International Goalkeeper Day

Zuberbuhler picks out his favourite keepers of all time

 Pascal Zuberbuehler gives instructions during the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006
© Getty Images
  • Today is International Goalkeeper's Day
  • We speak with FIFA's goalkeeping expert, Pascal Zuberbuhler
  • He picks out his favourite goalkeepers of all time

Today marks International Goalkeeper's Day, a time to honour the heroes of the game who stand between the sticks and choose to use their hands in a sport called football.

The game would not be complete without their acrobatic saves and extravagant colourful jerseys, and today is a chance to appreciate the contribution they make to football. To do just this, we asked our resident goalkeeping expert Pascal Zuberbuhler (Goalkeeping Specialist – FIFA Technical Development Division) to tell us about his favourite international keeper of all time.

Of course, he said he couldn't name just one.

Zubi's Favourite Goalkeepers

Lev Yashin

"Looking back through history, first it must be Lev Yashin. It was impressive to see how he played all those years ago. He was a very offensive player, and played then the way that modern goalkeepers play today. His bravery and approach really raised the level of goalkeeping around the world."

Soviet Union's Lev Yashin helps West Germany's Uwe Seeler up during England 1966
© Getty Images

Gordon Banks

"Then, I must mention the 'save of the century', and Gordon Banks. For goalkeepers, their saves are the way they are judged. Although they have a lot of passing, positioning and communication to do, the crowd always remembers the saves above all else. Gordon Banks, by making that incredible save for England against Pele and Brazil in the Mexico World Cup in 1970... it was a crucial moment in goalkeeping history. It's one of those saves where even the goalkeeper will have no idea how he managed it! Spectacular."

Claudio Taffarel

"Next, to move to Brazil, I must mention Claudio Taffarel. In a football world, and particular in Brazil, where the focus is always on the strikers and the midfielders, here was a goalkeeper who drew attention, and set a new benchmark for the way the position could be played."

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Toni Schumacher and Jean-Marie Pfaff

"In my younger years, when I started to play football, I was always looking up to Toni Schumacher and Jean-Marie Pfaff."

Former Germany keeper Toni Schumacher in action
© Getty Images
Belgium's goalkeeper Jean Marie Pfaff
© Getty Images

Oliver Kahn and Peter Schmeichel

"And later on, Oliver Kahn and Peter Schmeichel, the two big legends for me who I have always followed massively."

Oliver Kahn the German goalkeeper during the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006
© Getty Images
Peter Schmeichel, Denmark goalkeeper, at EURO 1988
© Getty Images

Gigi Buffon

"Finally, I can't finish without mentioning Gigi Buffon. At his age, he is still there at the top level at Juventus. What he has done for Italian football and his club is incredible. He is an absolute top sportsman, professional, and his attitude and mentality is exceptional."

"It is too difficult to choose one! I could mention someone, but if I Iook at the history and the time these keepers played, they all achieved unbelievable and spectacular things in their own ways."

About the expert

On 1 November 2017, former Swiss international goalkeeper Zuberbuhler took up a part-time role as a goalkeeper specialist at FIFA, where he oversees the education of goalkeepers around the globe. The 50-year-old’s main duties at world football’s governing body include the further development of goalkeeper training and the educational structures in place all around the world, particularly in areas where only basic work has been done so far. He assumes the role of an observer and supports the development of football and goalkeeping in particular.

Pascal Zuberbühler joins FIFA Technical Development Division

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