Loyalty is harder to come by in modern day football, with wages and agents dictating the transfer scene more than ever at the highest level. There are those who are fully committed to one club, something which puts many players in legendary regard. Goalkeepers, in particular, have a battle on their hands to keep a number one jersey throughout their years, but some of these did and achieved much more along the way.
Ceni-tury of goals
Rogério Ceni blows most goalkeeping stats out of the water, arguably writing him down in folklore as a great. Nevertheless, the unexpected nature of this man is that he is renowned for his goal scoring heroic rather than his shot stopping ability. The stats are unheard of but Ceni is centurion in terms of club goals – scoring 132 goals for São Paulo Although only one was from open play, he was entrusted on set piece duty and scored a resounding 61 free kicks and 70 penalties.
So much so, in 2005 he scored 21 goals in all competitions, as well as helping his side to a historic Club World Cup triumph over Liverpool. His commitment to São Paulo however is also a sight to behold, as his record of 1238 appearances for the club eclipses any other Brazilian for one club. Despite of course not getting close to legendary forward Pele in terms of his goals, Ceni tore apart his record of appearances.
After joining in 1990 at just 17, Ceni went on to stay at the club for 25 years till retirement in 2015, leaving with two Copa libertadores titles and three Brazilian league wins to his name alongside a World Cup both at club level and internationally.
The cat from Anzing
Bayern Munich have had some magnificent goalkeepers on their books over the years, and although Manuel (Neuer) and Oliver Khan may be known to many more from this century, It was Sepp Maier that set such a high president at a club steeped in success.
The Bavarian born shot stopper – who was nicknamed ‘the cat’ due to his agility – won all the highest accolades in the game with Bayern and Germany. He first stood between the sticks for the club in 1958 and played up until 1979 where his career came to an unfortunate end after a serious road collision.
Those 21 years were littered with glory nonetheless, as on a personal note Maier made 473 Bundesliga appearances – including 422 consecutively in a 13-year stint which is a league record. He wasn’t only a constant on the pitch, but he was part of team that won consistently. He won both the Bundesliga title and DFC Cup on four occasions each, the European Cup three times, the Club World Cup, and his most notable accolade of all was winning the 1974 World Cup with West Germany.
Maier’s career may have been ended somewhat prematurely, but his presence in the game has gone on for years since. He has had coaching roles with both Bayern and the German national team, seen his knee length shorts arguably become a trademark, and his legacy was recognised as he became Germany’s ‘Goalkeeper of the 20th Century’.
Bartram a sight to behold
Some readers might not have the foggiest idea who Sam Bartram is… although at Charlton Athletic he holds legendary status. His most iconic moment, however, didn’t come through his skill but through rather unfortunate weather conditions at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. On Christmas Day in 1937, he was left in the cold after that match was abandoned due to thick fog – but Bartram remained on the pitch unable to see that the rest of the players had been taken of the field.
Despite being a moment for the history books, that far from defined Bartram despite his whacky nature. He was a showman with a knack for making spectacular saves and dribbling the ball out of his own box. Despite a seven year layoff through the war years, Bartram kept playing with various non-official appearances across the land.
When the Football League did resume in 1946, Charlton had a disappointing league campaign, but this was nothing in comparison to an FA Cup triumph at Wembley that season – the only major trophy in the club’s history.
The Addicks never reached such heights again and would soon drop out of the first division but would make his final bow in 1956 in a victory over Arsenal after having become the club’s record appearance holder with 583 games to his name - despite a World War halting his career in the process. Bartram holds that record to this day and is immortalised with a statue outside Charlton’s ground ‘The Valley’.
Black Panther a worldwide hit – Lev Yashin
For a goalkeeper who worldwide is regarded as one of the best ever, Yashin never left his roots and played out his career in Moscow. From 1950, Yashin would spend 20 years at Dynamo Moscow, and help the Soviet Union to European and International glory.
Like his counterparts in this feature, Yashin was revolutionary in terms of the game, with his main credentials being his vocal presence and authority over his defence and was brave in coming of his line. The iconic nickname ‘The Black Panther’ was uttered as he would turn out in an all-black kit on most occasions.
‘The Black Spider’ is also a common phrase brought up when Yashin is mentioned, and over the years his extraordinary reactions earned him over 270 clean sheets and over 150 penalty saves. Arguably, he helped build his nation into a footballing force at the time, and despite failing to reach a World Cup Final in his four tournaments, Yashin would claim international glory at the 1956 Summer Olympics, and European glory in 1960.
All this came as Yashin continued a career as an Ice Hockey goalkeeper alongside football! 30 years on from his passing, Yashin remains the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d’Or, crowning him as the best in the World in 1963.
This piece was kindly written for @TFHBs by Harry Ewbank! - Follow him on Twitter @HREwbank
©The Football History Boys, 2020