Goalkeepers That Love Saving Penalties

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Some of the greatest exponents of penalty saving have been Italian goalkeepers down through the years.

Champions League footballs.

The goalkeepers on this list are mainly made up of players from the 21st century, as there are no firm records for how many penalty saves the likes of Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks made during their distinguished careers.

One thing that is not in doubt, is any penalty taker coming up against these goalkeepers will face a hard time in finding the back of the net from 12 yards.

Andrea Consigli – 25

Andrea Consigli is not a household name outside of Italy, but he has been one of the most consistent performers in Serie A over the last 16 years with first Atalanta and now Sassuolo.

The 35-year-old has made over 400 appearances in the Italian top flight and he has developed a reputation for being a penalty-saving specialist, keeping out 25 of the 86 he has faced over the course of his career.

The most recent of those was earlier this month when he saved from Venezia’s Mattia Aramu during a 4-1 victory for Sassuolo, with 14 of his penalty stops coming during his time with I Neroverdi.

Diego Alves – 28

Former Brazil international Diego Alvez has carved out a successful career playing in his homeland and in La Liga with Almeria and Valencia, while he can still be found turning out on a regular basis for Flamengo.

It was during his time in Spain where the 36-year-old developed his reputation as a penalty-saving expert, saving a total of 25 while in Europe, with 22 of those stops coming in La Liga.

Alvez has added three further penalty saves during his time with Flamengo, taking his total to 28, which makes him the highest-ranking non-European on this list.

Gianluca Pagliuca – 32

Any goalkeeper nicknamed ‘the wall’ has to be good and former Italy and Inter Milan stopper Gianluca Pagliuca certainly lived up to his billing, with the now 55-year-old having enjoyed a distinguished 20-year career between 1987-2007.

Pagliuca was ahead of his time, acting as a sweeper keeper long before the likes of Ederson and Alisson made it the norm, while he was also an expert penalty stopper keeping out 32 of the 116 he faced across his career.

There was not a club that Pagliuca played for where he didn’t make a penalty save, his first coming for Sampdoria in 1989 and his last for Ascoli at the age of 40 in 2007.

He even managed to save a penalty for Italy during the 1994 World Cup final against Brazil, although the Azzurri went on to agonisingly lose in that shootout.

Gianluigi Buffon – 38

What is it about Italian goalkeepers and saving penalties? As the third Italian on this list is the evergreen Gianluigi Buffon, who has saved 38 over a 26-year playing career that is still going strong with Parma in Serie B.

Buffon has made penalty saves at World Cup and European Championship finals with Italy, as well as at club level in the Champions League, UEFA Cup, Serie A and Ligue 1, while he has also saved three penalties this season with Parma.

Buffon has also been involved in some memorable penalty shootouts, saving from Clarence Seedorf and Kakha Kaladze in the 2003 Champions League final for Juventus against AC Milan (a final Juve ultimately lost), as well as helping Italy to World Cup glory three years later as they beat France on penalties in a memorable final.

Samir Handanovic – 42

Statistically the goalkeeper that has made the most penalty saves in history is current Inter Milan number one Samir Handanovic, who averages saving one in every three spot kicks he faces, as he has kept out 42 of the 123 he has faced over the course of his career.

The majority of those saves have come during Handanovic’s time playing in Italy with the likes of Udinese and Inter, while he also managed one penalty stop during an 11-year international career with Slovenia.

At 37, Handanovic still has time to improve his record further, although perhaps surprisingly he is yet to save a penalty in his 40 appearances for Inter so far this season. Saving a penalty is not an easy feat, with the advantage firmly being with the attacking team, but some goalkeepers have more than mastered the art form over the course of their careers.

A fountain of knowledge on football, Tom offers a particular in-depth expertise in EFL and European leagues.
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