10. Gianluigi Buffon (PSG)
Aged 40, it’s hard to know what to say about Buffon anymore. For 17 years, until summer 2018, he was the world’s most expensive goalkeeper of all time, having joined Juventus for an astonishing €52m in 2001 – a price tag which somehow came to look like a bargain over the following years.
World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden was an unfair end to the international career of an all-time legend, and yet Buffon handled it all with typical good grace. “It’s disappointing. Not for me,” he said, “but for the football movement, because we failed something that could have been truly important for the country.”
His time is coming to an end, but not yet: Buffon left Juventus to join PSG last summer, having won the Serie A Footballer of the Year prize in November 2017 and his eighth league title in May 2018. Is there one final triumph left in the tank?
9. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
His kicking will always be a stick to beat him with, but Tottenham fans are glad they have Hugo Lloris between the sticks more often than not.
The Frenchman’s ability to pull off breathtaking saves is among the best in the Premier League, and he remains a huge asset to his manager Mauricio Pochettino. His two saves against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 2017/18 were a case in point: one from point blank to deny Karim Benzema, then an acrobatic stop that kept out Cristiano Ronaldo’s rasping drive.
Lloris still has his moments, as he proved with that bizarre balls-up in the World Cup final against Croatia, but the Bleus skipper was magnificent through the tournament as a whole and deserves his place in this list.
8. Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)
For the best part of a decade, Handanovic had spent his Serie A career in the shadow of Gianluigi Buffon. Frankly, though, he was quite happy to stay there; unfussily getting on with his job and demonstrating the quiet consistency that has earned him so many admirers in Italy.
The Inter shot-stopper has been ever-reliable while those around him haven’t, and aged 34, has somehow seemed to get better with each season. The Slovenian is proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks, too: under Luciano Spalletti, Inter’s more patient build-up play has forced Handanovic to adjust his game accordingly.
He retired from international duty in 2015 to wave through Atletico Madrid’s brilliant Jan Oblak, but remains essential to his club side and has a contract at San Siro through to 2021.
7. Keylor Navas (Real Madrid)
It’s unfair for Navas that he’s behind Thibaut Courtois at Real Madrid, having been predictably demoted in the summer following his Belgian rival’s signing. It had long been coming: Florentino Perez seemed determined to upgrade on a net-minder who’d won three consecutive Champions League titles with Los Blancos, having been deterred by former manager Zinedine Zidane and a powerful dressing room cabal who like the Costa Rican.
The 32-year-old has always insisted that he is happy at the Bernabeu, but he has been restricted to a smattering of appearances across various competitions so far this season and deserves better.
6. Ederson (Manchester City)
It’s difficult to remember a goalkeeper emerging quite as impressively as Ederson. The year 2017 was a breakthrough one for the Brazilian net-minder, who earned a €40m move to Manchester City that summer and became the second-most expensive goalkeeper in history.
That came after a phenomenal 2016/17 season at Benfica in which he registered 17 clean sheets – 10 in 2017 – and proved to Pep Guardiola that he was the man to replace Claudio Bravo as a dependable sweeper-keeper. The Catalan was proved right: Ederson was magnificent as City romped to the Premier League title, keeping 17 clean sheets en route.