Premier League – Van der Sar set for European record


Edwin van der Sar’s 14th consecutive league clean sheet has seen him climb into the top 10 of goalkeepers for minutes without conceding a goal.

The Dutchman’s shut-out of Fulham at Old Trafford at United ran out 3-0 winners took the number of minutes since they last conceded a goal to 1,302 – and saw Van der Sar jump from 11th in the list to sixth.

But who are the five shot-stoppers above him – and when will be officially become the best goalkeeper ever to don a pair of gloves?

Only the 90 minutes of normal time are counted towards the totals.

1. Mazaropi (Vasco da Gama, Brazil) – 1,816 minutes

The number one spot occupied by Mazaropi is in some dispute as a number of the 20 matches during which he did not concede between 1977 and 1978 were in the regional championship in Rio de Janeiro. But nevertheless he sits top of FIFA’s list; to make it past him, Van der Sar will have to deny Blackburn, Newcastle, Liverpool, Fulham again, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Wigan – taking the run to the middle of April.

2. Thabet El-Batal (Al-Ahly, Egypt) 1,442

The Egypt international was notable for his moustache – and also for keeping the goal of Al-Ahly throughout his long career. He won 11 national league titles and five African Champions League trophies with Ahly and his longest run without conceding came in 1975-76. And best of all, his name literally translates as ‘Solid Hero’. Manchester United’s veteran will be aiming to deny Rovers then the Magpies for 51 minutes to make it past him.

3. Dany Verlinden (Club Brugge, Belgium) 1,390

‘De Muur’ – ‘The Wall’ – held two significant records during his 16-year career with Brugge: in 1990 he became the European goalkeeper with the longest stretch of goal-free minutes behind him – a record that remains – and in 2003 he became at the age of 40 the oldest player to play in a Champions League match. The latter record has since been taken by Alessandro Costacurta; and if Van der Sar prevents Blackburn from scoring, he will edge two minutes past Verlinden and snatch the former record from him.

4. José María Buljubasich (Universidad Catolica, Argentina) 1,352mins

Buljubasich played for a variety of clubs in South America and Spain and his big moment came while turning out for Universidad Catolica in 2005: his run took the club to the national title in Chile. He is now on the books of Olilpia in Paraguay.

5. Thabet El-Batal (National, Egypt) 1,325mins

The Egypt international was notable for his moustache… hang on… the second-best effort of ‘Solid Hero’, who retired from club football in 1991, came in 1978-79. He tragically died of cancer in 2005 while in his fifties and acting as director of football for Ahly.

The five over whom Van der Sar has now leapt:

6. Essam El-Hadari (National, Egypt) 1,288

7 .Abel Resino (Atlético Madrid, Spain) 1,275

8. Gaetan Huard (Bordeaux, France) 1,266

9. Zetti (Palmeiras, Brazil) 1,242

10. Marios Praxitelous (Omonia Nicosia, Cyprus) 1,221

Jonathan Symcox / Eurosport