When someone as respected as Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says that 'Pepe' Reina is the best goalkeeper in the world you have to take notice. The Spanish stopper has been smashing Liverpool goalkeeping records since joining the Anfield outfit and is already being spoken of in the same terms as the legendary Ray Clemence. Already an idol on Merseyside and establishing himself as a Spanish international, Jose Manuel Reina looks certain to become an all-time great.
Despite being a native of Madrid, Reina began his career with Barcelona and made his debut for the Catalan giants at 18. He was sent on loan to Villarreal in a deal that was eventually made permanent. In the 2004-05 season he helped the Yellow Submarines into a Champions League spot and finished the campaign having saved seven out of nine penalties. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez swooped, hailing him as the 'best keeper in Spain'.
Reina soon established himself as first choice keeper at Anfield, breaking records for consecutive Premiership clean sheets, consecutive league clean sheets and finally, with 11, the most consecutive clean sheets in Liverpool's history. In February 2008 Reina became the quickest Reds keeper to record 50 shut-outs, after just 92 matches. His performances have earned him two Barclays Premiership Golden Glove awards for the highest number of clean sheets in a season.
Reina won the European Super Cup with Liverpool in 2005 and the following year made a number of crucial saves, including three in the penalty shoot-out, to help Liverpool win the FA Cup. A series of stunning saves against Chelsea, including two more spot kicks, took Liverpool to the 2007 Champions League final against Milan. Reina has already racked up a hatful of Spanish caps and his outstanding form for Liverpool has put huge pressure on Spain's first choice number one, Iker Casillas. Pepe Reina is fast becoming a Liverpool legend while establishing himself as one of the world's truly great goalkeepers.