There once was a time where Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon were the undisputed big two when it came to being the best goalkeepers in the word. Naturally, as time went by, they got older but their experience overshadowed their age and they continued to be vital to both club and country.
With the rise of Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer however, they’re no longer the best now but they’re still legends in their own right. However, it’s ironic that the younger of the two in 33-year-old Casillas is declining quicker than the 37-year-old Buffon.
Both players are captains for their club and country so not only are they worshiped because of their ability and past performances but because they’re leaders for the rest of the team. Buffon is still going strong as it looks highly unlikely that anyone will dislodge him from the starting eleven for Italy and Juventus. It’s not even a case of no competition as Salvatore Sirigu of PSG is a great goalkeeper who is no doubt, next in line for the Azzurri. It’s just that there’s been no reason to drop Buffon.
The same cannot be said for Casillas who faces competition from Keylor Navas at club level and Manchester United’s David De Gea at international level – the latter of which is heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid.
It all started in the 2013/2014 season where Casillas was dropped for Diego Lopez but played in the cup and Champions League games. As Carlo Ancelotti’s side made it to the final, Casillas was given the chance to start in the eleven and end the dreaded La Decima curse. Los Blancos ended up doing just that but they were really lucky as a 90th minute equalizer against Atletico ended up being a 4-1 win in extra-time. They were only losing in the first place thanks to a horrendous error by Casillas which allowed Diego Godin to score.
Casillas proceeded to start in the World Cup for Spain and had one of his worst performances as Spain lost 5-1 to Holland in the opening group stage game. La Roja eventually failed to go past the group stage as Casillas couldn’t win another World Cup.
To his credit, Casillas started the 2014-2015 season well after the departure of Diego Lopez. However, it didn’t last too long as a series of individual mistakes have cost Real Madrid in recent months.
It would be fitting if Buffon’s Juventus side went on to reach the final of the Champions League after defeating Casillas’ Real Madrid side 2-1 earlier this week. If you are into football betting, putting your money on Juventus to qualify for the next round should be a smart bet.
However, it could easily become 2-1 to Los Blancos at the Bernabeu and we could be in for penalties in which the goalkeepers decide the fate of their team.
No matter what happens next week, one of these goalkeepers will end up being crucial for their side and even if they cause a blunder, they’ve accomplished way too much in their careers for it to have a dent on their names.