Soccer Players With The Number 1 (The Best Keepers!)

Number 1 is considered fiercely independent, competitive, and a symbol of power and action in numerology and is significant in many sports.

In soccer, number 1 is associated with goalkeepers; however, no rules specify what numbers they may wear. However, number one is a good representation of the last line of defense.

Legends have donned the number one jersey over time. It is time to know more about their:

  • Brief history
  • Career progression
  • Records and awards

As we dig deeper into the stories of these goalkeepers, you will appreciate more and more the contributions of these players to soccer.

The Best Soccer Players To Wear Number 1 In Soccer

The number 1 position in soccer is the goalkeeper and there is no difference here with this list. We look at the best keepers ever to wear the number 1 jersey, what they have achieved, and some highlights of their games. Although some of the GKs are from a few years ago, their heroic acrobatics have put them in the history books.

Lev Yashin

Lev Ivanovich Yashin was born on the 22nd day of October 1929. He was a professional soccer player in the Soviet Union and wore the number one shirt. He is thought to be the most outstanding and legendary goalkeeper in the history of soccer.

Lev Yashin 1960

His positioning, size, fearlessness, athleticism, and acrobatic saves distinguished him in the sporting arena. He was known as the “black spider” since he was clad entirely in black. He became quite well-known as a result of his fashion sense.

Lev Yashin rose to prominence as a goalie who revolutionized the position by exerting his dominance on the whole defense.

In contrast to other goalkeepers who just remained on the goal and waited for activity in their area, he would run out and intercept crosses, yell commands to defenders, and sprint out to meet onrushing attackers.

From 1958 through 1970, he played in four World Cups. He spared his squad the agony of having to take over 150 penalty kicks. This is more than any other professional soccer goalie. In addition, throughout his stellar career, he managed a total of 270 clean sheets.

In 1994, he was selected to the FIFA Dream Team, the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, and the World Team of the 20th Century.

Yashin has the distinction of being the only goalie to win the Ballon d’Or, which he won in 1963. He was chosen to the Ballon d’Or Dream Team later that year. He was also named the finest goalkeeper of the twentieth century by the IFFHS.

Dino Zoff

Dino Zoff is a former professional soccer player from Italy who rocked the number one jersey as a goalkeeper. He was born on 28 February 1942.

1966–67 Serie A AC Mantova v Inter Milan Mario Corso and Dino Zoff
1966–67 Serie A – AC Mantova v Inter Milan – Mario Corso and Dino Zoff

To date, he is the first Italian to win both World Cups and European Championships in a single campaign.

Juve won six Serie A championships, two Coppa Italia trophies, and the UEFA Cup during his time at the club. He also reached two European finals in the 1972-73 and 1982-83 seasons and finished second in the 1973 Intercontinental Cup final.

By the International Football Hall of Fame (IFFHS), he was voted the third best goalkeeper of the 20th century.

With 112 appearances between 1972 and 1974, he holds the record for the most time spent on the field without conceding a goal in an international tournament.

In addition, he is the sixth most capped player for Italy’s national team.

Without a doubt, Dino Zoff has left a mark on the game of soccer, and many aspire to be like him. After retiring as a soccer player, he pursued a managerial career and coached the Italian team, which got to Euro 2000 final but lost to France. 

Afterward, he published his Italian autography in September 2014 titled Dura solo un attimo, la Gloria (Glory only lasts a moment).

Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks is a popular name among soccer enthusiasts. He was born on 30 December 1937 but sadly died at the age of 81 years. He, unfortunately, succumbed to cancer. 

He was regarded among the best soccer players of his time. He pulled some of the greatest saves against Pele in the 1970 World Cup group match against Brazil.

He was also the most capped goalkeeper between 1966 and 1985. Additionally, he broke the record of not conceding for England that stood at 378 minutes. However, he left the record at 723 minutes, which remained until 2021.

Gordon Banks was the most capped Englishman at Stoke City FC since 1966. He made 679 appearances during a 20-year-old professional career and won 73 caps for the England national team.

Though he had a remarkable career, he faced some challenges, such as breaking his nose at Craven Cottage, getting into an accident that left one of his eyes damaged, and breaking his wrists while driving to a friend’s place.

The accident made him miss nine games. However, this did not change the fact that he was a World Cup winner and one of the greatest soccer players of the time.

He was named NASL Goalkeeper of the Year in 1977 FWA Soccer Player of the Year in 1972. He was also FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year on six occasions. In addition, he was named the second-best goalkeeper of the 20th century after Lev Yashin.

He left the game of soccer in 1980 after a short management stint at Telford United.

Manuel Peter Neuer

Manuel Peter Neuer is a German professional soccer player who captains the Bundesliga club, Bayern Munich, and the German national team. He is an all-around player who rocks the number one jersey. He is among the greatest soccer players in the history of sports.

FIFA WC qualification 2014 Austria vs. Germany 2012 09 11 Manuel Neuer
FIFA WC qualification 2014 Austria vs. Germany 2012 09 11 Manuel Neuer

He is known as a sweeper goalkeeper for his speed when rushing off his line and going outside the box anticipating his opponents.

He was named Goalkeeper of the Decade by the IFFHS. In 2014, he finished third in the Ballon d’Or. However, he was awarded the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year five times and IFFHS World’sWorld’s Best Goalkeeper the same number of times.

Neuer started his career with wins at Schalke 04, where he won the DFB-Pokal and the DFL-Ligapokal. Later in 2011, he moved to Bayern Munich and kept winning. At Bayern, he has won 26 trophies, including nine Bundesliga titles and two UEFA Champions League, which were both parts of a treble.

In 2010, Neuer was selected to the German national team and represented the country in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In the following tournament, FIFA World Cup 2014, Neuer led his team to a win while also winning the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper.

David de Gea

David de Gea is a professional Spanish soccer player who plays as a goalkeeper for  Manchester United and the Spanish national team. He was born on 7 November 1990. He grew up in nearby Illescas, where he began his playing career with Atletico Madrid.

UEFA EURO qualifiers Sweden vs Spain 20191015 David de Gea
UEFA EURO qualifiers Sweden vs Spain 20191015 David de Gea

At the age of 18, he made his first senior debut after becoming the first-choice goalkeeper for Atletico Madrid. He saw them emerge victorious in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup of 2010. His fantastic performances made Manchester United notice him, and he was signed to the club in June 2011.

Since he joined Manchester United, he has made over 400 appearances and won a Premier League title, the FA Cup, a League Cup, three Community Shields, and the UEFA Europa League.

Between 2013 and 2016, he was elected as United’sUnited’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, making him the first player to bag the award thrice consecutively. He was also included in the PFA Team of the Year for four years and was named in the FIFA FIFPro World11.

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