Edwin van der Sar claimed the all-time British record for minutes without conceding a goal during Manchester United’s 1-0 win over West Ham on Sunday.
The Dutch veteran also took the 30-year-old English record from Steve Death last week. Death’s name, with all due respect to the former Reading custodian, is not up there with the game’s greats. So who is in Van der Sar’s league as football’s finest shot-stoppers, the men who rarely get the credit but often cop the flak Here, Football Fanzone presents a run down of the best goalkeepers in history. Read through our picks and tell us if you disagree or if we’ve missed anyone in the Sound Off box below. What do you think of van der Sar’s inclusion Lev Yashin (USSR) Yahsin is the only goalkeeper ever to be named European Footballer of the Year, in 1963. Dubbed the Black Spider for his all-black outfit and what seemed like eight limbs, the Russian even invented the concept of the keeper as sweeper. In the days when keepers were not protected by referees as they are today, Yashin’s bravery and acrobatics were legendary and 207 clean sheets and 150 penalties saves he made in a 22-year career tell their own story. The best keeper at each World Cup is presented with the Yashin Award.
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Dino Zoff (Italy) Zoff is one of just two goalkeepers to lift the World Cup having captained Italy to their third crown in 1982. He was already 40 then, making him the oldest World Cup-winning captain too. But the unflappable Zoff’s achievements don’t end there: he holds the record for the longest playing time without conceding in international tournaments (1,142 minutes) set between 1972 and 1974. And with 112 caps, he ranks third in the Azzurri’s all-time list. A true great. Gordon Banks (England) “What a save,” so the commentary runs to the finest piece of goalkeeping ever and one of football’s most memorable moments. Pele was certain he’d scored after meeting Jairzinho’s center, heading powerfully down into the left-hand corner of the net in Brazil’s 1-0 1970 World Cup group win over England. But somehow Banks scrambled across, miraculously diving to push the ball up over the bar. Banks might have been immortalized by that stop, but his absence through illness from England’s subsequent quarter-final against West Germany was perhaps more telling when his replacement Peter Bonetti was made a scapegoat for the defending champions’ defeat. Peter Schmeichel (Denmark) Schmeichel will go down as Sir Alex Ferguson’s best signing for Manchester United, certainly pound-for-pound. Bought for just $750,000 in 1991, the imposing Schmeichel would provide United everything a world-class goalkeeper requires — including the ability to launch a swift counter-attack. He won Euro 92 with Denmark and the Treble with United in 1999, while 13 career goals are not to be sniffed at either. He played on a season too long, maybe, but on his day there were few better. Edwin van der Sar (Holland) At 38, the rangy Van der Sar is in the very twilight of his career — but what a career it’s been. The man from Voorhout holds the record number of caps for Holland, he’s won the Champions League twice and is on course to win a third Premier League title in a row with Manchester United this season. All of which makes you wonder how come he spent so long at Fulham United fans would love to have had Van der Sar way before 2005; he has proved to be the definitive Schmeichel replacement. Iker Casillas (Spain) It’s easy to take Casillas’ brilliance for granted, but stand back and look at his career and it’s clear he’s already one of the greats. Real Madrid have always been able to lure the best, yet they’ve had the agile Casillas as their number-one No.1 since 1999 — when he was still a teenager. Still only 27, Casillas is contracted to the club until 2017. He’s already won two Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles. At international level he came into his own during 2008 by captaining Spain to the European Championship, becoming the first goalkeeper to do so. Ricardo Zamora’s legacy is safe hands. Pat Jennings (Northern Ireland) Jennings was a late starter in the position and famously had no official coaching. His international career spanned a record-breaking six World Cups (including qualifying campaigns) across 22 years. By the time he came out of retirement to play for Northern Ireland at Mexico 1986, Jennings was 41 and ended the tournament with 119 caps. He played more than 1,000 games, including crossing the bitter north London divide by playing for Tottenham and Arsenal. The unflappable Jennings’ enormous hands were his trademark and the curse of many an attacker. Gianluigi Buffon (Italy) Buffon vies with Casillas and the Czech Republic’s Petr Cech to be considered the best goalkeeper around at the moment, but in a country with a long tradition of high-quality No.1s Buffon is up there with the very best. Winning the 2006 Yashin Award was the perfect riposte to his critics after Juventus’ dramatic fall from grace owing to match-fixing. Buffon, an imposing figure with no obvious weaknesses, stayed loyal to the Old Lady, who made him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper in 2001 when they paid Parma $46.2m for him. He’s been worth every cent. Jose Luis Chilavert (Paraguay) If there’s one thing a goalkeeper is not expected to do — other than to make a mistake — it’s score a goal. Given Chilavert netted no fewer than 62 times in his career, including eight for his country, it seems only fair he should be included on this list. Brazil’s Rogerio Ceni may have outscored him and Rene Higuita of Colombia might have out-done him on the chutzpah front, but Chilavert’s pioneering free-kicks and penalties have made him a legend. Mohamed Al-Deayea (Saudi Arabia) Goalkeepers are known for their longevity and ability to perform into their 40s. That makes Al-Deayea a relative youngster at just 36, but the Saudi Arabian holds the world record for the most number of international appearances. Over a 16-year career for the Middle Eastern country, Al-Deayea racked up a scarcely believable 181 caps.. Having started his career playing handball, Al-Deayea went on to play in three World Cups — and was even on the receiving end of an 8-0 thumping by eventual finalists Germany at the 2002 tournament. Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico) This one is from the left-field and a little premature for a list containing the best goalkeepers of all time. But much is expected of Ochoa, Mexico’s up-and-coming talent. He’s already been linked with a move to Manchester United and he is on the radar of a number of Europe’s top clubs. Reliant on his amazing reflexes, Ochoa is one of the best shot-stoppers out there and great at on-the-spot improvised saves. Ochoa’s already established in the Mexico set-up and is already such a big star already that the American release of the FIFA 09 video game featured him on the front cover. Definitely one to watch.