Former Real Madrid and current PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas stated that goalkeepers should have a separate Ballon d’Or every year. He came up with that statement because he knows that nobody appreciates the goalkeepers as much for what they do for the team. Everyone applauds the goal scorers. They forget about the vital saves that happened on the other side. They save the team from losing the game single-handedly. But the Costarican cannot believe why they are not getting appreciation or awards that the attacking players receive. The odds in soccer betting always depends on the goalkeepers too. The clean sheets are important.

The verdict of Keylor Navas makes some sense when looking at it intensely. He said this after when the shortlist of the Ballon d’Or was released. Only one goalkeeper was in the 30 players that were shortlisted. There are at least two goalkeepers who deserve to be on the list above some other players. One of them is Chelsea’s goalkeeper. He should be on that list. After signing for Chelsea, he was an integral part of the team which won the Champions League. From January 2021, Chelsea has kept the most clean sheets than any other club in Europe because of him.

In the case of Mendy, we can say that he has been snubbed from the list. Sadio Mane and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly slammed and expressed the disappointment of not including the goalkeeper in the list. They felt that no one valued his performances. His stats, too, tell us why he should have been on the list. In 2020-21, he had 16 clean sheets in the Premier League. He came to Chelsea when Kepa was struggling to keep clean sheets for the team. He had nine clean sheets in total in the Champions League, including the one in the final.

The situation of undervaluing goalkeepers also happened in the past. The only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or was Lev Yashin, the Soviet legend. That was in 1963. Long, long way back. No goalkeeper had won it after him in the history of football.

Only in 2002 and 2014 was the next time a goalkeeper came close to winning it. In 2002, Oliver Kahn was shortlisted. But the Brazilian Ronaldo won it that year. It took 12 years for another goalkeeper to be nominated. It was the German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who won the World Cup in 2014. He was one of the three shortlisted players along with Messi and Ronaldo.

Some goalkeepers were not valued when they were the fundamental pillars of the team’s success. The legendary goalkeepers like Peter Schmeichel, Iker Casillas, Gianluigi Buffon were not shortlisted during their best years.

The famous quote of Sir Alex Ferguson pops up here. “Attack wins you games; Defence wins you titles”. Just remember that goalkeepers are the last hope of a team at any moment.

Latest posts by Ribin Peter (see all)