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Football: Most expensive goalkeepers in history

It was 21 years ago this week when Gianluigi Buffon became the then most expensive goalkeeper in the world when he joined Juventus.

Much has changed since, of course, and, with the position now arguably seen as more important than ever, there have been a host of top goalkeepers who have gone on to be sold for huge amounts, eclipsing the £32.6million Juve paid Parma for Buffon back then.

Here we run down the top 5 most expensive goalkeepers in history.

5. Gianluigi Buffon - Parma to Juventus - July 2001 - £32.6million

Despite it being a long time ago now - and with transfer fees generally increasing rapidly in the intervening years - the £32.6million Juve forked out for Buffon is still a hefty amount and ensures the Italian legend just about makes the top five.

Widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers ever, Buffon apparently snubbed interest from Roma to make the switch from Parma to the Turin giants and the fee back then broke the Old Lady's transfer record.

The Italy international immediately established himself as the club's first-choice keeper and he went on to make over 500 appearances in the famous black and white stripes, winning nine Serie A titles and four Coppa Italias before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2018.

He would return to Juve in 2019 for another two-year spell, although this time his game-time was much more restricted at the veteran age of 41.

When back in Turin he did, though, win another Scudetto and Italian Cup, while he also broke the Serie A appearance record held by Paolo Maldini and now proudly sits top of that list with 657 top-flight appearances in his home country.

4. Ederson - Benfica to Manchester City - June 2017 - £34.7million

Ederson became the most expensive goalkeeper in the world five years ago when he signed for Manchester City from Benfica.

And the Brazilian is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now. He's made 240 appearances in all competitions for the Premier League giants, keeping 120 clean sheets, while helping them win four league titles, one FA Cup and four League Cups.

The 28-year-old is well-known not just for his shot-stopping and positional sense, but his ability with his feet to play out from the back and spot a quick opportunity to release City's forwards or midfielders to start a counter-attack.

Ederson has also played 18 times for Brazil, keeping a hugely-impressive 11 clean sheets, and will be in their squad for this winter's World Cup in Qatar, for which they are 9/2 to win.

3. Thibaut Courtois - Chelsea to Real Madrid - August 2018 - £35million

Upon joining Chelsea from Genk in 2011, Courtois - like a lot of fringe Blues players at the time - was sent out on loan. He proceeded to spend three years at Atletico Madrid, catching the eye as he helped them win multiple trophies, including the Europa League and La Liga title.

The Belgium international finally made his mark at Stamford Bridge from 2014 and was first-choice for much of the next four seasons in west London, where he won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup.

However, there was always speculation that he wanted to return to Madrid to be closer to his family and he eventually got his wish, joining Atleti's city rivals Real in 2018 for £35million.

Courtois has since gone on to win two Spanish league titles, a UEFA Super Cup and was outstanding to help them win the Champions League most recently in May, inspiring Carlo Ancelotti's side and denying Liverpool with a string of fine saves in Paris.

Real are 12/1 to successfully defend their continental crown next year.

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2. Alisson Becker - Roma to Liverpool - July 2018 - £66.8million

Alisson had impressed for Roma in the 2017-18 Serie A season and was brought to Anfield by Jurgen Klopp with Liverpool spending big money in attempt to help turn them into title contenders.

The move worked a treat as Alisson has been integral for the Reds during their recent success. He's won the Champions League, Premier League, Club World Cup and both domestic cups with Liverpool and was also named FIFA Best keeper in the world in 2019.

On top of that he's picked up two Premier League Golden Glove awards, for keeping the most clean sheets, and famously scored a late winner for Klopp's side towards the end of the 2020-21 season against West Brom.

The Brazilian went up for a corner and nodded home Trent Alexander-Arnold's delivery to secure a 2-1 win which, at the time, kept the Reds on track for a top-four finish.

Alisson and Liverpool are 2/1 to win the Premier League in 2022-23.

1. Kepa Arrizabalaga - Athletic Bilbao to Chelsea - August 2018 - £71.6million

Just a few weeks after Alisson broke the record to become the world's most expensive keeper, Chelsea splashed out over £71million to smash it again, landing the appropriately-named Spaniard Kepa from Athletic Bilbao.

Initially, it started well for him at Stamford Bridge and he kept six clean sheets in the team's early 12-match unbeaten run in the 2018-19 season, with the vast sum the Blues splashed out looking like solid business.

However, even though he ended his first campaign in England by helping Chelsea win the Europa League, it was overshadowed somewhat by his refusal to leave the pitch in the EFL Cup final against Manchester City when then boss Maurizio Sarri wanted to substitute him.

He stayed on the Wembley pitch but couldn't stop his side losing on penalties and was later fined and forced to apologise.

Kepa's form nosedived under Frank Lampard and he lost his place to Willy Caballero before briefly re-establishing himself under Thomas Tuchel.

Edouard Mendy's arrival at the club, though, in September 2020 has largely seen him slip back to being an expensive reserve at Chelsea as the world-record price-tag appears to continue to weigh heavy on the 27-year-old's shoulders.

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