"World Class Keeper": The IFFHS title ceremony
The title "World's Best Goalkeeper" is awarded by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, short IFFHS. The title has been awarded by the organisation since 1987. The editors of the IFFHS and experts from all over the world decide who wins the title.
The world's best keepers at a glance:
World Class Keeper 2018: Thibaut Courtois
"Being a goalkeeper in this day and age means much more than just making strong saves. It's also about fitting into the pitch, playing with your feet, shortening the distance between goalkeeper and the defence. A little bit of everything." - Thibaut Courtois interviewed by Sky Sport.
Training tip: Adaptability
"Adaptability is very important for a goal keeper. Of course there are always different situations in the game that you have to solve, for example by reflexes, one-on-one situations, crosses or header duels where you have to be physically strong. That's why you have to prepare differently every week as a goalkeeper, because every team follows a different approach." - Thibaut Courtois on Chelsea FC.
The following video gives you insight into the training of Thibaut Courtois (go to video 00:33 min):
World's best goalkeeper 2017, 2007, 2006: Gianluigi Buffon
"As a young guy, I thought I could conquer the world. What I didn't know was what you needed. Just being a really good keeper and having talent is not enough. Such a long career is the right mixture of a lot of ingredients: Passion, character, training obsession, happiness, the ability to suffer, just to name a few." - Gianluigi Buffon in an interview with torwart.de (in German).
Training tip: Balanced training
"We try to train as diversely as possible, to accommodate all areas in one training week. Strength training, catching exercises, flexibility, reflexes, technical subtleties, such things." - Gigi Buffon in an interview with torwart.de (in German).
The following video shows you exactly how Gigi Buffon does it:
World Class Keeper 2013-2016: Manuel Neuer
"To be a modern goalkeeper, I have to think offensively to safely initiate our attack movements. My two teams, FC Bayern Munich and the German national team, usually have ball possession 60 percent of the time. That's why I have to go out of the goal and be involved in the passing game from behind to move the ball to the first, second and third row." - Manuel Neuer in an interview with The Guardian.
Training tip: Reaction Time
"If you lie in the grass and have to get up, you get up differently depending on the side. This does not happen symmetrically. But the most important thing is that you can jump high and wide and get up quickly. It doesn't have to look perfect, but it has to happen fast." - Manuel Neuer in an interview with The Guardian.
Here you can see for yourself how Neuer trains at FC Bayern Munich:
World Best Keeper 2008-2012: Iker Casillas
"Personality defines the goalkeeper of a big team. I think you have that. By personality I don't mean yelling and waving. Being cold and calm can be just as important for a goalkeeper. Calm and personality must go hand in hand in a goalkeeper." - Iker Casillas in an interview with 11Friends (in German).
Training tip: Resistance training
To train vertical, Ilker Casillas works with resistance bands in the gym: When simulating a game situation, he trains short side jumps in order to achieve a greater distance during a free jump.
Goal Keeper 2005: Petr Cech
"The video footage for the Bayern shots [in preparation for the 2012 Champions League Final] lasted 2 hours and 43 minutes, during which we took a close look at every potential shooter. We watched every penalty kick of every player until 2007. Each of us looked at the video material alone and added notes and remarks. When it finally came to the game, we sat down and compared what each of us had noted down. And then we looked at it together again." - Petr Cech in Interview with Copa90.
Training tip: Enhancing game understanding with video material
"When I started working with Petr, he was 21 years old. During this time, we worked mainly on developing his understanding of the game. I wanted a goalkeeper who plays with his eyes. For me, the goalkeeper is a regular player with two hands. That's the basis of my goalkeeper philosophy. When Petr came to Rennes, he wasn't familiar with this way of thinking. To develop this understanding, we worked a lot with videos." - Christophe Lollichon about his collaboration with Petr Cech opposite goalguard.de (in German).
The Keepers of Tomorrow
Outstanding keeper performance is often over-shadowed by the forwards. However, the goal keepers presented here show that a player can also lead the way from the goal. But how does one reach the level of success of Casillas, Buffon and Co.?
What does the keepers presented have in common? Game experience spanning many years and versatile training sequences are important components to become a successful keeper. In addition, all goalkeepers presented impress with outstanding reflexes and reaction time. Finally, mental strength is a particularly important factor a goalkeeper should have in order to be successful.
To ensure your training is as successful as possible, we recommend you take a look at the following articles:
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