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The Clean Sheet King
A look back at the greatest goalkeeper ever. Yup, I'm sure.
Posted Aug 26, 2010 by Shaun Edwards
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£824,378.00 Not a lot in the world of soccer, is it? That’s a month’s wages for new Manchester City singing Yaya Toure, in fact. It’s also how much money Manchester United paid Brondby for Peter Schmeichel in 1991. Well, actually they paid £530,000, but we thought it’d only be fair to allow for inflation. ‘Bargain of the century’, you say, Sir Alex? I think you might be right there. Peter Schmeichel is the greatest goalkeeper to ever play the game: it’s that simple. Yes, there are other men who are rightly considered legends of the game: Lev Yashin, Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton. None of them, though, compare to the great dane. Four Premier League Titles, three FA Cups, a League Cup and a Champion’s League trophy with Manchester United, the Euro 92 trophy with Denmark, four-time UEFA Goalkeeper of the year, English Football Hall of Fame, Premier League Save of the Decade... Right, I’m stopping there, because I’ve got things to do later this week, but you get the idea. Schmeichel’s credentials go on and on and on. Statistics, though, only half cover the sheer absurdity of trying to put the Dane’s ability into words. During his years as a professional, Schmeichel produced spectacular save after spectacular save, his ability to shot stop matched by his total command of his area and his ability to influence his team. Schmeichel simply was his goal area: he seemed to take up every bit of the six yard box at once. It’s hardly surprising that his record of keeping clean sheets is as impressive as it is: 42% of his Premier League games ended without the opposing team scoring. It’s a bit tricky to blame the strikers, though: goalkeeping rule 101 says that the keeper should always narrow the angle as much as possible – allow as little space as possible for the forward to get the ball past you. Something that it’s very easy to do if you’re the size of a doorframe with a shouting voice that corner flag microphones can comfortably pick up. Schmeichel wasn’t just about intimidation, though – his agility would have been considered remarkable for a 5’8 rake, but the Dane somehow had the ability to throw himself across the goal-line in a split-second. Go on youtube and look at how many videos are dedicated to Schmeichel performing ‘the greatest save ever’ – there’s hundreds. And they’re all different saves. And before anyone mumbles any ‘Banks...greatest save ever...’ stuff at me, do yourself a favour. Get onto Youtube and type in ‘Schmeichel save v Rapid Vienna’ and tell me the save’s not identitcal. The soundwaves from his yells still bounce of the Old Trafford walls, and many a striker probably still have nightmares of balls flicked away from goal at impossible angles. There will never be another keeper like him. Schmeichel is the man, plain and simple.