The New Goalkeeper Hype

While Edwin Van Der Sar heads towards his midlife crisis and Gianluigi Buffon finding it difficult to maintain his sleek hair, new emerging keepers have come into question.

The top 3 Spanish goalkeepers, as well as Brazil’s#1 are still considered top class, however in the past couple years new names have emerged and have taken over as the #1 for top clubs and national teams.

France #1 - Hugo Lloris

The German’s have not had success in developing a goalkeeper since, arguably the best goalkeeper to date, Oliver Khan. In recent years a new, equally as pale and lengthy keeper has earned the #1 for Germany. Manuel Neuer has been compared to The Oliver Khan for the past 2 years. I’ve watched him rather closely and can tell he has the reflexes to top Iker Casillas, but Neuer is also currently sitting bottom of the table with Schalke 04.

soon-to-be Manchester United's #1 - Anders Lindegaard

Ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez was once recognized as one of the world’s greatest in net. For a few years he was MU’s #1 and during his time in Ligue 1, he won the European Cup. 1998 was the year he became a celebrity as he conceded just 2 goals in 7 games en route to winning the World Cup in front of his home crowd. Since then, a new face has emerged as 24 year old Hugo Lloris has now taken over as the French #1. A dismal performance by France in the previous World Cup destroyed Lloris’ image, however he is the most highly regarded keeper in France. Lyon would not be able to consistently compete in the close title race in France nor enter Champions League without him.

Somehow, Nordic countries have been able to consistently create some of the world’s best keepers to this day. Edwin Van Der Sar has been one of the EPL’s best if not The Best in the last few years. Last month, the most capped player in Dutch Football history turned 40, an age that is unheard of for most footballers, let alone athletes. I know goalkeepers are better with age, but 40+ is pushing it. Manchester United always manage to have top class goalkeepers and the hype is now behind a 26 year old that comes from the same country as the great Peter Schmeichel. Denmark native, Anders Lindegaard is set for his medical sometime in the near future and is all the talk to become the new Red, or green or blue or yellow, Devil #1. Van Der Sar has worn just about every color of the rainbow.

Still hard to pronounce - Itumeleng Khune of SA

One of the better goalkeepers, or at least one of the most talked about, did not come from Europe, Asia, nor South America. If you can pronounce his name you have conquered something. Itumeleng Khune, the South African Bafana Bafana goalkeeper. Nobody knew who he was until the host nation allowed him to distribute the ball for the first time. There is not a single goalkeeper in the world besides this guy that can side-volley a ball to a winger on the touchline without it going 40+ feet in the air. If there is one player with unusually large gloves on that I can trust to give a backpass to, it would be Mr. Itumeleng Khune. I don’t think South Africa’s hopes laid on the shoulders of Steven Pienaar, who hardly showed up during the summer, nor the long haired Tshabalala, but rather their keeper that kept them in the tournament. An unfortunate red card saw him off due to a Luis Suarez dive inside the box, but no other goalkeeper in the tournament could drop kick a ball right to a players foot. Get Khune out of Africa, someone could use his talents in Europe. If it is any consolation, you can probably sign his brother too. His name is Lucky Khune.

Itumeleng Khune


A Look Ahead at EL CLASICO

Anyone that says La Liga is too slow is an idiot. Somehow long ball after long ball qualifies as a fast game. Maybe a bulldog running as fast as he can is considered high pressure and I guess if you give him the ball you can consider it nice possession. Can’t do much when someone sprays you a long ball and you have to chase it straight out of bounds. No wonder Fabio Capello is struggling, he has a back line that can’t pass shorter than 30 yards.

Just put your hands above your head and clap at these guys.

There isn’t a derby in the world that is in comparison to El Clasico. You want your stupid knee high tackles, they are here. You want blazing fast pace, it’s here too. The only thing that is different between this derby and the next is that unbelievable talent and skill of every players on the pitch. Find me a match where the ball and the players move this fast and we might have an argument. I hate hearing that the Tiki Taka style is useless. Nine-tenths of the law says it’s not.

Anyways, Barcelona signed one of the best strikers in the world even though they already had one of the most skilled. David Villa is the exact type of player they needed to run up front. He knows how to move off the ball, understands his teammates movements having played together on the national team, and is a more consistent finisher than Ibra. I expect Zlatan and The Sheikh Mansour to be talking sometime soon.

Not much else happened in the Catalan club, however the Bernabeu picked up the most hated, or loved (whoever you support), manager in the world right now. Regardless of your care for the guy, he is currently the most revered man to be confined by a small white box. Jose Mourinho is a genius and all I can guarantee is that you won’t see another 2-6 loss. Mourinho already has the most creative startingXI in the world and the addition of Ozil, Di Maria, Khedira, and even Carvalho will make the bench more dangerous.

On a separate note, I can’t believe Real just let Raul and Guti go so easily. The greatest goal scorer to wear the all white kit and arguably the best through ball passer to come through The Santiago Bernabeu. Two one-club players couldn’t even be given a chance to retire at their home soil. Perez is immorally desperate. Idiot.

Guardiola is a managerial prodigy, having won every possible trophy in his first year as the boss of the first team. The youngest manager to ever win the CL was exposed last season in the semifinal when he faced Mourinho and Inter. Outsmarted at both the Camp Nou and the San Siro, I expect Pep to be prepared this time around when they meet on Nov. 28th and April 17th.

If you value quality, get yourself in front of a television when the two teams meet. Don’t be an imbecile, you have nothing better to do on those Sundays anyways.

Villa – O’Neill + Bob Bradley

Yesterday, Aston Villa Manager Martin O’Neill, left his post with the season starting in less than 4 days. Aston Villa, as of late, have been contenders for Europa League spots and with their manager of 5 years gone, we wonder what this will do to the upcoming EPL season.

A few months ago, Rafa Benitez failed to impress at Anfield, so ex-Fulham manager Roy Hodgson snatched up the opportunity. Within all this mess, a very important figure in the United States slowly came up. Bob Bradley, the USMNT coach was thrown into talks about the Fulham opening with Clint Dempsey most likely having some say. Bob Bradley now quickly finds himself in the discussion over the recent opening at Villa Park. Having yet to commit to the USMNT, Bradley could easily find his way to England to coach the Villa with American, Brad Guzan in net.

Post-World Cup, Bradley has yet to put pen to paper to commit himself to the national team. The Brazil vs USA international friendly is just around the corner, so I am expecting talks about Bradley’s future as soon as the final whistle blows.

With UEFA matches already beginning, I can’t help but wonder if the MLS will ever have a chance to compete against a continent where soccer is #1. I am glad the MLS is gaining respect and popularity, but I prefer to read about AmericansAbroad.