A Year In Goalkeeping - 2001
Sparta Spotlight’s time machine has been inactive for a while, so it's time to reboot to make sure it still works.
Let’s go back to a time where for some reason Smash Mouth are popular, England went to Munich and battered Germany 5-1 on their own backyard and Manchester United had won their third successive Premier League title. It’s 2001 once again.
2001 was an historic year for Liverpool, where they achieved a unique treble of the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup under the late Gerard Houllier.
Sander Westerveld spent his final season at Anfield with three medals around his neck and sporting a stylish turquoise Reebok shirt while doing so.
A style of the early 2000’s the badge and manufacturer were horizontal, with a great dark blue band hosting the classic Carlsberg sponsor, as well as the white trim.
The simpler designs of the time brought some really classy designs and Reebok knocked it out the park with this one, fitting with Liverpool’s tremendous season.
Oliver Kahn – BAYERN MUNICH v Valencia, Champions League Final
Oliver Kahn was named FIFA’s Goalkeeper of the Year award 2001 after Bayern defended their Bundesliga title and won their fourth Champions League, thanks to the heroics of German.
Kahn put in a man of the match performance against Valencia in a 1-1 draw in Milan before a shoot-out in which the maverick saved three spot kicks, keeping out future Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino on the last penalty to avenge the demons of 1999.
Not only did Kahn gain plaudits for his on-field performance, he also was given a UEFA Fair Play award after consoling Santiago Canizares who had broken down in tears after the final spot kick.
Gianluigi Buffon - Parma to Juventus
Eyebrows were raised when Juventus smashed the record fee ever paid for goalkeeper when they shelled out £33 million to bring Gianluigi Buffon to Turin in the summer of 2001, a record which stood for seventeen years before Ederson’s transfer to Manchester City in 2017.
Despite the monumental fee paid, you cannot argue that Juve didn’t get value for money, with Buffon going down as an all-time club and international great. He has in fact spent only one season since 2001/02 away from the club, a season long spell at PSG before returning, including the Old Lady’s solitary season in the second tier of Italian football following the nation’s match-fixing scandal.
The World Cup winner was key in Juventus’ two title wins in his first two campaigns, back when Serie A was arguably the most formidable league in Europe.
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Schmeichel on the scoresheet
After two years with Sporting Lisbon, Peter Schmeichel returned to the Premier League where he was so successful with Manchester United, signing for John Gregory’s Aston Villa.
Part of the treble winning squad of 1999, the Dane must have thought he’d done it all in English football, but in October 2001 he notched his first ever Premier League goal and the first ever goalkeeper to score since the inception of the league in 1992.
Away at Goodison Park, 3-1 down, Schmeichel came up for a corner in stoppage time, something that was a lot rarer in those days.
As the ball bounced around the area, Schmeichel hooked the ball with his right foot past Steve Simonsen and although Villa would lose 3-2, he made Premier League history.