes out of his line to clear the ball. His communication skills have made him organize his defensive line in the most perfect order. This is mainly why Neuer hardly concedes goals.
Considering all Neuer’s achievements in football, it is not surprising that he is on the list of the most penalty saves by goalkeepers. During his career, he has made 25 stops – just one wasn’t enough to be placed 3rd in this top. The fortune smiles on Neur, as he probably will be higher on the list by 2021.
Neuer should definitely be on the list of goalkeepers with highest penalty saves of all time.
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The fifth name on the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever is Gianluca Pagliuca. A fast, consistent and professional goalkeeper. This is the definition I can give you, of Gianluca Pagliuca. Known for his penalty-stopping abilities, he has the record of 24 saves to his name. Pagliuca was praised for his excellent positional sense, and acrobatic reflexes. Yet, his main strength was between the posts.
When Arrigo Sacchi was in charge, Pagliuca acted as a sweeper-keeper, since Sacchi believed in high defensive lines. Pagliuca has been considered by many Italian experts as one ofItaly
’s best goalkeepers ever. He was also dubbed as “The Wall”, referencing to his strong reactions and reflexes between the posts.
Gianluca Pagliuca should definitely be considered as one of the
greatest penalty savers in history
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The sixth name on the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever is Petr Cech. Although Cech is mostly known for his iconic rugby style headguard, his goalkeeping skills made him a lot more popular among Chelsea, and until recently, Arsenal fans. Petr Cech is a record holder in a number of items, such as the most number of clean sheets in one season, or 100 clean sheets in 180 appearances in the English Premier League. Most of the Italian online gamblers bet on Petr Cech, since he has saved 21 penalties in his career. These online websites give him great odds. Petr Cech has been considered by many fans and pundits as one of the greatest, and most respected goalkeepers of his generation. His professionalism, along with his charismatic character and strong mentality turned him into an all-rounder. Petr Cech is definitely one of the best penalty-stopping goalkeepers of all time.
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The seventh name on the list of
goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever
is Mickael Landreau. Sitting at the same chair and level with Petr Cech, and the unknown Italian goalkeeper, Andrea Consigli, Landreau made 21 penalty saves in his career, which made him famous and an expert in saving penalties. Saving a penalty, at the age of 17, when you are playing your first Ligue 1 professional match, is a job only done by Mickael Landreau. Let me put it this way, when Landreau left FC Nantes, they were relegated to Ligue 2 for the first time since 1963. The number of caps he has made during his career is exceptional. 759 caps in his entire career. This shows a whole other level of consistency, and longevity that is only produced among top-level goalkeepers. Landreau was often overlooked by several goalkeepers, including Sebastian Frey, Gregory Coupet, and Steve Mandanda. Mickael Landreau is definitely one of the
top penalty-stoppers in football history
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The 8th name on the list of Goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever is Andrea Consigli. Italy is known for the vast number of skillful goalkeepers introduced to the world of football, such as Dino Zoff, Walter Zenga, Angelo Peruzzi, Francesco Toldo, and the fantastic Gigi Buffon. Andrea Consigli is known to us football nerds and pundits, but few people know him. The reliable Sassuolo goalkeeper was known to the world of football when he was playing for Atalanta. He is one of the most underrated goalkeepers in Italy, as he was unlucky that most of the Italian coaches favored Federico Marchetti over him. Consigli is famous for his goalkeeping skills, especially in one-on-one situations, and penalty-stoppings. Consigli has always stated that his role model in goalkeeping isGianluigi Buffon
Consigli is without a doubt, one of the
best penalty savers of all time
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The 9th place on the list of
goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever
The Bremen Wall
”. Rost was a rock-solid goalkeeper. Bundesliga strikers often dreamed of passing this wall and scoring. Frank Rost was unlucky to be born in the golden generation of German goalkeepers, such as Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann, Tim Weise, Roman Weidenfeller, and the late Robert Enke. Rost was the second goalkeeper to score in an open play in Bundesliga, after Jens Lehmann. Rost played for three major clubs in Bundesliga, includingWerder Bremen
, Schalke 04, and Hamburger SV. The Bremen Wall saved 20 penalties in his career, and retired in MLS team, New York Red Bulls, in 2012. Frank Rost should definitely earn a place in the list of most penalty saves by goalkeepers of all time.
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The 10th place on the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever is “San Iker” or “Saint Iker”. Once worshipped by Los Galacticos fans, he had to leave Madrid in tears and join Porto after spending 25 years of his life in Real Madrid. Casillas made all football fans worry for him after a sudden heart attack in a training session in Porto, in May 2019. he eventually retired in February 2020. Casillas was known by many of his former and current goalkeepers as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, due to his great skill of making acrobatic and decisive saves.
Inspired by Luis Arconada, he mastered the ability to save the ball with his feet with great composure. San Iker boasts a record of 20 penalty saves in his career. He was known, not only for his abilities in shot stopping, penalty-saving and denying one-on-one situations, but also for his strong character, and calm personality. He always kept his cool under the pressure. Casillas was a natural born-leader. Gigi Buffon once admired him for his excruciatingly long list of achievements, and his consistent performances in the top level. Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia once stated that Casillas can “...move between the posts like a cat.” Iker Casillas is surely one of the
best penalty-stopping goalkeepers of all time
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The 11th name on the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever is Benoit Costil. FC Girondins de Bordeaux captain, Benoit Costil is surely unknown to most of the Sportmob readers. But Costil is one of the goalkeepers who is an expert in denying penalty shots. With 20 saves to his name so far, he still has the opportunity to up his game, and proceed to the top of the table. He hasn’t been around in Ligue 1 a lot, as he was named Ligue 2 goalkeeper of the season when he was in Sedan. He joined Rennes to celebrate his comeback to Ligue 1. His spell in Rennes lasted for 6 years, after which he joined Girondins de Bordeaux in 2017. In 2019, he extended his contract and was immediately named as the club’s captain. Costil has only played 1 match for France national team, captaining his side to a 1-0 win over Ivory Coast. Costil should be considered as one of the
Top penalty-stoppers in football history
Who else do you think should be added to the list of goalkeepers with most penalty saves ever? Comment down below.