One position that is extremely underrated in the sport of football is that of the goalkeeper. Think about it – the only time a goalkeeper has won the Ballon d’Or was in 1963 by Lev Yashin and none have done it since.
Manuel Neuer had a great chance to do it in 2014, having won the Bundesliga and German Cup along with the World Cup. Not only did the German win those trophies but he completely revolutionized the goalkeeper role with his sweeper keeper role while being one of the most outstanding players in the World Cup 2014, and yet, he lost out to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Other than that, they are extremely undervalued. Gianluigi Buffon aside, goalkeepers have barely cost the same amount as offensive players. How was Petr Cech so cheap (£11 million) for Arsenal to acquire even with all the circumstances? He’s a huge signing for the Gunners such that people are now legitimately considering them title threats to Chelsea and yet, he was allowed to leave for such a small fee? John Terry even said he could be worth 12-15 points alone for the Gunners.
How is Barcelona’s first choice keeper in Claudio Bravo only worth €9 million? How did Edwin van der Sar – arguably the best goalkeeper in EPL history when you consider his impact – cost Sir Alex Ferguson only £2 million? These fees are especially staggering when you consider the fact that average midfielders and strikers are sold for fees ranging from £10-20 million these days.
And what about wages? There is not a single goalkeeper who earns more than £150,000 per week. Defenders have it tough as well as Thiago Silva – arguably the best defender today – “only” earns around £140,000 per week. And yet, players who are as good at assisting or scoring goals as defenders and goalkeepers are at preventing goals are paid way more and even double the amount in some cases.
It’s definitely odd because goalkeepers are absolutely vital in today’s game. Not only are they the pillars of a good defense (and as we all know, offense wins you games, defense wins you championships), but they can literally be the difference between three points gained and three points lost.
You can have all the best attackers in the game but it’s all for nothing if your team is leaking in goals. That is certainly something United found out when they had to persist with Roy Carroll whose errors became a constant hilarity at one point.
Maybe it’s a good thing for managers as they know, if they look well enough, there’ll be a bargain for a top goalkeeper somewhere. However, goalkeepers deserve way more respect and recognition, especially when you consider how crucial they are for any team.