Fernando Torres weighs in on best goalkeeper debate - and doesn't go for De Gea

Real Betis v Atletico Madrid - La Liga

Fernando Torres believes that the best goalkeeper in the world is clear 'by a distance'.

The Atletico legend throws a different name into the mix at a time when there is much debate over who the greatest around is - especially in the aftermath of David de Gea's performance against Arsenal.

The title of "world's best" has been virtually unanimously held by Bayern Munich and Germany captain Manuel Neuer for the past five years, a dominance shown by his four consecutive IFFHS Goalkeeper of the Year awards from 2013-16.

That run was interrupted this year by Gianluigi Buffon's win - the fifth of his career - and the argument of just who is the greatest is as open as it has been for some time.

David de Gea's incredible display of shot-stopping has furthered calls for him to be regarded as the best, calls that have been lingering for the past few years.

While Buffon's 16/17 season saw him back on top of the awards, finishing as the highest placed goalkeeper for the Ballon d'Or, sixteen places ahead of De Gea. 

Now Torres, a player who has played alongside some of the best goalkeepers of the previous decade, believes there's no real argument - Atletico teammate Jan Oblak.

"I've never seen a goalkeeper like him," he told AS. "He's the best in the world by a distance."

It's huge praise from someone who has spent a career playing with the likes of Jose Reina, Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes, and Petr Cech. It's not, however, the first time Torres has praised Oblak as the best in the world, having also done so a year ago in an Instagram post.

Oblak's reputation has been rising consistently over the past couple of seasons to the point where he's comfortably regarded as one of the best around, especially by those at Atletico.

Antoine Griezmann has also recently named the 24-year-old as the best in the world, and Real Madrid are widely reported to have lined him up as a potential alternative to De Gea.

Oblak is certainly in the argument. The Atletico goalkeeper has been named in both the La Liga and UEFA Champions League seasonal awards for the last two years and has equalled the La Liga record for goals conceded in a season.

Torres was speaking to Spanish sports daily AS in an in-depth interview that covered his entire career. He was also full of praise for Atleti star Saúl Ñíguez, saying "He's the player with the biggest present and future in the squad. He's always taken the right steps forward as a player."

The 33-year-old's Atletico future is in some doubt with the impending return of Diego Costa, but Torres remains determined to prove his worth at his boyhood club once again.

"Now Diego Costa is coming in and it'll be tough for me to play, but I'll work to be in the team as I've always done," he said. "Putting the Atleti shirt on still makes it all worthwhile.

"But everything I've achieved has been on my merits, fighting for it, scrapping for it.

"When I was 17, so many fans told me I'd given them hope. Now I'm back to finish what I started.

"After all the effort I've put in to fight for my place and play, I'm not going to throw the towel in now."

News Now - Sport News