Slovenia's Samir Handanovic is one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A, the Italian first division. ((Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images))


Born: July 14, 1984, in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia

Position: Goalkeeper

Nickname: Il Portiere (The Doorman)

Clubs played for: Handanvoic began his career with Slovenian club Domzale before moving to Udinese in Italy in 2004. Udinese sent him on loan to Rimini for a season in Serie B (Italy's second division), but the Slovenian returned to Udinese and became the team's No. 1 goalkeeper in the summer of 2007 following the departure of veteran Morgan De Sanctis.

International career: Handanovic had a brief stint with Slovenia's U-21 team before graduating to the senior side in 2004

Why is he so special? The six-foot-five-inch goalkeeper uses his height to his full advantage by routinely making athletic saves when opposing forwards seem to have him at their mercy.

His most famous moment: Earning a 1-0 shutout against Russia on Nov. 18, 2009, to help Slovenia qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He said it: "This [World Cup qualification] is for all of Slovenia."

What they're saying about him: "He's one of the best goalkeepers in Italy." - Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus goalkeeper

Here's an interesting fact: Handanovic's cousin, Jasmin Handanovic, is also a goalkeeper who plays for A.C. Mantova in Italy's second division. Jasmin serves as Samir's backup on the Slovenian national team.