2024 FC 100: Neuer among best goalkeepers in men's soccer

From left: Emi Martinez, Alisson, Ederson Photo-illustration by MASA

It's not enough for the modern goalkeeper to be good with his gloves. These days, shot-stoppers are expected to start the attacking moves as well as shutting them down.

Agility and reflexes are par for the course, but the best goalies in the world also fuse a sense of confidence and daring in their penalty areas that make them seem truly larger than life.

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10. Gianluigi DONNARUMMA, Paris Saint-Germain/Italy

Key attributes/style of play: One of the best shot-stoppers on the goal line

Stat to know: Kept a 0.83 goals-against average in the 2023-24 Ligue 1 season, tied for the best in the league.

Why he's on the list: PSG winning the league again and reaching the Champions League semifinals have helped his cause, as have some of his outstanding performances this season. The Italy No. 1 has taken his game to another level. He still has things to work on -- like when to come for crosses, or his ball distribution -- but he has been unbeatable at times with PSG thanks to his incredible reflexes. At 25, he has everything he needs to be even higher on this list if he improves on his weak spots.

Projection for next season: Negotiations with PSG to extend his contract, which expires in June 2026, are about to start, though that's mostly to protect his transfer value. Some of his mistakes this season, notably in the Champions League knockout stages, have given coach Luis Enrique and the club some reason to ponder his future as their No. 1. -- Julien Laurens

9. Lukas HRADECKY, Bayer Leverkusen/Finland

Key attributes/style of play: An old-fashioned shot-stopper with great reflexes

Stat to know: 0.73 goals against per game in Bundesliga matches in 2023-24 (second fewest across Europe's top five leagues among goalkeepers with 20 games played).

Why he's on the list: A late bloomer in that he has just won his first major championship at 34, Hradecky was an integral part of Bayer Leverkusen's remarkable Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal wins in 2023-24. While he was less in the limelight than other players, he had his fair share of outstanding performances. Even though Leverkusen remained unbeaten throughout the Bundesliga season, there were moments in which the defense looked shaky and Hradecky needed to make monster saves to prevent defeat.

Projection for next season: Leverkusen will most likely not change their goalkeeper lineup, and Hradecky will not be considering a move. The only threat to his position in the lineup is Matěj Kovář, who played Leverkusen's Europa League and German Cup games. With the former Manchester United keeper being 10 years younger than Hradecky, Kovář is clearly waiting for Leverkusen's No. 1 to slip. -- Constantin Eckner

8. Yann SOMMER, Inter Milan/Switzerland

Key attributes/style of play: Experience, reflexes and excellent passing

Stat to know: Sommer has 19 shutouts this season in Serie A, the most in Europe's top five leagues this season.

Why he's on the list: At just over 6 feet tall, he's the shortest keeper on this list, but he has compensated for that with remarkably quick reaction times -- supposedly honed by the special glasses he uses in training -- a calmness under pressure and a preternatural sense of anticipation. Somewhat overlooked in his 11 seasons at Borussia Mönchengladbach -- though not by Switzerland, for whom he has 88 caps and counting -- he has twice stepped up to fill (supposedly) bigger shoes: last year at Bayern, coming in for the injured Manuel Neuer, and this season at Inter, when he took over following André Onana's switch to Manchester United.

Projection for next season: At 35 years of age and with two years left on his hefty contract, he's not going anywhere. -- Gab Marcotti

7. Mike MAIGNAN, AC Milan/France

Key attributes/style of play: Athleticism, distribution and leadership

Stat to know: Thirty-four catches on crosses in Serie A, third most in the league this season.

Why he's on the list: He's not just one of the best keepers in the world. "Magic Mike" is also a natural leader who commands respect among teammates and opponents alike. At 28, he's also the second-youngest keeper on this list and promises to continue improving.

Projection for next season: He hasn't had the best season on the pitch (at least relative to the year before, though Milan did finish second this season), but his status is pretty much unquestioned. His contract at Milan expires in 2026 and the club is keen for him to sign a new long-term deal. As ever, wages are going to be a big issue, and the France international is reportedly looking to double his salary, which might be a stretch for Milan. Were a really major offer to come in, you'd imagine they'd have to think about it long and hard. -- Marcotti

6. Manuel NEUER, Bayern Munich/Germany

Key attributes/style of play: Pioneer of the modern sweeper keeper that has become this generation's dominant style

Stat to know: Has the most clean sheets in Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League history.

Why he's on the list: Neuer once again played a strong campaign, which was particularly impressive given the severe leg injury he suffered in December 2022. He can have magical nights in which he looks superhuman and carries Bayern to rather undeserved wins. A proficient ball-playing goalie and a good shot-stopper despite technical shortcomings.

Projection for next season: If nothing unforeseen happens, Neuer will be Bayern Munich's starting goalkeeper and captain for at least another year, probably two. There have been no talks of him being replaced anytime soon. Neuer was lobbying for Thomas Tuchel to remain Bayern manager -- Vincent Kompany was ultimately named his replacement -- but the keeper will be able to work under almost anyone given his respectful demeanor inside the locker room. -- Eckner

5. Marc-Andre TER STEGEN, Barcelona/Germany

Key attributes/style of play: Ball-playing goalkeeper par excellence

Stat to know: Earned Zamora Trophy in 2022-23 after tying LaLiga's single-season record for clean sheets (26).

Why he's on the list: A lot of attention is given to his ability on the ball as a goalkeeper, but it's increasingly his leadership skills behind a young back four that have made him such a key player for Barça and such an outstanding figure on this list. Their season crumbled in December and January when Ter Stegen was injured, which further highlighted his importance. They shipped four or more goals in defeats to Girona, Real Madrid, Athletic Club and Villarreal, with stand-in stopper Iñaki Peña leaking 32 goals in his 17 games -- an average of 1.88. With Ter Stegen, Barça have conceded 37 times in 36 games -- a paltry 1.03 per game -- and have looked more comfortable playing out from the back.

Projection for next season: That said, it has still not been a perfect season for Ter Stegen, who recently moved beyond 400 Barça appearances. He will want to stay fit next term and rediscover the level he showed pre-surgery in Barça's 2022-23 title success. -- Sam Marsden

4. Jan OBLAK, Atletico Madrid/Slovenia

Key attributes/style of play: Old-fashioned, old school shot-stopper

Stat to know: Sixth all-time in LaLiga with 159 clean sheets (only Zubizarreta, Buyo, Casillas, Víctor Valdés and Cañizares have more).

Why he's on the list: Oblak has long been recognised as one of LaLiga's best goalkeepers and has been a key factor in Atlético Madrid's defensive solidity under coach Diego Simeone. (He's also one of just six players to make it into all eight editions of the FC 100 since the ranker was launched.)

In an era when coaches prioritize ball-playing keepers for distribution, Oblak's Atlético role is refreshing: making saves, though his level has dropped a bit in recent years. Oblak's save percentage in LaLiga peaked at 83.2% in 2017-18; it's down to 69.4% this season. His goals-against average is more than double what it was in 2015-16, too (1.16 compared to 0.47), although that's down as much to Atlético's defensive decline as Oblak's own.

Projection for next season: At one time, Oblak was regularly linked with a move to England, but that talk has died down as his form has dipped and Premier League teams have looked for other attributes in their keepers. He has a long-term deal, so barring an unexpected change of plans, he'll stay at Atlético as Simeone looks to rebuild the defense ahead of him. -- Alex Kirkland

3. Ederson, Manchester City/Brazil

Key attributes/style of play: His incredible distribution makes him crucial to Pep Guardiola's game plan

Stat to know: 0.83 goals-against average over the course of the past three Premier League seasons -- best of any goalkeeper during that span (min. 15 apps).

Why he's on the list: All great teams are built on rock-solid foundations, and Ederson's contribution to Manchester City's success is without question. His imposing presence and command of his penalty area makes City hard to beat with aerial balls, and his one-on-one shot-stopping is also impeccable. His ability to move the ball to teammates, both with short passes and inch-perfect long balls, enables the team to switch from defense to devastating attack in a split second.

Projection for next season: Ederson is going nowhere. As a key element of City's tactical approach under Pep Guardiola, the only question mark over the goalkeeping department is who acts as his No. 2. Stefan Ortega has done that with distinction over the past couple of seasons, but if he moves on to play regular football, City need to find somebody prepared to spend a lot of time on the bench studying Ederson's every move. -- Mark Ogden

2. Emi MARTINEZ, Aston Villa/Argentina

Key attributes/style of play: The king of mind games, especially on penalties

Stat to know: Second in Premier League with 8.42 goals prevented this season. Only José Sá of Wolverhampton Wanderers has more (9.45).

Why he's on the list: Since moving from Arsenal to Aston Villa four years ago, Martínez's rise to the top has been astonishing. Excellent on his line, strong, tall and agile, confident and aggressive, he is a proper leader and a reliable goalkeeper. At 31, he is now a World Cup and Copa América winner with Argentina, making a huge impact in both competitions. He was also a big reason Villa finished in the top four this season.

Projection for next season: Martínez is under contract until June 2027 and there is no way Villa will go into their first campaign in the European Cup in 41 years without their talisman goalkeeper. He very much wants to be part of the adventure. -- Laurens

1. ALISSON, Liverpool/Brazil

Key attributes/style of play: The best one-on-one goalkeeper in the world

Stat to know: Second-most goals prevented in the Premier League over the past two seasons (10.49); only Emi Martinez has more (11.49).

Why he's on the list: Alisson is the complete package. His distribution is top class, nobody is better when it comes to facing down a forward and winning a one-on-one, and he has the ability to make crucial saves in the biggest games. At 31, the Brazil international should have at least five more years at the peak of his powers for club and country.

Projection for next season: Liverpool need their senior players to step up for new coach Arne Slot following the departure of Jürgen Klopp, and Alisson will need to be a big figure under the new regime. Liverpool have an impressive No. 2 in Caoimhin Kelleher, but while the Ireland international is a reliable deputy, Alisson is the world's best. -- Ogden