Goalkeeping is widely regarded as the most underappreciated position in football. It is also the most difficult because even a minor error can lead to a goal.
Goalkeepers are football’s last line of defense and must be constantly alert and aware of what is going on on the field. World-class goalkeepers are distinguished by their leadership, strong personalities, and eccentricities.
While not as well compensated as outfield players, some goalkeepers are among the highest-paid footballers in the world. On that note, here are the top five highest-paid goalkeepers in the world right now:
#5 Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain) | £213,000 weekly
Gianluigi Donnarumma, the heir to Gianluigi Buffon’s throne, is well on his way to fulfilling his promise at a young age.
Donnarumma was a prodigious talent during his time at AC Milan, making his debut at the age of 16. The Italy international would make over 250 appearances for Milan across all competitions.
Donnarumma, known for his physicality and poise, was one of Italy’s standouts at the Euros this summer. During Italy’s triumphant campaigns, he was named UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament. He saved penalties in Italy’s shootout victories over Spain in the semis and England in the final.
The 22-year-old did not have a good relationship with AC Milan fans, which was exacerbated by his refusal to sign a new contract with the club. This summer, he left the Serie A giants on a free transfer to join Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Donnarumma is competing with Keylor Navas in Ligue 1 and has made five appearances so far.
#4 Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid) | £230,000 per week
Thibaut Courtois is a world-class goalkeeper who has excelled at every club he has played.
During his three-year loan spell with Atletico Madrid, Courtois established himself as one of the best young goalkeepers in the world. He returned to his parent club Chelsea in 2014, where he quickly established himself as the first-choice shot-stopper, assisting the club to two Premier League titles.
In 2018, the Belgian international completed a contentious £31.5 million move to Real Madrid. Courtois’s imposing frame and quick reflexes have served him well for club and country. The 29-year-old has three times won the La Liga Zamora Trophy and once won the Premier League Golden Glove.
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) | £259,900 per week
Manuel Neuer is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in history, and he’s only getting better as he gets older.
Neuer is widely credited with revolutionizing goalkeeping. His sweeper-keeper style of play, ball comfort, and shot-stopping ability have influenced the next generation of goalkeepers.
The German international drew attention due to his outstanding performances for his country during their victorious FIFA World Cup 2014 campaign. He is now one of his generation’s most decorated goalkeepers.
Following an injury-plagued 2017-18 season, it was assumed that Neuer’s time at the highest level ended. However, the 35-year-old rebounded strongly, assisting Bayern Munich in winning the continental treble in 2020. He leads both Bayern Munich and the German national team.
#2 Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) | £271,000 weekly
Many people believe that, despite being the best goalkeeper in the world, Jan Oblak is underappreciated.
Oblak joined Atletico Madrid for £14.4 million from Benfica in 2014. After a sluggish start to his Atletico Madrid career, the Slovenia international has established himself as a key member of Diego Simeone’s squad. Oblak, a world-class shot-stopper, has been instrumental for the Rojiblancos over the years.
He has five La Liga Zamora Trophy victories. The 28-year-old continues to amaze with his incredible reflex saves, while his statistics speak for themselves. Oblak has been linked with a move away from Atletico Madrid on numerous occasions, but the Rojiblancos are unlikely to let him go.
#1 David de Gea (Manchester United) | £375,000 weekly
David de Gea is back to his best after an alarming drop in form for Manchester United over the last two seasons.
For a time, it appeared that De Gea would leave United this summer and be replaced by Dean Henderson. However, the Spain international reportedly worked hard this summer to prepare for the new season, and the results are visible to all.
David de Gea was unquestionably the best goalkeeper in the game during his prime. This season, the 30-year-old has shown off his world-class shot-stopping ability, making numerous eye-catching saves. De Gea’s ball distribution has also improved, and he is arguably Manchester United’s best player this season.