The Champions League returns this week for its last round of group games with teams looking to seal qualification to the next round.
While a lot has been said about strikers and people who have been scoring regularly, not too much attention has been placed on the goalkeepers who have been doing some outstanding work all through the games.
Today we look at the keepers with the most appearances in Champions League history.
- Victor Valdes – 106
The Spaniard is only one of the six keepers to have made more than 100 appearances in the competitions. Valdez edges former Bayern Munich captain Oliver Kahn (103) for a place in the top five.
The La Masia academy graduate made his first-team debut for the club in August 2002, before eventually nailing down a regular starting berth in the side during the 2003/04 campaign, going on to be the undisputed first-choice in his position for the next decade. He won three Champions League titles with Barca.
- Petr Cech – 111
The Chelsea legend won the Champions League in 2012 as the Blues overcame Bayern Munich in their own backyard in the showpiece.
The Czech stopper – who is the most capped player in his nation’s history – was integral to that success in Munich, keeping out former teammate Arjen Robben’s extra-time penalty, before making two vital saves in the ensuing shootout to help Roberto Di Matteo’s side clinch a maiden triumph in the competition.
- Gianluigi Buffon – 124
The legendary Italian remains one of the top keepers to fail to win the Champions League. Of the 42 players to have reached a century of appearances in Europe’s elite competition, the Juventus legend is one of only three not to have won it, alongside Spanish icon Cesc Fabregas and the enigmatic Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
He and former teammate Paolo Montero – are the only two players to have reached three finals without winning it, finishing runner-up in 2003, 2015, and 2017.
- Manuel Neuer – 124
Bayern Munich’s 2-1 win over Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday evening not only maintained their 100 percent start to the group stage, but also saw Manuel Neuer move level with the man above on 124 Champions League appearances.
He arrived at Bayern from Schalke in 2011, going on to win two Champions League titles.
- Iker Casillas – 177
The Real Madrid icon was the club’s number one for over 15 years after making his debut as a teenager back in 1999.
The 1999/2000 season would see the youngster set a then-record as the youngest goalkeeper to ever make a Champions League appearance, starting against Olympiakos at the age of just 18 years and 177 days.
At the end of that campaign, he became the youngest ‘keeper to play in and win a Champions League final as Los Blancos beat Valencia, while two years later he came off the bench for the injured Cesar Sanchez and helped the La Liga side edge past Bayer Leverkusen to earn a second major European honor.
He would have to wait another 12 years, however, to bag his third and final Champions League title, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side clinched the much-coveted ‘La Decima’ with victory over Atletico Madrid in Lisbon in 2014.
The 40-year-old was only recently overtaken by former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo as the Champions League’s record appearance-maker, while he is also still leading the way with the clean sheets in the competition’s history (59).