2014 has been the year of the goalkeeper. With Tim Howard, Manuel Neuer, Keylor Navas, and Memo Ochoa taking center stage at the World Cup with their memorable performances and multiple teams making big moves for keepers this summer, there has never been a better time to be between the posts and in the spotlight.
Tim Howard’s memorable performance against Belgium launched him from USMNT stud to national hero. 16 saves to keep the US in the match, an absolutely legendary performance from Tim. It’s not often that you become the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America involuntarily, but add that to Tim’s resume. The country is safe in his Nike goalkeeper gloves, this much we do know. Now he’s back with Everton, attempting to lead them to a spot in the top four with his glorious beard and ridiculous reflexes. It’s time for the EPL to experience #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave firsthand.
Another guy attempting to build on a phenomenal World Cup is Keylor Navas, who Real Madrid acquired from Levante after Madrid activated his buyout clause. Navas led Costa Rica to the quarterfinals at the World Cup, making multiple big saves against Greece in penalties after Costa Rica shocked the world by winning group D.
Madrid made multiple big money moves this summer, but the acquisition of Navas could be the most important as goalkeeper has been a position that has given them problems over the last couple years as Iker Casillas has not been playing at the world class level that he used to. Perhaps Navas could lead Madrid to Champions League glory with more amazing saves coming from his Sells keeper gloves? Time will tell if this is a reality, one thing is for sure, Keylor Navas will be ready for anything shot at him.
Keepers from the La Liga have been in high demand this summer, as Malaga’s Willy Caballero made a move to Manchester City to compete with Joe Hart for the number one spot. City will be a favorite to win the Premier League title again, and Caballero has been brought in to make sure this happens. Overlooked for Argentina’s World Cup squad by Sabella in favor of Sergio Romero, Caballero will be fresh and have a chip on his shoulder as he attempts to show the world why he should have been minding the nets for Argentina this summer in Brazil. Beating out Joe Hart will be no easy task, but Caballero certainly looks up to the task.
Maybe the biggest goalkeeper move of the summer was one where no transfer fee was involved, as Thibaut Courtois returned to Chelsea after three years on loan to Atletico Madrid. Courtois performed quite well at the World Cup as Belgium made the quarterfinals, and upon his return to Chelsea he was immediately put in the spotlight as José Mourinho decided to start him over Petr Cech.
This decision shocked many, as Cech has been the incumbent at Chelsea for multiple years and has performed at an extremely high level. It might be time for the kid to take over though, and Mourinho seems to be thinking that based on Monday’s lineup card. If Courtois slips up, it will be very interesting to see how much faith Mourinho has in him before he hands the reins back over to Cech.
What goalkeeper do you think will make the biggest impact this year? One of the guys we covered, or someone else?