Two elite goalkeepers will go head-to-head when Iker Casillas of Real Madrid and Victor Valdes of Barcelona meet in four upcoming matches as the season winds down.
There are some blatant similarities. Both are Spanish goalkeepers who are 29 years old, play for top La Liga teams, are well-respected by coaches, are about the same height, and have been on their current team for several years.
Which goalkeeper is better?
According to past managers of the Spain National Team, Casillas is better by a long shot. Casillas has 119 caps compared to Valdes's three.
Casillas has also played far more matches for his club team.
But Valdes has his strong points, too. In La Liga, Valdes has 14 clean sheets in 27 games, which is better than Casillas's 13 clean sheets in 30 games.
Dating back to May, 2010, Casillas has had 60 appearances for club and country, and has conceded 39 goals, for an average of 0.65 goals-per-appearance average. Valdes, on the other hand, has given up 23 goals in 38 games for club and country, for a 0.60 goals-per-appearance average.
In fact, Valdes is a three-time winner of the Ricardo Zamora Trophy (given to the goalkeeper with the best goals-to-games ratio), compared to Casillas's lone trophy
Certainly, statistics are misleading. There are many variables that go into how an opponent scores a goal.
And if awards are a measuring stick, than certainly Casillas has the edge, having been voted the FIFA World's Best Goalkeeper the past three years.
For that reason, and though it is still a close call, Casillas gets the edge.
The Real Madrid goalkeeper has the benefit of experience with more games played for club and country, and has a better reputation of consistent play over several seasons.