5 Players With Most Clean Sheets In International Soccer In The 21st Century: Spain Legend Iker Casillas Tops List

Spain Keeper Iker Casillas
Spain Keeper Iker Casillas

Goalkeepers are wildly underappreciated in soccer. When the team wins, they tend to get overlooked in the presence of sharp forwards, skillful midfielders, and technically gifted defenders. But when they lose, critics often single out the goalkeeper, pointing out their smallest of mistakes.

It is also tricky to serve as a team’s first-choice goalkeeper for a long period, especially in international soccer. With the country’s best goalkeepers all lining up for that one spot, one needs to be at his best in every single game to keep the competition at bay. Below, we will take a look at a few goalkeeping legends who have defined consistency in international soccer. As per the data from Transfermarkt, here are the five goalkeepers with the most clean sheets for their national teams in the 21st century:

#5 Hugo Lloris* (France) – 63 Clean Sheets

Hugo Lloris Has The 4th Most Clean Sheets In The 21st Century
Hugo Lloris Won The World Cup With France In 2018

France international Hugo Lloris has played 145 international matches so far in his career, conceding 120 goals and keeping 63 clean sheets. Lloris made his debut under manager Raymond Domenech in November 2008.

The Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper has won two major honors with France. He was one of Les Bleus’ unsung heroes at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and popped up with important saves as France clinched the 2021 UEFA Nations League.

#4 Guillermo Ochoa* (Mexico) – 64 Clean Sheets

Mexico Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa Has The 4th Most Clean Sheets In The 21st Century
Mexico Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa Celebrating

In fourth place, we have one of the most consistent performers for Mexico at the FIFA World Cups, the sensational Guillermo Ochoa. Ochoa, who made jaw-dropping saves in the last three World Cups, has kept 64 clean sheets in 149 games in the 21st century. Ochoa made his international debut under Ricardo La Volpe in December 2005.

The 38-year-old has played 11 FIFA World Cup matches in his career, conceding only 12 goals and keeping four clean sheets.

#3 David Ospina (Colombia) – 64 Clean Sheets

David Ospina Has The Third Highest Clean Sheets In The 21st Century
David Ospina Won 2 FA Cups With Arsenal

Former Colombia international David Ospina kept 64 clean sheets in 128 matches in the 21st century. Jorge Luis Pinto gave the then-18-year-old his debut in February 2007.

The ex-Arsenal keeper did not win anything with Colombia but has bagged his fair share of silverware in club soccer. The Al-Nassr man has won two FA Cups with Arsenal and one Coppa Italia with Napoli, amongst other honors.

#2 Gianluigi Buffon (Italy) – 69 Clean Sheets

Gianluigi Buffon Has Kept The Second Most Clean Sheets This Century
Gianluigi Buffon Won The World Cup In 2006

Gianluigi Buffon, who retired earlier this year at the age of 45, played 160 matches for Italy in the 21st century, keeping an impressive 69 clean sheets. Making his international debut under Cesare Maldini in October 1997, Buffon played a total of 176 matches for the four-time world champions, keeping 77 clean sheets.

Buffon’s only major honor with Italy came in 2006, as the Azzurri beat France on penalties in the FIFA World Cup final. The Juventus icon failed to make any saves in the shootout, but a David Trezeguet allowed the Italians to take home the most coveted international trophy.

#1 Iker Casillas (Spain) – 100 Clean Sheets

Spain Icon Iker Casillas Has Kept The Most Clean Sheets In The 21st Century
Iker Casillas Made 2 Crucial Saves At The 2010 FIFA World Cup

Former Real Madrid superstar Iker Casillas played 163 games for Spain in the 21st century, keeping a clean sheet in 100 of them. No Spanish goalkeeper in history has come close to Casillas’ tally.

Casillas, who kept the brilliant Victor Valdes at bay during his playing career, won it all with Spain. He lifted the European Championship in 2008 and the FIFA World Cup in 2010, before winning the EURO once again in 2012.

Casillas’ sensational save against Arjen Robben in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, which saw him deflect the Dutchman’s strike with his right foot in a one-on-one situation, is one of the best saves in the history of the competition.

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