World’s Highest-Paid Goalkeepers

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Everyone is aware that outfield soccer players get all the attention in terms of salaries.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and company all make over 30 million dollars per year, while goalkeepers don’t make nearly as much.

Recently, the world’s top highest paid goalkeepers were announced, and here they are:

David de Gea (Manchester United)

David de Gea Quintana performs as a goalkeeper for Spain national team and Premier League club Manchester United. He is regarded to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Born in Madrid and raised in nearby Illescas, De Gea began his playing career with Atlético Madrid. He rose through the club’s academy system before making his senior debut in 2009, aged 18. After becoming Atlético’s first-choice goalkeeper, he helped the team win the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup in 2010. 

His performances subsequently attracted the attention of Manchester United. And De Gea joined the club in June 2011 for £18.9 million, a British record for a goalkeeper at the time.

Since entering United, De Gea has done over 400 appearances and won a Premier League title, a League Cup, an FA Cup, three Community Shields, and the UEFA Europa League.

For three consecutive seasons from 2013–14 to 2015–16, he was elected as United’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year. He is also the first player in the award’s history to win on three successive occasions.

Besides that, he was included in four consecutive PFA Team of the Year sides from 2015 to 2018. In 2018 he was named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI

Tipped by many as the successor to Iker Casillas as Spain’s long-term goalkeeper, De Gea was Spain’s captain under-21 national team. The team won the European Championship in 2011 and 2013 and competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

He made his first appearance for the senior team in 2014 and was chosen for that year’s World Cup. De Gea was named Spain’s starting goalkeeper at the 2016 European Championship and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)

As a candidate and young player, Kepa Arrizabalaga was regarded as one of Europe’s most promising young goalkeepers. He is known for his consistency, speed, agility, shot-stopping ability, and quick reflexes. These skills are what allowed him to produce “brilliant saves.” 

Kepa was also acknowledged for his footwork, distribution, and skill with the ball at his feet. He can rush off his line, which enabled him to act as a sweeper-keeper and play the ball out of the back in Maurizio Sarri’s possession-based system.

Formed at Athletic Bilbao, he played his first professional games on credit at Ponferradina and Real Valladolid, in Segunda División. He then returned to his first club to emerge in 54 matches across all competitions; in 2018, he signed with Chelsea.

Arrizabalaga accomplished the 2012 European Championship with Spain’s under-19 team. He made his senior debut in 2017 and was selected for the 2018 World Cup.

Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)

Son of the ex-Manchester United and Danish international goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, Kasper Peter Schmeichel is a Danish goalkeeper for Premier League club Leicester City and the Denmark national team.

Schmeichel started his career with Manchester City, but he had loan spells with Darlington, Bury, and Falkirk prior. Although he seems to have made the City number 1 jersey his own at the start of the 2007–08 season, the appearance of Joe Hart resulted in Schmeichel being loaned to Cardiff City.

The signing of Shay Given in the Republic of Ireland in January 2009 showed that Schmeichel dropped even faraway down. And in August 2009, he was allowed to combine with Sven-Göran Eriksson at Notts County.

He settled only one season with the Magpies. And while it was a very flourishing one for him and the club, changes to the club’s financial position made his departure necessary. Still, he was contract terminated by mutual consent.

Schmeichel joined Leeds United in May 2010, but his tenure at the club would only last one season. Afterwards, he became the subject of a change to Leicester City, where he would again work under Eriksson. 

Schmeichel has gone on to play over 300 competitive games for Leicester. He won the Championship in the 2013–14 season and the Premier League in 2015–16.

He played 17 games for Denmark’s under-21 team. Schmeichel was invited up to the Denmark national team for the first time against Iceland on 13 May 2011 and was part of their team at UEFA Euro 2012. But he didn’t make his senior debut until 2013.

Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Pickford has represented the England international team at every level from under-16s to under-21s. In October 2009, he made his England U16 debut against Wales U16. And in 2011, Pickford represented England at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

In a game versus Canada, Pickford allowed an 86th-minute goal. This is from a downfield kick by Canadian goalkeeper Quillan Roberts, which tied the game in a 2–2 draw. This remains the only goal scored by a goalkeeper in a FIFA final to date from open play.

Before this, Pickford played for Sunderland’s academy. He also had loan spells at Carlisle United, Darlington, Burton Albion, Alfreton Town, Bradford City, and Preston North End.

He signed for Everton for a fee of £25 million in June 2017. Pickford has served England at under-16, under-17, under-18, under-19, under-20, and under-21 levels.

He earned his first call-up from the full England national team for the 2018 World Cup qualifier versus Slovenia in October 2016. And then he made his debut in November 2017 in a friendly against Germany.

In England’s 2018 World Cup fourth-place finish, he was the starting goalkeeper, leading the squad to its first semi-final appearance since 1990. He even had a penalty shootout victory in the second round and a clean sheet in the quarter-final.

Bernd Leno (Arsenal)

Bernd Leno is a goalkeeper who plays for the Germany national team and Premier League club Arsenal.

Leno accepted his first call up to the senior Germany team in October 2015 for UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers. The team pitted against the Republic of Ireland and Georgia. He was later added in his nation’s squad for the final tournament the next summer.

Leno was selected for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia and played one tournament versus Australia. He was named in Germany’s provisional squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup but was not selected for the final 23-man team.

In June 2018, Premier League club Arsenal declared that Leno had signed a five-year contract with £22.5 million, pending “the fulfillment of regulatory processes.”

Leno made his debut in the Europa League for Arsenal in the 4–2 victory over Vorskla Poltava. And then he made his Premier League debut in the 2–0 home triumph over Watford.

He played as a substitute for goalkeeper Petr Čech, who picked up an injury in the first half. Head coach Unai Emery, later on, praised Leno.

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

Hugo Hadrien Dominique Lloris is a French goalkeeper and captains both Tottenham Hotspur and the France national team. He is a three-time champ of the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Lloris started his career with hometown club OGC Nice and earned his debut as a teenager in October 2005. He started in goal during the team’s run to the 2006 Coupe de la Ligue Final. After excelling at the club for three seasons, Lloris went to seven-time Ligue 1 champions Olympique Lyonnais

Lloris won many national awards in his first season with Lyon. He also received nominations at the European level for his performances in the UEFA Champions League. This made Lyon reach the semi-finals for the first time.

He joined Tottenham in 2012 and helped the team reach the Champions League final in 2019.

Lloris is a French international that represented his nation at under-18, under-19, and under-21 level. Before playing at the senior level, he played on the under-19 team that won the 2005 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. 

Lloris made his senior international debut appearance in November 2008 in a friendly match against Uruguay. The goalkeeper helped France qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The media even applauded him for his performance over two legs against the Republic of Ireland in the qualifying playoffs.

He captained the national team for the first time in 2010 and became the first-choice captain in February 2012. This led France into the quarter-finals of both Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, runners-up at Euro 2016, and winners at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Rui Pedro dos Santos Patrício ComM is a Portuguese goalkeeper for the Portugal national team and English club Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Before moving to England, he spent most of his career with Sporting CP, making his debut at the age of 18 and appearing in 467 official games. He gained five trophies during his 12-years with the club, including two Portuguese Cups.

Patrício scored his first cap for Portugal in 2010, after Paulo Bento was appointed head coach. He represented the nation in two World Cups and three European Championships. He also won the 2016 edition of the last tournament as well as the 2019 Nations League.

In June 2018, Patrício submitted a request to terminate his Sporting contract with grounds for just cause. This is due to the dressing room violence from supporters. Plus, the €18 million move to Premier League team Wolverhampton Wanderers fell through.

This is after Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho pulled out of negotiations at the last minute.

He completed the move on 18 June on a four-year deal. And it was announced on 31 October that both clubs agreed an €18 million contract as settlement of his departure to England.

Patrício opted to wear the No. 11 shirt for Wolves, as opposed to the habitual No.1, in honor of Carl Ikeme, who had just retired following acute leukemia treatment. He made his league debut on 11 August 2018, in a 2–2 home draw against Everton.

Alisson (Liverpool)

Alisson Ramses Becker, commonly known as Alisson, is a Brazilian goalkeeper who plays for the Brazil national and Premier League clubs, Liverpool.

In 2019 he was dubbed The Best FIFA Goalkeeper and was also the winner of the inaugural Yashin Trophy.

Alisson started his Internacional career, where he made over 100 appearances and won the Campeonato Gaúcho in each of his four seasons at the club. He completed a €7.5 million transfer to Roma in 2016, where he initially served as understudy to Wojciech Szczęsny.

Two years later, Alisson signed for Liverpool for an initial fee of €62.5 million (£56m). This would soon rise to €72 million (£66.8 million) ‒ a world-record pay for a goalkeeper at the time.

In his first season at the club, he received the Premier League Golden Glove for most “clean sheets” in the league. He kept another clean sheet in the UEFA Champions League Final to help Liverpool win their sixth European Cup. The next season he kept a clean sheet in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup as the team won in extra time to clinch the trophy.

He also played an integral part in Liverpool’s 2019–20 Premier League title-winning effort, which concluded the club’s 30-year league title drought.

Alisson represented Brazil at several youth levels before making his senior international debut in 2015. Afterward, he represented the nation at the Copa América Centenario in 2016, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the 2019 Copa América. His team won in the latter while also being named the best goalkeeper.

Claudio Bravo (Manchester City)

Claudio Bravo started playing for Colo-Colo and transferred to Real Sociedad in 2006. He appeared in 237 official matches with the following club. 

Known to have an authoritative presence, Bravo is known for his leadership, agility, composure, and shot-stopping ability. He is also known for his reflexes, concentration, and control, distribution, and skill with the ball at his feet. 

Due to his speed when rushing off his line to anticipate opponents who have beaten the offside trap, he is described as a sweeper-keeper. He’s also been identified as a playmaking goalkeeper due to his skill to play the ball out from the back or launch attacks from goal-kicks.

He has also drawn recognition in the media for his leadership and mental strength. Thus, Bravo was considered by several sports figures as one of the best goalkeepers in the world in his prime.

Yet, he experienced a loss of form during his first season at Manchester City. This saw him lose his place in the starting line-up the following season.

Barcelona signed him for €12 million in 2014, where he won the treble and the Zamora Trophy in his first season. In the summer of 2016, he moved to Manchester City, where he won many titles. After four years in England, he retreated to Spain, signing for Real Betis.

Bravo is Chile’s second-most decorated football player of all time, next to Alexis Sánchez. He made 123 appearances since his first appearance in 2004 and served the nation in two World Cups, a FIFA Confederations Cup, and five Copa América matches.

He captained his side to victory at the 2015 and 2016 editions of the following competition.

Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)

Łukasz Marek Fabiański is a Polish professional goalkeeper for Poland national team and English Premier League club.

Having launched his career at Legia Warsaw, Fabiański entered Arsenal for £2.1 million in 2007. Although mainly used as a backup, he started playing as the club won the 2014 FA Cup Final.

At the end of his contract in 2014, he joined Swansea City and played 150 total matches in four years. He then signed for West Ham for £7 million.

A full international for Poland since 2006, Fabiański has served his country on over 50 occasions. He was included in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, Euro 2016, and 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Having served Poland at under-21 level, Fabiański’s plays for Legia Warsaw saw him soon making his debut for the senior international team in a friendly match against Saudi Arabia in March 2006.

Fabiański was involved in Poland’s squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, serving as a backup to Artur Boruc and Tomasz Kuszczak. During the qualifying match for the UEFA Euro 2008, he made one appearance, performing all 90 minutes in Poland’s 2–2 away draw against Serbia in November 2007.

In September 2008, Fabiański substituted the suspended Boruc for the 2010 World Cup qualifying match against San Marino and Slovenia. He also played in another qualifying game against San Marino in April 2009.

Despite going into UEFA Euro 2016 as a substitute to Wojciech Szczęsny, an injury in the first game of the tournament led to Fabiański becoming the first choice for the rest of the match.

He went on to keep clean sheets in both of the remaining group games against World champions Germany and Ukraine. He then kept his place as Poland defeated Switzerland in the round of 16 before losing to eventual winners Portugal on penalties.

Final Thoughts

Goalkeepers have historically been the usual undervalued players in the world soccer transfer market. Until very recently, the wealthiest European teams rarely spent significantly to fill the position. 

Among keepers who played in at least half of their team’s games in 2017-18, De Gea led the Premier League to save percentage (81 percent) and goals against below-average per 90 minutes (0.32). The Spaniard’s exploits in the net saved the Red Devils roughly 13 goals throughout the season.

And if Manchester United had been forced to replace De Gea with a Premier League goalie who put up flawlessly average numbers, it would have yielded 17 more goals than it did.

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