90min's edition of 'Welcome to World Class' 2020 is off and running, and we've had a lot of fun revealing the details behind the series this week. You can follow it throughout December and into the new year.
We set out on a mission at the start of the month to define what exactly the term 'world class' means, and how to go about measuring it. We've all heard one of our mates or someone on the radio put that label on a player who doesn't really warrant it, so we took it upon ourselves to create a definition.
To be world class, a player needs to be considered as one of the top five in their position on the planet. And our brand spanking new metric (which you can find here) put some numbers behind each player to really measure the greatness - broken down across ten categories.
We're doing this for ten on-field positions, and first up is goalkeeper. You may have seen our general shortlist and spotted a few players across our social channels and website along the way, but now we're getting into the real good stuff - putting the top five goalkeepers in the world in ranked order, and telling you exactly why they're world class. Tuck in.
5. Wojciech Szczesny
For people who don't watch Serie A, the inclusion of Wojciech Szczesny in 90min's list of five world class goalkeepers may be a bit of shock.
After all, he was fairly terrible - on and off the pitch - when he was at Arsenal.
But that was a long time ago, and now after years of maturing as a goalkeeper and a person, big Woj has become one of the very best in the world.
The fact that he boasts a similar save percentage to Manuel Neuer says a lot, his Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year award for 2019/20 does too, but what really makes Szczesny world class is that he was able to seamlessly replace Gianluigi Buffon - the greatest goalkeeper of all time - as Juventus' number one.
Wojciech Szczesny ranks fifth in 90min's Welcome to World Class goalkeepers list. Read more about why Szczesny is world class here.
4. Marc-Andre ter Stegen
There were a few scoring categories in our #W2WC metric that Marc-Andre ter Stegen scored particularly highly in.
One was 'natural talent' because, well, have you watched a Ter Stegen save compilation recently? The man makes the most spellbindingly brilliant saves.
Another was 'impact of absence', because, well, where the hell would Barcelona be without him? Granted, they are sitting mid-table in La Liga, but without their world class goalkeeper between the sticks they'd probably be wallowing in Segunda Division B playing competitive league games against their own B team.
Ter Stegen has saved Barca's bacon on hundreds of occasions in recent years, and it looks like he'll have to continue to do so for quite a few years to come.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen ranks fourth in 90min's Welcome to World Class goalkeepers list. Read more about why Ter Stegen is world class here.
3. Jan Oblak
There are plenty of footballers whose talents are hard to quantify. Footballers whose quality can't be measured by looking at a pile of stats because they do the little things in games that make a difference - see Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich and co. - dictating the flow of games.
Jan Oblak is not one of these footballers.
Oblak's quality, and the reason why he's one of our five world class goalkeepers, can be wholly surmised by looking at the ridiculous numbers he's put up at Atletico Madrid.
- Fastest goalkeeper to reach 100 clean sheets in Spanish top-flight history
- 82.6% save percentage throughout his Atletico Madrid career.
- Concedes a goal every 130 minutes.
Jan Oblak ranks third in 90min's Welcome to World Class goalkeepers list. Read more about why Oblak is world class here.
2. Manuel Neuer
There's an old saying that goes: form is temporary but Manuel Neuer has always, and will always, be a world class goalkeeper.
And that saying is spot on, as proven by Neuer's quite ridiculous performances in 2020. His performances have been so ridiculous in 2020 in fact, that he is the only goalkeeper, of the five on this list, to have maxed out the 'form' section of our #W2WC metric.
So how did he score so highly?
Well, by winning absolutely every trophy in the world in 2020, by putting in the most clutch goalkeeping performance of year in the Champions League final, by being the leader of one of the most frugal defences in Europe, and generally just by going back to his brilliant 2014 best.
He's back, and better than ever.
Manuel Neuer ranks second in 90min's Welcome to World Class goalkeepers list. Read more about why Neuer is world class here.
1. Alisson Becker
So why is Alisson Becker number one on our list of world class goalkeepers?
Is it because he is the most naturally gifted goalkeeper on this list?
Is it because he is the most clutch goalkeeper on this list?
Is it because he is the most consistent goalkeeper on this list?
Or is it because, without it him, Liverpool probably don't win the Champions League or the Premier League?
Well, it's all of the above. Alisson proved to be head and shoulders above the rest according to our #W2WC scoring metric - maxing out seven of the ten scoring categories - and is deservedly 90min's best goalkeeper on the planet.
Alisson Becker ranks first in 90min's Welcome to World Class goalkeepers list. Read more about why Alisson is world class here.