Pepe Reina

Pepe Reina
NamePepe Reina
BirthdayAugust 31, 1982



‘Pepe’ may be the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and a Liverpool icon, but for Spain he is unfortunate enough to play in the same era as Iker Casillas, Vicente del Bosque’s established No.1 and arguably the greatest goalkeeper of his age group on the planet.

After announcing himself as a goalkeeper of some repute in Spain thanks to spells at Barcelona – where he made his debut aged 18 and played against Liverpool in the UEFA Cup semi-final in 2001 – and Villarreal, Reina was recruited by Rafa Benitez in July 2005 and immediately displaced Jerzy Dudek, who had been Liverpool’s penalty hero in Istanbul two months earlier, on his way to becoming a firm favourite of the Anfield crowd.

Reina quickly picked up an uncanny habit of breaking club records. In December 2005 he set a new club benchmark of 11 successive clean sheets and his 28th clean sheet in his first 50 games surpassed the tally of Liverpool legend Ray Clemence. Reina also won the Premier League Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets for three years in succession and has boasts an impressive penalties to saves ratio – most notably in the FA Cup final of 2006 and the Champions League semi-final win over Chelsea in 2007.

Strengths: Reina is the very model of a modern goalkeeper blessed as he is with impressive agility and lightning reactions. He also boasts excellent distribution and has started many a successful Liverpool counter-attack, as well as proving one of the best penalty-stoppers in the world game.

Weaknesses: Like any goalkeeper, Reina is subject to the odd gaffe and has struggled to command his defence when dealing with set pieces on occasions.

Career high: Saving three out of West Ham’s four spot-kicks at the 2006 FA Cup final to atone for an unconvincing display in normal time as Liverpool won the trophy.

Career low: Failing to play any part at the 2006 World Cup despite travelling to Germany as a member of Luis Aragones’ squad.

Style: Commanding, quick-thinking, alert, a dynamic shot-stopper.

Quotes: “A goalkeeper can win you the title definitely. He showed he is a very good keeper, the best in the Premier League for me. He is the No.1.” Rafa Benitez, August 2009.

Trivia: Reina’s father, Miguel , was a noted goalkeeper for both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the 1960s and 70s and the Liverpool man became only the third player to follow in his father’s footsteps by playing in a European Cup final in 2007. Paolo Maldini and Manuel Sanchis had achieved the feat before him.

Pepe Reina