Golden gloves: How Reusch keepers fared around Europe
As the old saying goes, a good workman never blames his tools, but at the top end of professional football the right equipment can make all the difference.
For goalkeepers, the right gloves can mean the difference between a clean sheet and injury time heartbreak; between winning and losing.
Here we take a look at Reusch, famous manufacturers of goalkeeper gloves, and see how their shot stoppers fared across Europe over the past season.
Christian Abbiati, AC Milan
AC had a fantastic season and finished runners-up in Serie A, four points behind eventual winners Juventus. They also reached the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League after defeating Arsenal, but eventually went out to the 2011 Champions, Barcelona. However, they have guaranteed another crack at the Champions League trophy in 2012 /13.
Júlio César, FC Internazionale
Despite Inter Milan finishing a diaapointing sixth in Serie A, Júlio Cesar remains a dominating presence bewteen the posts. His club team missed out on European qualification for the 2012/13 season but Cesar will be setting his sights on remaining Number 1 for his national side Brazil, as they host the 2014 World Cup.
Salvatore Sirigu, Paris St. Germain
Italian Sirigu helped Paris St. Germain challenge for the French championship title, just missing out after finishing runners-up to surprise winners Montpellier. His challenge for the French Cup was ended at the quarter-final stage after losing 1-0 to eventual winners Olympique Lyon; only the second goal he conceded in the entire competition. Sirigu will travel to UEFA EURO 2012 as part of the Italian squad, having made his international debut in 2010.
Nikolay Mihailov, FC Twente
Bulgarian international Mihailov helped Twente finish in 6th place in the race for the Ereidivisie championship title and the 23 year old appears to be getting stronger every season.
Jaroslav Drobny, Hamburger SV
Drobny helped Hamburg avoid relegation in what was a difficult season for the Germans. In June, Drobny will attend UEFA EURO 2012 with the Czech national team.
Fernando Muslera, Galatasaray
After moving from Lazio last summer, Uruguayan international Muslera helped Galatasaray to win the Turkish championship, conceding only 24 goals in 34 games. He also kept a league record 16 clean sheets and even scored a penalty on the last day of the season.
Gorka Iraizoz, Athletic Bilbao
Iraizoz was pivotal in Athletic Bilbao's European campaign, a run that saw them sensationally dispatch Manchester United from the UEFA Europa League, eventually losing in the final to fellow Spanish La Liga club Athletico Madrid. They only finished tenth in the league, but still have a chance of glory when they play Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.
and in the UK
Radek Cerny avoided relegation from the English Premiership on the last day of the season with his club QPR, but has just signed a new contract to remain with the club, Nick Colgan’s Huddersfield Town will contest the League One play-off final against Sheffield United on May 26 and Chris Neal won promotion from League Two with Shrewsbury Town.
Congratulations go to Callum Burton, also of Shrewsbury Town, who played his first game for England U16 in the 1-0 defeat of Spain U16.
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