Golden Glove Award which also used to be known as the Lev Yashin Award prior to 2010, is given to the best goal keeper of the FIFA World Cup. The award was first introduced during the United States World Cup in 1994. So far, 7 goal stoppers had the privilege to grab this award. Interestingly, all those keepers belong to European countries and any Latin American keeper is yet to win this award. Let’s see which keepers had won this prestigious award so far.
FIFA WC Previous Golden Glove Winners
|FIFA World Cup Edition & Host Nation
||Golden Glove / Lev Yashin Award Winner
||Country of the Winner
|1994 (United States of America)
|2002 (Korea and Japan)
|2010 (South Africa)
The inaugural Lev Yashin award was won by the Belgian great Michel Preud’homme. He was named the best goal keeper of the 1994 FIFA World Cup in United States. The current vice-president & sports director of Standard Liege is also a legendary player of the very same club. Michel also played for KV Mechelen and Portuguese Primeira Liga side Benfica. Michel was not only the very first winner of this award but also the only keeper in the history so far to win this award without featuring in the semifinal stage of the competition. His side Belgium were knocked out by Germany at the Round of 16 and he just had the opportunity to play in 4 matches. He conceded 4 games in that tournament including 3 against the Germans at the knockout stage. But his top class performances (with 2 clean sheets) were proven enough to hand him the award.
In 1998, host nation France didn’t only kept the World Cup trophy but also managed to secure the Lev Yashin award as well. French goalie Fabien Barthez played a crucial role in France’s title glory. He conceded just 2 goals in his 7 appearances for the team. He kept 5 clean sheets and also managed to keep the dangerous Brazil side unscored in the final. Competition’s top scorer Ronaldo Lima had scored as many as 6 goals prior to the final but was pocketed by this bald headed French legend in the grand finale. Moreover, Barthez also helped the side winning a penalty shoot-out against Italy in the quarter final stage. 8 years later, Barthez featured another WC final but on that occasion Gli Azzurris got the better of him in the shoot-out.
Oliver Kahn is simply one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the game. The German sensation was handed the Lev Yashin award in 2002. Well, it’s not the only award which he had won during the Korea and Japan WC. In fact, he was also the winner of the Golden Ball award! It’s simply unbelievable to win a FIFA WC Golden Ball being a goalkeeper. And yes, he is definitely the only keeper in the history to do so. Kahn had as many as 5 clean sheets beside his name. He was beaten just thrice during the entire tournament and two of those goals came from the golden foot of Ronaldo in the historical final.
This list is full of stars, isn’t it? The next name in the chart is another legendary keeper Gigi Buffon. This ever green man, who has been delivering even at his 40’s, did have an amazing tournament in Germany. The Juventus legend played around 700 minutes (with 2 games heading to extra time) of football and conceded just 2 goals. And one of those 2 goals was an own goal scored by Zaccardo while another one was scored from a penalty kick by France’s captain Zidane. So according to the stats, no opposition player managed to beat Buffon during those 7 matches from an open play effort. It was simply an unbelievable stat. Buffon kept 5 clean sheets and also took the revenge for Azzurris. Which revenge? Oh come on! Last time Italy faced France in a world cup game, was in the 1998 quarter final when Barthez had the last laugh after the shoot-out. But this time, Buffon got better of Barthez and France in the shoot-out and helped Lippi’s side clinching their 4th title.
The Spanish super star and captain Iker Casillas was the winner of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Glove winner award. The Real Madrid legend had conceded just 2 goals and kept 5 clean sheets out of his 7 appearances during the tournament. But the most amazing fact was that, he was unbeatable during the entire knockout stage. Spain scored just 4 goals (1 goal in each game) during the knockout stage. But those 4 goals were enough to hand them 4 straight victories and the invaluable world cup trophy thanks to Iker Casillas and the Spanish defense. Casillas’ save against Arjen Robben during the Final, is perhaps one of the best saves in the football history. And yes that still gives goose bumps to him, even more than a decade later of that incident.
In the 2014 WC in Brazil, Germany lifted the WC title for the 4th time in their history while Manuel Neuer became the 2nd German keeper to win the best goalie’s award. The current Bayern Munich captain managed to keep 4 clean sheets out of his 7 appearances while he conceded just 4 goals during the whole competition. Most importantly, he faced the world’s two best footballers of the era Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and successfully kept them unscored. In opposed to his 4 conceding, Germany scored 18 goals during that competition.
Belgium is the only country in the list to represent Lev Yashin or Golden Glove award winners, without winning a WC trophy. And more surprisingly, it represents not one but two keepers in the list. After Michel Preud’homme, Thibaut Courtois became the 2nd Belgian to grab this award. Another amazing fact is that, apart from his predecessor compatriot, Courtois is the only player in the list to win the award without featuring in the final. He kept just 3 clean sheets in his 7 appearances (including the 3rd place play-off) and also conceded 6 goals but the stats may not give the properly clear idea, how amazing he was during that competition. He almost single handedly knocked 5 times world champion Brazil out of the tournament. He made loads of save in that quarterfinal against the South American side. He was also brilliant in other matches but unfortunately a Samuel Umtiti header ended his and Belgium’s run in the competition.
The 2022 WC is knocking at the door. Let’s see who is gonna win the Golden Glove in the upcoming edition of the WC. To know about the candidates for the probable winner, read our content “FIFA World Cup 2022 Probable Golden Glove Winner”.