The 30-man shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or includes the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mohamad Salah and Romelu Lukaku, all vying to be crowned on November 29.
But of all the nominees in this year’s group, there is only one goalkeeper.
In fact, the last keeper to win was legendary Russian stopper Lev Yashin, in 1963. And it’s starting to grate on some of the men between the sticks that they are always overlooked.
Paris St-Germain’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas has claimed the public are not interested in the work goalies put in.
Navas said: “I think goalkeepers need a separate Ballon d’Or from the rest of the players.
“At this rate, goalkeepers stand no chance of winning, because people only care about the number of goals and assists and they never ever care about our saves.”
The only goalkeeper to be included in this year’s shortlist is Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma and we are certain a few more could have been added and potentially go on to win the Golden Ball.
Here are five keepers that are ideal candidates, if goalkeepers had their version of Ballon d’Or.
With great ambition and confidence, Jordan Pickford led England all the way to the final of the Euro 2020 tournament and challenged himself in the intense penalty shoot-out against Italy.
During the campaign, Pickford set an all-time England record for most consecutive scoreless minutes posted by a goalkeeper, setting the mark of 721 minutes midway through the first half of the semi-final against Denmark which passed the record previously held by Gordon Banks.
When speaking during the Euro 2020 tournament, Pickford said: “You just have to be ready, concentration levels have to be high and I’ve just got to be 100 percent throughout the game.”
The Ballon d’Or looks at which players have leadership attributes as well as magnificent skills on the pitch and from what we have witnessed over the past year, Jordan Pickford would be the ideal candidate.
Gianluigi Donnarumma has made the Ballon d’Or cut after leading his country to victory in the Euro 2020, defeating England on penalties before being named the player of the tournament.
The 22-year old ambition is to keep winning trophies, Donnarumma said: “I hope to play for as long as possible, up to 40 years, it’s my passion.
“My goal is to win as many trophies as possible, especially with the Italian national team.
“The incredible dream is to win the Ballon d’Or, I’ll give it my all, then we’ll see what happens.”
Prior to joining PSG, Donnarumma thrived at AC Milan making 251 appearances in all competitions and keeping 88 clean sheets which saw the Italian be named Serie A Best Goalkeeper last term.
This man has a real appetite for being number one.
Being named Slovenian footballer of the year on five occasions, Jan Oblak is the perfect contender.
The 28-year old was named La Liga’s player of the year last term after a series of excellent performances down the stretch for Atletico Madrid that included two crucial saved penalties in the final weeks of the title race.
The Slovenian international played his 304th competitive match for Atlético Madrid and became the goalkeeper with the most appearances for the club, breaking the previous record of Abel Resino.
Oblak has been praised in the media for his work-rate, outstanding positioning, footwork, shot-stopping abilities, and composure in goal, as well as his overall consistency and leadership.
However, it is likely Oblak was almost forgotten when the time to vote for the shortlist came around as he did not play in either the latter stages of the Champions League or at Euro 2020.
But we haven’t forgotten you Jan!
Manuel Neuer has received many, many awards throughout his career for both Bayern Munich and country Germany, from nine Bundesliga titles to the 2014 World Cup trophy however, he is still yet to add the Ballon d’Or to his collection.
This year, Neuer made his 100th cap with the national team and became the first German goalkeeper to reach that milestone.
For Bayern Munich, the German reached his 200th clean sheet in 394 matches in a 4-0 win over Atletico Madrid in Champions League last term, surpassing Sepp Maier.
In the Bundesliga, Neuer had his 197th clean sheet in 423 matches, breaking Oliver Kahn’s record of 196 clean sheets in 557 matches – The 35-year old is all about breaking records.
Ederson, the star of Manchester City and Brazil has time and time again proved his worth in the Premier League and internationally.
The Brazilian keeper kept 16 clean sheets last term meaning he won the Premier League Golden Glove for a second consecutive time with his club.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has been signing Ederson’s praises since he signed for the club in 2017.
Guardiola said: “With his feet, he is the best, the quality of the pass, I would say, is the best.
“Manuel [Neuer] and Victor [Valdés] were incredible too but the quality of the pass from Ederson is the best.
“I would not say who is the best overall because I had success in the past with incredible ‘keepers in Victor, Manuel and Eddie.
“It is another example of the recognition Ederson deserves, he has credit from the manager, backroom staff and players. He’s outstanding and he knows it.”
Ederson also helped his country reach the Copa America final against Argentina and kept six clean sheets in the previous six games for Brazil.
After lifting a third Premier League title in four seasons and securing a second Golden Glove, Ederson would make a deserving winner of the Ballon d’Or.