Goalkeepers occupy a particular status in football teams. The qualities needed to play in this position are very different from those required from outfield footballers. Issue number 22 of the CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report compares goalkeeper characteristics with those of footballers playing in other positions.
The study confirms the specificity of the position of goalkeeper based upon criteria taken into account: height, age, origin and mobility. From the point of view of height, clubs are more and more reticent to promote goalkeepers under 190cm. This observation holds particularly in England and Germany, where the average height of goalkeepers is already over 190cm.
Regarding age, the analysis reveals the greater longevity of goalkeepers. The importance given to experience is particularly striking in England and Italy. In both cases, keepers are on average aged over 29 years. In all leagues surveyed, the regular goalkeepers are significantly older than the reserve ones.
From the standpoint of origin, the Report shows that the labour market for goalkeepers is much less international than that of outfield players. The difference is particularly noteworthy with respect to forwards. The study also indicates that the gap in the percentage of expatriates between goalies and outfielders tends to increase.
Finally, the analysis highlights the greater stability of goalkeepers. Their average length of stay in their employer club is much longer than for outfielders. In this case too, the biggest difference was observed in comparison to forwards. The latter are the most mobile in the football players’ labour market.