Despite goalkeepers traditionally being tasked with the most straightforward job in football, stopping the ball going in the net, it's fair to say their role has expanded over the years.


They are expected to also be comfortable in possession and act as a mini-playmaker by starting attacks. Quite simply, the ability to pick out a pass is what has come to define a great number one in the modern game.

The added responsibilities have increased the pressure placed on goalkeepers because errors they make frequently end up costing their team a goal and dominate the back pages of the papers.

It is said you have to be mad to go in goal... but who is the best in the business?

We've compiled a top 10 based on long-term success with a dash of short-term form, trophies won and key stats. Don't worry, we know you're probably going to disagree with us.

More like this brings you our definitive list of the 10 best goalkeepers in the world in 2024.

Check our more football features: Best players of all time | Best players in the world 2024 | Best strikers 2024 | Best wingers 2024 | Best midfielders 2024 | Best defenders 2024 | Best young players 2024 | Best teams in the world 2024

Ederson in action for Man City on a green background
Best goalkeepers in the world Getty Images

10. Diogo Costa (Porto)

Diego Costa in action for Porto
Diego Costa. Getty Images

A rising star in the goalkeeping ranks and firmly established as Porto and Portugal's number one, Diogo Costa was destined for the top after being lauded as the next big thing by the legendary Iker Casillas.

A serial trophy winner at club level, the 24-year-old combines shot-stopping with excellent distribution skills.

9. Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Manuel Neuer celebrates in action for Bayern Munich
Manuel Neuer. Getty Images

One of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the game, age and injuries are slowly catching up with Manuel Neuer but he continues to be Bayern Munich's first choice between the sticks.

A World Cup and dual Champions League winner, the original sweeper keeper has the biggest prizes in his trophy cabinet.

8. Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

Jan Oblak celebrates in action for Atletico Madrid
Jan Oblak. Getty Images

It is hardly surprising that Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, the manager that has come to define dogged football, relies on a goalkeeper that commands his box and can read the game better than most.

Jan Oblak has never appeared at the World Cup, but he has racked up plenty of individual gongs including the Zamora Trophy – awarded for the lowest goals-conceded-per-game ratio in La Liga – on five occasions.

7. Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)

Gianluigi Donnarumma gives a thumbs up to the cameras after a game
Gianluigi Donnarumma. Getty Images

It feels like Gianluigi Donnarumma has been around forever after making his debut for former club AC Milan at the age of 16 nearly nine years ago.

The big lad is a throwback to old school goalies compared to the modern ball-playing equivalents. He famously saved two penalties in the Euro 2020 final shootout against England to win the trophy for Italy.

6. Mike Maignan (AC Milan)

Mike Maignan is embraced from behind by AC Milan teammates
Mike Maignan. Getty Images

Mike Maignan is established as France's number one and it's his razor-sharp reflexes that make him a leading contender for the crown.

A Ligue 1 title winner with former club Lille in 2020-21, the AC Milan goalie played a key role in the team's Serie A triumph the following campaign and last season's run to the Champions League semi-finals.

5. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in action for Barcelona
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Getty Images

A goalkeeper that rarely gets the credit he deserves due to the fact he plays second fiddle to Manuel Neuer at international level, Marc-Andre ter Stegen has gradually established himself as one of the world's best.

The German enjoyed the best season of his career in 2022-23, conceding just 18 goals in 38 La Liga matches and keeping 26 clean sheets in the process.

4. Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)

Emiliano Martinez in action for Aston Villa
Emiliano Martinez. Getty Images

The winner of last year's Yashin Trophy following his exploits with Argentina at the 2022 World Cup, Emiliano Martinez has taken the long road to the top of the game after several loan spells in the EFL and limited opportunities at former club Arsenal.

The 31-year-old has become one of the best on the block at Aston Villa thanks to his lightning reflexes and aerial abilities.

3. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)

Thibaut Courtois in action for Belgium
Thibaut Courtois. Getty Images

One place higher is the previous winner of the Yashin Trophy thanks to a whole host of fine displays between the sticks including a man-of-the-match performance in that year's Champions League final.

A regular towards the top of these lists, Thibaut Courtois has missed all of the 2023-24 season due to injury but he's likely to pick up where he left off when he returns to action.

2. Ederson (Manchester City)

Ederson in action for Man City
Ederson. Getty Images

You would hardly think of Brazil as producing the world's best goalkeepers – but the South American nation boasts the top two. Spare a thought for their boss!

Touted for his ball-playing skills, Ederson's trophy cabinet is fit to burst after helping Manchester City to five trophies in 2023 alone.

1. Alisson (Liverpool)

Alisson in action for Liverpool
Alisson. Getty Images

Alisson's superb record on expected goals prevented marks the Liverpool stopper as the world's best goalkeeper. A crucial member of Jurgen Klopp's team that ended the Reds' league title drought in 2020, the Brazilian continues to operate at a ridiculously high level.

As well as shot-stopping, it is his smarts as a goalkeeper and ability with the ball at his feet that makes him oh so good.

Who is the best goalkeeper in the world?

Alisson has been at the top of his game for a number of years and seems to improve with every season. He was statistically the best goalkeeper in the Premier League in 2022-23 and has picked up where he left off in the current campaign, with Liverpool challenging for the title.


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