Bayern Munich’s manager Louis van Gaal had the following to say about Manchester United’s goalkeeper:
I always say Van der Sar is a manufactured goalkeeper. He is not so happy when I say it, but there are more natural goalkeepers in the world. Van der Sar has been made into a goalkeeper.
Of course, van Gaal had not yet seen Chelsea’s new keeper, or his recognition of “manufactured” goalies would be more astute. It took a special caliber of player to dethrone the venerable Petr Cech from his starting role. 6’7″ of solid, shining bronze, “Robot Zeus,” as he became known, was an embodiment of perfection. His original ties to Robot Pele are nebulous, but his affiliation with Dieter Sphinxly and Grecian origin remain of little debate.
Although he could sometimes be beaten by less challenging shots, he routinely turned in fantastic saves and rarely got caught flat-footed. He did, however, show a propensity for wandering from his line, and his early days saw opponents seize the advantage of the open net. But with time his might became known, and there was nothing he could not accomplish on the pitch. For those blistering shots seemingly beyond him, some claimed to have seen sparks of lightning issuing from his fingertips and steering the ball off-course.
And when he sallied forth, teams crumbled. In tandem with Robot Pele, the goals pelted the nets. He became the all-time leading goal scorer among goalkeepers in the history of the English Premier League in a matter of two appearances. On top of that, he performed his role admirably, and the preponderance of clean sheets in Chelsea’s record could be attributed directly to his influence.
His ascension to Olympus remains a dark day in the storied history of the Blues.