Manuel Neuer is considered to be a rightful contender in the conversation for some of the best goalkeepers of all time. The German shot stopper has been playing at the highest level of the game for a while over a decade now, and boasts of a trophy cabinet that any young player – training to make it big as a professional – would dream to possess one day.
Not only has the 2014 World Cup winner and the two-time treble winner won an impressive amount of major trophies as a part of Bayern Munich and the German national team, he is also considered as one of the modern-day goalkeeping pioneers – who has set a trend for goalkeepers with his signature ability to play as a sweeper-keeper.
Neuer underlined his importance once again for the defending champions of Europe, in last night’s first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixture against Lazio. Bayern had all the momentum as they kept the pressure on Lazio for the entirety of the game, and Neuer played an important role in never letting the flow of the game out of their hands.
When Luis Alberto tried to send Ciro Immobile through on goal in the 34th minute, Neuer neatly collected the ball in his safe arms – but turned possession over almost instantly with what one might call a “one-touch pass” with his hands.
The impressively unique antics are nothing new for Neuer, who has previously gone to extreme lengths to keep the momentum for his side – including ventures deep into midfield or exhibiting his quick feet near the corner flag.
Bayern came out 4-1 victors on the night in a very comprehensive win on unfamiliar territory and would be looking to defend a three-goal advantage at the Allianz Arena in just under a month’s time.
Over the years, Neuer has made a reputation for himself for acting as the eleventh outfield player of the team and is almost always found as the player to initiate every wave of attack from the back for both club and country.
Neuer is also always sweeping up at the back whenever he finds that the defenders have been beaten for pace, often acting as an additional defender – and has been an influential pioneer of the art of sweeping up at the back as a goalkeeper.
The former Schalke goalkeeper has been a mainstay for both club and country in goal for more than ten years now and will go down as one of the best ever to have donned a pair of gloves whenever he decides to hang his boots up.