It is a well-known fact that the vast majority of today’s best soccer players and coaches are all concentrated in one place, and that is in Spain, competing in La Liga, the best soccer league on the planet. Fans, media, experts and pretty much everyone else likes to point out Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, James Rodríguez, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, among others, as the best La Liga players but, for whatever reason, we rarely see or hear the names of the goalkeepers being mentioned in the conversation, even though they are no less important and influential than the aforementioned stars. With this being said, we take a look at the three best goalkeepers playing in the world’s best soccer league!
Jan Oblak – 22 years old (January, 7 1993) – Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.86 m) – Weight: 170 lbs (77 kg) – Atlético Madrid
The Slovenian soccer player signed a six-year deal with Atlético Madrid in 2014 from Portuguese side Benfica for a fee of £12.6 million (€16 million), making him the most expensive goalkeeper in La Liga history and the eighth most expensive in soccer history. Viewed as the natural successor for Thibaut Courtois, who had returned to Chelsea, it took Jan Oblak some time to establish himself as the primary choice at Atlético Madrid, due to the excellent performance of Miguel Moya, the experienced goalkeeper who came from Getafe. But when Moya was injured during the first half of the Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen, Oblak’s big chance came and he grabbed it firmly with both hands, as three Leverkusen players were unable to beat him in the penalty shootout. The Slovenian played also a very important role in last season’s Copa Del Rey, keeping a clean sheet against bitter rivals Real Madrid and making an outstanding penalty save from Argentinian star Lionel Messi in the following round. Oblak’s main strengths are his impressive reflexes and the way he puts himself in position to stop close range shots. On the other side, he still needs to improve his foot work, his long passing and his discipline between the posts.
Jan Oblak – Best Saves 2015 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV2sUZecACI
Keylor Navas – 28 years old (December, 15 1986) – Height: 6 ft (1.84 m) – Weight: 171.9 lbs (78 kg) – Real Madrid
Keylor Antonio Navas Gamboa started his playing career in his home country with Saprissa, where he won six league titles. His impressive performances caught the attention of Spanish side Albacete, where he spent two seasons, before moving to Levante. During the 2013-2014 season, Navas was viewed as one of the best at his position in La Liga, and his outstanding display in the 2014 World Cup, prompted Real Madrid to spend €10 million to secure his services, with Navas putting pen-to-paper to a six-year contract with the Spanish giants. Following Iker Casillas’ departure from Real Madrid to Porto, Navas took the #1 shirt for the 2015–2016 season and was named the starter of the team, despite Real Madrid’s interest in Manchester United’s stopper David de Gea. Navas’ instinct and focus in his reactions, his composure and agility between the posts and the outstanding speed with which he recovers, are his main strengths. However, and despite making quite often nearly-impossible saves, Navas can sometimes be a little hesitant when to come out for crosses and he also doesn’t always manage to effectively clear the ball away from danger.
Keylor Navas – Best Saves 2015 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSnuBBzdrds
Ter Stegen – 23 years old (April, 30 1992) – Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.87 m) – Weight: 187 lbs (85 kg) – Barcelona
Marc-André ter Stegen was born in Mönchengladbach, a German town located just about 10 miles from the border with the Netherlands, and was regarded as a promising and talented goalkeeper from an early age. After more than three seasons as Mönchengladbach’s starting goalkeeper, where he proved all his credentials with his outstanding performances, Ter Stegen signed a five-year contract with Barcelona, making him only the second German goalkeeper in history (after Robert Enke, who also played for Mönchengladbach) to play for the Blaugrana. With only 23 years old, Ter Stegen is still a young player but he already is very strong in almost all aspects of the game. And what he still lacks in terms of leadership and his ability to read the game, he makes up for with his impressive aerial skills and his sharp reflexes. He is an extremely confident goalkeeper, very composed and relaxed on the ball, and one of his best areas of the game is his passing, as he can play and deliver the ball very well with both feet. If Ter Stegen develops, grows and matures as expected, he could become Barça’s starting goalkeeper for the next 10-15 years, and one of the best goalkeepers in the history of La Liga.
Ter Stegen – Best Saves 2015 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pYa34uZHG8.