A quality goalkeeper can be the difference between moving to the round of 16 or an early exit in the Champions League group stage. From seasoned veterans to young up-and-comers, here are our 10 best goalies that you can keep an eye on during the UCL's group stage.
Sergio Rico, Sevilla
The youngest 'keeper on this list after turning 23 less than two weeks ago, Rico is just starting to come into his own with Sevilla. He faces an uphill battle on the international stage to find playing time behind David de Gea and Iker Casillas, but the young Spaniard has plenty of game experience. A product of the Sevilla academy, Rico has featured in the Europa League, Champions League and La Liga. He is still very much a work in progress, but is one of Europe's bright young goalkeeping prospects.
Getty ImagesManuel Queimadelos Alonso
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Barcelona
Barcelona's young 'keeper grew tired of sharing time with Claudio Bravo last season, but now the gig is all his. Bravo moved to City, ter Stegen got the undisputed No. 1 role, and, oh yeah, Barcelona and City were both drawn into the same Champions League group. It's ter Stegen's show at the Camp Nou, and all indications are that the 24-year-old German is ready to take on the challenge.
Getty ImagesJean Catuffe
Bernd Leno, Bayer Leverkusen
Yet another young German on the uptick, Leno cemented his position as Bayer Leverkusen's No. 1 in 2013. At just 24 years old, he already has over 150 Bundesliga caps to his name as well as a Germany call-up. It'll be a while before he claims the top spot in Germany, if at all, but his standing with Bayer looks rock-solid. Leno isn't a finished product -- which isn't a knock, but rather a compliment.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAndreas Schlichter
Claudio Bravo, Manchester City
It says something about your quality when Pep Guardiola, one of the game's preeminent managers, pulls out all the stops to secure your services. Bravo, the 2014/15 Zamora Trophy winner, suits Guardiola's style of play perfectly. He's calm on the ball and can pick out a pass, allowing City to hoard possession and build up the attack from anywhere on the pitch. With numerous trophies already under his belt, he'll be counted on to deliver the elusive Champions League trophy at the Etihad.
Getty ImagesAlex Livesey
Jan Oblak, Atletico Madrid
Atletico's ability to secure the services of bright young goalkeepers is among the best in Europe. After Chelsea ended Thibaut Courtois' loan in the Spanish capital, Los Colchoneros moved to secure Oblak from Benfica.The Slovenian's reported €16 million move made him the most expensive keeper in La Liga history. At just 23, Oblak is already an adept shot-stopper for Atletico. His distribution needs work, but Oblak is on the fast track to being among the world's best.
Getty ImagesMaurizio Lagana
Keylor Navas, Real Madrid
A fax machine foul-up last summer meant Real Madrid were "stuck" with Navas as their shot-stopper instead of Man United's David de Gea. In the end, the busted transfer worked out fine for all parties involved. The 29-year-old Navas has bounced back from the hubbub and solidified himself as well deserving of the hype he garnered during the 2014 World Cup. Los Blancos fans have grown to appreciate the Costa Rican, and that's no easy task.
Getty ImagesJean Catuffe
Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur
Lloris is as solid as keepers come, hardly overwhelming but rarely prone to mistakes. The 29-year-old Frenchman joined Spurs in 2012 from Lyon, and has made the starting job his without question. Lloris has emerged as a strong leader, as well, donning the captain's armband for both Spurs and France. Lloris will be leaned upon heavily as Tottenham make their return to Champions League football for the first time since 2010/11.
Getty ImagesClive Rose
Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus
Somehow, some way, Buffon continues to dodge Father Time's phone calls and remains at the top of his game. Give credit to his training regimen and unparalleled instincts, as Buffon keeps playing at a high level for Juventus as he creeps closer and closer to 40 years old. But age be damned, as 38-year-old Buffon remains as imposing a figure as there is in the game. His longevity is only a small factor of why Buffon is not only just one of the best goalies in Europe, but one of the best of all time.
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Petr Cech, Arsenal
The brick wall that is Petr Cech might finally be showing some cracks, but even an aged Cech is better than a lot of what Europe has to offer. The 34-year-old has stabilized Arsenal's previously dicey goalkeeping situation, and keeps the Gunners contending for trophies every year. With four Premier League Golden Glove awards to his name (and he's the only keeper to win the award with separate clubs), Cech is a consistent and reliable presence in Arsenal's squad.
Getty ImagesNils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello
Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich
The gold standard for goalkeeping, Neuer has ushered in a new, more proactive, brand of net-minder. With unparalleled reflexes, his "sweeper keeper" style is integral to snuffing out danger all over the pitch. As Germany's captain and Bayern's vice-captain, the 30-year-old has collected the World Cup, Champions League, and Bundesliga trophies, among others. Neuer even ranked among the finalists for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award, finishing third in voting in 2014.