Football has been blessed with several fantastic goalkeepers over the last decade. Goalkeepers, arguably the most important member of any team, are underappreciated for their outstanding performance. Players in front of the goal often outshine their value to the team in terms of keeping clean sheets and winning games.
Goalkeepers must evolve with the game as well, from shot-stoppers to sweeper keepers. Clean sheets, like goals and assists, are a goalkeeper’s top priority. The quantity of clean sheets they keep is used to evaluate them.
The UEFA Champions League is club football’s most coveted award. Every player and management hopes to win the trophy at least once in their lives. The top ten goalkeepers in the Champions League with the most clean sheets are shown below.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (FC Barcelona): 30
The 29-year-old has only played in the UEFA Champions League for FC Barcelona and has 30 clean sheets to his name. In the 2014-15 season, he won the UCL. Ter Stegen kept six clean sheets in 13 Champions League games that season, the joint-most in a single season.
In the same season, he won the UCL save of the season for his goal-line save against Bayern Munich in the semi-finals. Ter Stegen has also been named to the UCL Team of the Tournament twice in his career (2014-15 and 2018-19). He has already maintained three clean sheets in five games in the current 2021-22 season.
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid): 30
Jan Oblak is currently regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in the world. The Slovenian goalkeeper is unquestionably a big-game player. In the 2015-16 season, the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper helped his team reach the Champions League final, where they were defeated by arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Oblak has 30 clean sheets in 64 Champions League appearances for Atletico Madrid, one of which came this season against Porto.
Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich): 33
Oliver Kahn is a well-known name in the world of football. Many people all across the world have been inspired by German folklore. Khan is a Bayern legend, having spent the majority of his playing career with the club.
He played a key role in Bayern’s Champions League triumph in 2000/01. In 103 UCL appearances for the German giants, Kahn preserved a total of 33 clean sheets. In Bayern’s Champions League final victory over Valencia, he was named Player of the Match after making three key penalty saves in the shootout as the game stayed level in regulation time. He’s also a four-time winner of the UEFA Best Goalkeeper award.
Dida (AC Milan): 35
Dida has 35 clean sheets in the UCL during his remarkable career, making him one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. With AC Milan, he won the Champions League twice (2002-03 & 2006-07). He saved important penalties in both finals to help his team win.
His penalty-saving abilities are unrivaled. Between the sticks, Dida was a force to be reckoned with. In 2002, the Brazilian national team won the FIFA World Cup. In the UCL, he only appeared in 72 games and only conceded 56 times. Dida is also the first goalkeeper in Champions League history to assist on a goal.
Victor Valdes (Barcelona): 45
Victor Valdes, a former Barcelona No. 1, was gifted not only with his hands but also with his feet. The Spaniard was one of the most cerebral goalkeepers of his day, and one of the first sweeper goalkeepers.
Valdes had a successful career at Barcelona, winning three Champions League titles with the club. In his 106 Champions League appearances, the Spaniard preserved 45 clean sheets.
Petr Cech (Chelsea): 49
The Chelsea icon was a fantastic shot-stopper and one of the best goalkeepers of his period. Cech holds several goalkeeping records, including becoming the only goalkeeper in Premier League history to win the Golden Glove award with two different clubs (Chelsea & Arsenal).
In 2012, Cech and Chelsea won the Champions League. He saved an Arjen Robben penalty in the final and two more penalties in the shootout to help Chelsea win the title. In 103 games with the UCL, he had 49 clean sheets.
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich): 51
Manuel Neuer, who began his career at Schalke, wowed everyone with his efforts in the UEFA Champions League. With amazing saves, he led the Bundesliga team to the UCL semi-finals for the first time in the club’s history before moving to Bayern Munich, where he has developed into the world’s finest goalkeeper.
With the Bavarians, he has won two Champions League titles (2012-13 and 2019-20). Neuer has 51 clean sheets in 51 games in the Champions League and has made over 100 matches overall.
Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United): 51
Edwin van Der Ser is third on this list of goalkeepers with the most clean sheets in the UCL. He is one of the few players to win the UEFA Champions League with several teams. With Ajax (1994-95) and Manchester United (1995-96), the Dutch goalkeeper won the trophy (2007-08).
In 98 Champions League games, Van der Sar kept 51 clean sheets. The Dutchman made everything appear simple and kept his hands clean between the sticks. Van der Sar was a cut above the rest in his day.
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus): 52
Gianluigi Buffon has never won the UEFA Champions League, which is a pity for a player who has had such an illustrious and accomplished career. He has, however, dominated the competition and holds the record for the second most clean sheets in the competition’s history, with 52 in 124 games.
He has the unenviable distinction of appearing in most UCL finals (3) without winning. Buffon also holds the record for the third-longest time without surrendering a goal in the Champions League (690 minutes).
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid): 57
Iker Casillas had a successful club and international career, winning practically everything there was to win. With Real Madrid, he won three UEFA Champions League titles (1999-2000, 2001-02, and 2013-14). With 57 clean sheets, Casillas holds the UCL record for most clean sheets. With 177 appearances, he also holds the record for most appearances in the competition.
When Casillas first won the UEFA Champions League with Los Blancos, he was only 19 years old, making him the youngest goalkeeper to ever play in a UCL final and win it.