The following incident occurred during the Champions League quarterfinal first leg match between Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday 6 April 2011. The match finished 5—1.
Let's face it, goalkeepers in general are very poor at tackling. They are not trained or expected to tackle, to defend without using their hands, or to have good technical skills using their feet. As soon as goalkeepers are out of their penalty areas, they are like fish out of water ... and Referees should be alert whenever this happens.
Here are four freeze frames of Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes (green) racing out of his area, following a poor back pass by team-mate Daniel Alves. At this time, the score was 1—0.
The Shakhtar Donetsk forward (white) was lucky to escape injury, considering the excessive force of Valdes' two-footed lunge with two extended legs. In fact, the forward saw what the goalkeeper was doing and opted to side-step and avoid a direct head-on collision with the onrushing Valdes.
Even though the Referee (Craig Thomson from Scotland) was near the halfway line, he still had a clear uninterrupted view of the challenge. Nothing was given and, with that, Valdes scored another triumph for all goalkeepers who usually tackle recklessly and sometimes with excessive force.
Referees must be alert to the safety of players whenever goalkeepers charge out of their areas.
Note: Considering the passion with which some readers comment (thank you!) about players jumping in with both feet (or jumping off the ground) in challenges, goalkeepers do not deserve any special treatment or privileges compared with outfield players. Goalkeepers should be called on and penalized for their reckless tackles as well as for their use of excessive force.