Hugo has an interesting article up today on back-up goalkeepers – and one of the points he makes is how first-choice keepers, when demoted to the bench, become easily frustrated and move off to greener pastures.
…it is in this light that we can see the desertion of a trio of excellent goalies from a Liverpool side that seems to have delighted in stockpiling exciting guardians: we are talking, of course, about Scott Carson, Chris Kirkland and Jerzy Dudek, although the latter rather insanely opted to join Real Madrid, where he is kept out of the side by a goalkeeper in Iker Casillas who is a good deal better than the man who had blocked his path at Liverpool!
Both Casillas and Reina are top-quality keepers. Both are young (Casillas turns 27 in May, Reina 26 in August), in their prime and have been on top form for quite some time now. Both are considered indispensable to their clubs (Casillas is Real Madrid for life and a club icon, and one suspects that Reina may reach the same status if he stays on at Liverpool). Along with Gigi Buffon, Petr Cech and Edwin van der Sar, these two are considered among the best goalkeepers in the world (Reina is easily one of the best keepers in the Premier League – and stats-wise, perhaps even better in the last two seasons).
So the question is – who is better – Casillas or Reina? More importantly, does the defence in front of the keeper matter (Liverpool have a better defensive record than Real Madrid), and what criteria should we use to find out which keeper is better?