10 Footballers That Have Been Substituted As Goalkeepers

This article “10 footballers that have been substituted as goalkeepers” is a list of 10 outfield footballers who have been subbed on to play in goal during a match. This is typically done in an emergency when the team’s regular goalkeeper is injured or sent off.

The article is a reminder that anything can happen in football and that even the best players can find themselves in unusual situations. It is also a testament to the skills and versatility of these footballers that they can play in goal, even though they are not regular goalkeepers. The list is long, but we picked out 10 notable ones that football fans will never forget. Enjoy! 

10. Olivier Giroud

AC Milan’s Olivier Giroud found himself in a surprising role during a match against Genoa. The game seemed to be going Milan’s way, with a comfortable lead. But then, just when things appeared settled, chaos struck during injury time. Milan’s goalkeeper, Mike Maignan, received a red card, leaving the team in a real bind. Without a backup goalie, Milan had no choice but to turn to Giroud.

Giroud, a French striker known for his goal-scoring ability, stepped up to play as a goalkeeper. Despite not being a professional goalkeeper, he fearlessly accepted the challenge. He made crucial saves to secure Milan’s 1-0 lead, proving his versatility and commitment to the team.

9. Jan Koller

Jan Koller, a towering 6-foot-7 striker, had an unusual moment in a match against Bayern Munich back in 2002. Interestingly, Koller’s journey in football had a unique twist. In his youth, he started as a goalkeeper due to his exceptional height. However, he later transitioned into a striker for Borussia Dortmund.

During the game against Bayern Munich, Dortmund’s regular goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, was sent off due to a disagreement with the referee. With 24 minutes remaining on the clock, Koller had a flashback to his goalkeeper days and volunteered to stand in the goal. As the tallest player on his team, Koller successfully defended the goal, and the score remained 2-1 in favor of Bayern Munich until the final whistle.

8. Harry Kane

In 2014, Harry Kane, one of Europe’s most prolific goal scorers, had a surprising turn of events during a match against Asteras. Tottenham’s regular goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, was sent off, and the team had exhausted all their substitutions. With no other option, Kane, who had already scored a hat trick in the same match, took on the role of goalkeeper.

However, it turned into an unfortunate moment for Kane. He made an embarrassing mistake by fumbling the ball into his net from a free-kick taken by Jeronimo Barrales. Despite this mishap, Kane’s willingness to step up and help the team showed his dedication and versatility, even in an unfamiliar role.

7. Rio Ferdinand

In a memorable moment during a 2008 match between Manchester United and Portsmouth, Rio Ferdinand, a top-class defender, found himself in an unexpected position as a goalkeeper. When a penalty was awarded against United, Ferdinand had to step into the goal. Even though it was a challenging situation, he displayed some impressive goalkeeping skills. He came incredibly close to stopping Sulley Muntari’s penalty kick, showing agility and determination. Although United didn’t win that particular battle, Ferdinand’s brief stint as a goalkeeper left a lasting impression on fans and showcased his versatility on the field.

6. John O’Shea

John O’Shea, a former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland player, had a unique moment in football history when he was substituted as a goalkeeper. This extraordinary event took place in 2007 during a Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur. Manchester United’s regular goalkeeper was injured, and with no substitutes left, O’Shea stepped in as an emergency goalkeeper. He wore the gloves and defended the goal for the final minutes of the game. It was an unusual sight for a versatile outfield player like O’Shea, but he managed to keep a clean sheet and even made a crucial save. This memorable moment showcased his adaptability and dedication to the team’s success.

5. James Milner

James Milner, a versatile English footballer, found himself in an unusual situation during a Premier League match for Manchester City. When City’s goalkeeper was injured, Milner, typically an outfield player, bravely volunteered to step into the goal. This remarkable moment occurred in 2013 against Liverpool. Milner didn’t just fill the spot; he made crucial saves, including one from Liverpool’s penalty. His adaptability and composure as an emergency goalkeeper impressed fans and teammates alike. This instance showcased the importance of versatile players who can adapt to various positions in a pinch, earning Milner respect not only as a midfielder but also as an emergency goalkeeper.

4. Pele

In 1963, during a football match between Santos and Gremio, something extraordinary happened. A 17-year-old Brazilian superstar named Pele, who was renowned for his incredible goal-scoring abilities, had already netted three goals in the match. But then, the unexpected occurred. The goalkeeper for Santos, Gilmar, was shown a red card and sent off the field, leaving his team without a goalkeeper.

Here’s where Pele’s incredible versatility and courage came into play. He volunteered to take on the challenging role of goalkeeper, even though he had never played in that position before. To everyone’s amazement, Pele performed admirably as a goalkeeper. He made incredible saves and showed remarkable agility and reflexes, earning praise from his teammates and fans.

This remarkable moment in Pele’s career showcased not only his extraordinary talent as a footballer but also his fearlessness and adaptability, making him one of the most iconic figures in the history of football.

3. Robbie Savage

In 2010, during a match between Derby County and Reading, an unexpected turn of events led to former Manchester United star Robbie Savage stepping into the role of goalkeeper. Saul Deeney, Derby County’s regular goalkeeper, was shown a red card and sent off, leaving his team in a difficult situation.

Robbie Savage, known for his fiery temperament and strong commitment to his team, selflessly volunteered to be the substitute goalkeeper. Despite his lack of experience in this position, he did his best to protect the goal and prevent his team from conceding any more goals.

Savage’s time as a goalkeeper was a mixed bag – he managed to make some incredible saves, showcasing his determination and athletic ability. However, he also conceded two goals during the match. Despite his efforts, Derby County ended up losing the game 4-1.

Robbie Savage’s willingness to step into the goalkeeper’s role demonstrated his dedication to his team, even in the face of a challenging and unfamiliar situation.

2. Dani Alves

In 2018, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) went head-to-head with Sochaux in the French Cup final. An unexpected turn of events unfolded during this match. PSG’s regular goalkeeper, Kevin Trapp, committed a foul that was deemed unnecessary by the referee, resulting in him getting a red card and being sent off the field. This left PSG in a tricky situation, needing someone to guard the goal. To the amazement of fans, Dani Alves, known for his skills as a right-back, was chosen to step in as the goalkeeper.

However, Dani Alves’ time as a goalie was brief, lasting only about 30 seconds. During this short stint, he didn’t have much opportunity to showcase his goalkeeping skills, and nothing eventful happened in the goal he was guarding.

1. Phil Jagielka

In 2006, Sheffield United faced off against a formidable Arsenal team. During the match, Sheffield United’s regular goalkeeper, Paddy Kenny, got injured while attempting a goal-kick. This left the team in a bit of a predicament, but they had a hero in waiting. Phil Jagielka, who was not a goalkeeper by trade but an outfield player, stepped up to replace the injured Kenny.

To everyone’s surprise, Jagielka performed admirably in his role as a goalkeeper. He defied the odds and prevented Arsenal, a team known for its attacking prowess, from scoring any goals. One of the most memorable moments of his performance was a spectacular save he made against the skilled striker Robin Van Persie. This unexpected display of goalkeeping prowess from an outfield player demonstrated Jagielka’s versatility and his ability to rise to the occasion when his team needed him most.


The article also serves as a reminder that anything can happen in football. Even the most well-prepared teams can find themselves in unexpected situations, such as having all of their goalkeepers unavailable. In these cases, it is essential to have players who are able to adapt and fill in wherever needed.

The players on this list have all shown that they are capable of playing in goal, even though it is not their primary position. This is a valuable asset for any team, and it could prove to be the difference between winning and losing a match.