Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is regarded as one of the best in the world. He enhanced his reputation even further by performing a starring role for the German national team at the World Cup 2014. Despite being a goalkeeper, Neuer almost performed like a sweeper for most of the tournament and it helped Germany avoid a number of goals. Germany’s back four is certainly not the quickest due to the presence of players like Per Mertesacker, but manager Joachim Loew has been able to play a high-line because of Neuer’s presence.
The 28-year-old’s decision to play almost as a sweeper may have come from his young days. His former goalkeeping coach in the youth team at Schalke, Lothar Matuschak, says that Neuer tried to be revolutionary even at a tender age. This has allowed him to hone his skills to the point where he is now considered as one of the best. The presence of Guardiola, who favours his goalkeepers to be much better on the ball, has also aided Neuer in improving his skills according to Matuschak. Most managers are usually sceptical about their goalkeepers holding onto the ball for long. This is not the case with Guardiola, who wants his centre backs and goalkeepers to start the attacks.
“Even when he was very young Manuel cared about more than just saving shots. As a result, he has taken the style of play for a goalkeeper onto a new level. He is not only a keeper, but also also a player involved in his team’s build-up play. He has extraordinary skills on his line and inside the penalty area. He is the whole package. I am very happy his performances are being appreciated,” said the former youth team coach at Schalke.
Despite being only 28, he has already won more than 10 major honours including the World Cup.