Best in the League

Friday 26 June 2009

Pascal Zuberbühler claims Fulham shot-stopper Mark Schwarzer is the Barclays Premier League’s number one goalkeeper.

Since joining the Whites from Middlesbrough last summer, the experienced Aussie has impressed greatly – so much so, the 37-year-old was recently named the Club’s Player of the Year.

Having impressed the Fulham faithful he has also caught the watchful eye of second-choice goalkeeper Zuberbühler who himself has more than 15 years experience in the game.

The 38-year-old told “Petr Cech, Pepe Reina, Edwin Van der Sar, they’re all very good goalkeepers. But for me Mark Schwarzer is the best – the real number one.

“He had a fantastic season and I think he deserves all the recognition he gets, because he was one of Fulham’s most important players last year. We won quite a few points and games thanks to Mark’s form between the posts.

“Some of the saves we saw were truly world-class. I can’t explain just how important it is for a team to have a keeper like that because he gives his team-mates a lot of confidence. And that filters through from the defence right up to the attack.

“If a team wants to be successful on the pitch they need a strong keeper and Fulham have that with Mark. I don’t just say this because he is my team-mate either, in my eyes he is just the complete goalkeeper.

“I’m happy to call him my team-mate and a friend because he’s a fantastic professional and individual. I’ve been in the game a while but working with him over the last year or so, he has taught me a lot of things.”

Despite the obvious competition, Zuberbühler says he enjoys working alongside Schwarzer and the likes of David Stockdale, Neil Etheridge and Wesley Foderingham in what is known around Motspur Park as the goalkeepers’ union.

“We all get on, that’s one of the great things about being a Fulham player,” he said. “We have a very close group and it’s a pleasure to come in and work with these guys. Me and Mark are bit older than the others and hopefully we can pass on our experience, but they’re fantastic young keepers with a lot of potential.”

"Petr Cech, Pepe Reina, Edwin Van der Sar, they’re all very good goalkeepers. But for me Mark Schwarzer is the best."
Pascal Zuberbühler

It is also testament to Zubi’s character that he remains as committed as anyone towards the Fulham cause despite making only one First Team appearance last season, starting in the Club’s 1-0 Carling Cup defeat at Burnley having signed last summer from Swiss club Neuchâtel Xamax.

“I feel very happy and proud to be at this Club and I will return my experience and knowledge as best as I can. I have been a professional for a very long time now and I won more than 50 caps for Switzerland. I think I have a lot to give.

“Of course, you obviously want to be first choice but as I have said I am behind a wonderful goalkeeper. It has been a new experience for me, but one that I have still enjoyed.

“I’m already looking forward to the start of the new season because last year was a massive achievement for everyone involved. It is going to be difficult to improve, but the challenge itself presents a wonderful opportunity.”