10 times an outfield player was forced to play as a goalkeeper

Have you ever witnessed a football match where an outfield footballer played as a goalkeeper? It’s a scenario that unfolds more often than you might think. In this article, we’ll delve into ten unforgettable instances where outfield players had to don gloves and defend their team’s goal.

10 Times Outfield Footballer Played As A Goalkeeper

From the UEFA Champions League to extraordinary acts of heroism in unexpected situations, these tales of outfield players turned goalkeepers are sure to leave you amazed.

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Kyle Walker

10 Times Outfield Footballer Played As A Goalkeeper

Let’s begin on one of the grandest stages in world football, the UEFA Champions League.

During a Champions League match between Manchester City and Atalanta, Claudio Bravo, the City goalkeeper, was sent off. With no other goalkeeper available and Ederson injured, City’s outfield player Kyle Walker had to take charge of the goal for the remaining ten minutes. Despite the unexpected call, Walker’s preparedness shone through as he ended up making more saves than both of City’s regular keepers combined.

John Terry

Travel back to a Premier League game against Reading in 2006. Both Petr Čech and Carlo Cudicini were injured and substituted, leaving Chelsea without a goalkeeper. The captain, John Terry, stepped up, put on the gloves, and defended the goal for the remainder of the game. Terry’s efforts ensured Reading couldn’t score, preserving his club’s clean sheet and securing three points.

Read Also – 7 Goalkeepers That Manchester United Almost Signed Instead Of Onana

Rio Ferdinand

In Rio Ferdinand’s situation, he immediately faced the daunting task of stopping a penalty after taking on the goalkeeper’s role. The original goalkeeper’s foul led to a penalty for the opposing team and subsequently, their dismissal. Since the team had exhausted all substitutions, Ferdinand had to remain in goal to confront the penalty.

As expected, the penalty found the back of the net. Yet, credit should be given to Ferdinand for at least diving in the right direction.

When a team runs out of goalkeepers, it seems reasonable to replace them with defenders. Both Rio Ferdinand and John Terry, former English captains we’ve mentioned, were central defenders, well-versed in preventing goals.

Harry Kane

The famed goal-scoring sensation found himself unexpectedly positioned in the goal area. Kane is renowned for his effectiveness in scoring when near the opponent’s goal, but not when guarding his own.

Following that particular incident, it’s highly unlikely that any manager would consider deploying Kane as a goalkeeper, even if no other player was available on the field. The striker, who had already scored a hat-trick in a Europa League game, had to assume goalkeeping responsibilities after Hugo Lloris received a red card.

Shortly after starting his role as a goalkeeper, Kane fumbled what should have been a straightforward catch, essentially granting the opposing team a goal. This incident highlighted the stark difference between his proficiency in scoring goals and his capabilities as a goalkeeper.


Similar to Kane’s situation, Pele also scored a hat-trick in a particular game. Subsequently, he was required to remain in the goal when the regular Santos goalkeeper couldn’t continue. Unlike the English captain (referring to Kane), the Brazilian legend did not make any mistakes, assisting his team to reach yet another final.

Dani Alves

Imagine this: in a 2018 PSG cup game, Kevin Trapp received a red card, and the prospect of Neymar taking up goalkeeping duties would indeed have been bizarre. However, the decision was made to field Dani Alves, and it turned out to be the correct choice as he successfully preserved his club’s victory.

Olivier Giroud

In the wake of a Mike Maignan red card away to Genoa this season, It was Olivier Giroud of all people who was called upon to man the posts.

Out of substitutions and with a 1-nil lead to protect, AC Milan needed a hero on the pitch. Sure enough, he did just that and even made a flying save when things got heated in the dying minutes.
Not bad for a 37 year old striker. Not bad at all

Serge Aurier

Another memorable instance occurred when Serge Aurier, the former Tottenham defender and captain of the Ivorian team, took on the goalkeeper role for Ivory Coast. This situation arose when their primary goalkeeper sustained a serious injury and had to be substituted.

Aurier’s act of selflessness and leadership was apparent as he stepped up to the challenge, showcasing his dedication by willingly sacrificing his usual position to defend the goal for the team on that day.

John O’Shea

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 4: John O’Shea of Manchester United in action in goal in place of the injured Edwin van der Sar during the Barclays Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on February 4 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Regarding Tottenham, there was a significant moment when John O’Shea had to substitute for van der Saar in a game back in 2007. This might not be a widely remembered incident, but it was undoubtedly unforgettable for O’Shea. He achieved a remarkable feat by maintaining a clean sheet on that day, a notable achievement that likely left a lasting impression on him.

Jan Koller  

In a Bundesliga Der Klassiker match, Jan Koller assumed goalkeeping duties after Lehman received a red card. Koller, standing at an impressive height of 6 feet 8 inches, became the natural replacement as Dortmund had utilized all their substitutions for the night. Interestingly, Koller’s journey in football began as a goalkeeper before transitioning to become a forward. This unique background made him an intriguing and unconventional choice to guard the goal.

These ten remarkable instances remind us that football is filled with surprises and unexpected turns. Outfield players stepping into the goalkeeper’s shoes have provided unforgettable moments and showcased the versatility and determination of these athletes. Do you know of any other instances we missed in this article? Share them with us in the comments.

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