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21st Oct 2018

Gigi Buffon gives his verdict on who are the top three goalkeepers in the world

Speaking on French TV, Buffon gave his opinion on a range of subjects, including who he ranks as the top three goalkeepers in world football

Reuben Pinder

This is a man who knows a thing or two about goalkeeping

It’s a debate that persists throughout every football season, and will probably never be settled. Rating defensive players is often more difficult than rating attackers. The art of defending requires a team effort, organisation, and communication. These intangibles, that come mostly from the manager’s directions, can make it difficult to definitively rank goalkeepers above one another.

Nevertheless, Gigi Buffon, who has enjoyed a long, illustrious career, gave it a go.

Speaking to Club Canal Foot in his current home of France, Buffon gave his opinion on a range of subjects, ranging from his competition with Alphonse Areola for the number 1 spot at Paris Saint-Germain, to the talent and potential of Kylian Mbappé.

During the interview, Buffon said that he believes Hugo Lloris should have won the prize for best goalkeeper at the World Cup ahead of Thibaut Courtois. And when asked to rank the best three goalkeepers in the world, he said:

“You want three names but I will forget 100. So I will say: Neuer of course, De Gea and Oblak… then there are others: Courtois, Navas. We are in an era where there are many great keepers.”

The role of the goalkeeper has changed over the years. Buffon has lasted for over 20 years at the top of the game, winning 11 Serie A titles with Juventus and a World Cup with Italy in 2006, but the modern ‘keeper has a different skillset.

More emphasis is put on the ‘keeper’s ability to sweep up in defence and start attacks with their feet, which Manuel Neuer and David De Gea excel at. Jan Oblak, meanwhile, boasts the incredible record of having kept more clean sheets (73) than conceded goals (72) in 125 games for Atlético Madrid since he arrived in 2014.

As Buffon said, “we are in an era where there are many great keepers”, who are all asked to do slightly different things by their managers, making it very difficult to narrow down a top three.

There will be very few arguments against Buffon’s list, though. Right?