5 goalkeepers who have saved most penalties from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been the most significant contenders for the greatest in this generation. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have both been phenomenal players despite having different playstyles
The duo may have aged significantly by now, but they are still a massive threat.
There are, however, goalkeepers who have saved penalties from both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Saving a penalty is tough for any goalkeeper, irrespective of the taker. The job becomes significantly more difficult when Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the takers.
But the following five names have, in fact, saved penalty kicks from both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. These five have achieved a unique and incredible achievement against two of the greatest ever footballers.
#5 Gorka Iraizoz - 2 penalties
La Liga, over the years, has seen several good goalkeepers coming through the local regions. This becomes possible due to the policy some clubs like Athletic Bilbao follow in playing with players only from the Basque region. It's at the same club where goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz made his name.
The Spanish shot-stopper has been a solid option for many years, and his performances for Bilbao have often earned him a lot of praise from the fans. However, he has had several matchups with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi over the years and sometimes outdid the greats.
Iraizoz's performances never materialized too much into silverware, but his trophy cabinet isn't empty. He spent his early years at Espanyol for a brief period where he won the Copa del Rey and was close to winning the UEFA Cup but fell short in the final.
#4 Diego Lopez - 2 penalties
Diego Lopez has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in La Liga over the last decade. While his name may not always be on top, Lopez has been a safe pair of hands. He even spent time with Cristiano Ronaldo during his second stint with Los Blancos.
Over the years, Lopez has played for several prominent clubs like Real Madrid, AC Milan, Sevilla, and Villarreal, where he's currently at. His second stint at Real Madrid was quite controversial as he was preferred over club legend Iker Casillas, which often put Lopez in trouble with the fans.
#3 Fernando Pacheco - 2 penalties
Few will remember Fernando Pacheco as a name who saved spot-kicks from both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Like Diego Lopez, he also started at Real Madrid and occasionally shared a dressing room with Cristiano Ronaldo. But with the likes of Iker Casillas among the ranks, Pacheco sought his fortune elsewhere and joined Alaves.
When Pacheco joined Alaves, the club was still a second division outfit. As a result, he had to wait until 2016 to make his top-flight debut for Alaves when he started against Atletico Madrid. Since then, Pacheco has become a regular and has been the leading man for his team when it comes to keeping opponnents at bay.
He has saved one penalty from each of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. While his performances have been disciplined and consistent, Pacheco is yet to add a trophy to his name since the Club World Cup, which he won during his stint with Real Madrid.
#2 Thibaut Courtois - 2 penalties
Arguably the biggest name on this list, Thibaut Courtois has been an absolute superstar in world football. He has played at some of the biggest clubs in the world and is currently the Real Madrid custodian.
Courtois' duels with Lionel Messi are iconic, and he could have been teammates with Cristiano Ronaldo. Incidentally, Courtois played against Cristiano Ronaldo as an Atletico player. He even saved a spot-kick from the Portuguese superstar, and achieved the second part of the task earlier when he saved Messi's penalty in the Champions League earlier this week.
Today, Courtois is one of the best keepers in the game and uses his tall frame to churn out impossible saves. There has been no shortage of silverware for him as he has won both the La Liga and the Premier League. However, the Champions League trophy has eluded him, and he will indeed aim to win it with Real Madrid this season.
#1 Diego Alves - 4 penalties
Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Alves is a La Liga veteran, having spent over a decade in Spain. He started there with Almeria but his best years were for Valencia, for whom Alves was one of the most consistent and steady shot-stoppers in the league.
Alves was proficient in generally saving penalties, but those taken by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not ordinary spot-kicks. Nevertheless, Alves has managed to save a combined four penalties of the two modern greats over the years.
Unfortunately, Alves' consistent performances for Valencia never materialized into a trophy. All his club honors have come in the Brasileiro Serie A, which he won with Flamengo. He has also been able to win the Copa Libertadores, which is the South American equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.