Happy Birthday Manuel Neuer: 10 reasons why we love the German goalkeeper
Happy Birthday Manuel Neuer.
The goalkeeper turns 30 today and we've decided the best way mark his birthday would be reminding you what makes the great man so great.
Here's 10 reasons why he's the best around:
1. He's hell-bent on creating a new footballing position
Manuel Neuer plays for two of the best football teams in the world, Germany and Bayern Munich, so it must get a bit dull being in goals while your side have 94 per cent possession each game. Most goalkeepers would probably be happy to hang back, chill out and wait for another clean sheet bonus.
Not Neuer though.
The German seems determined to create a new football position. Making impressive saves, crunching tackles and spraying the ball around, at times he resembles a hybrid between Peter Schmeicel, Roy Keane and Xavi.
It'd be funny, if he wasn't so damn good.
Check out Neuer's passing stats from Bayern's 4-1 win ovr FC Klon in February.
Neuer's passes were measured, 100 per cent accurate and featured no long punts. There's even a few from midfield.
3. This picture
In the past, a goalkeeper who roamed from the penalty area had something of a bad reputation, they were considered eccentric and unreliable.
For example, Pablo Escobar's pal Rene 'El Loco' Higuita.
The Colombian is more remembered, in this part of the world anyway, for his wild outfield exploits than being a good goalkeeper.
However, Neuer isn't regarded as eccentric and has made it fashionable for 'keepers to take part in general play. Now, when one performs a piece of skill or does something out of the ordinary, it's seen as 'doing a Neuer', rather than an eccentric act.
Goalkeepers of the world salute you Manuel.
5. Impressive saves
Neuer didn't have much to do during Germany's destruction of Brazil. The goalkeeper mostly watched in awe like the rest of us as the hosts crumbled 7-1, but when he was called into action, he was typically impressive.
What makes the double save even more impressive is the deflation Brazil must have felt. A comeback was impossible, but the German goalkeeper just confirmed it, fully killing off Brazilian dreams.
This save from Karim Benzema in the quarter-finals wasn't too bad either.
6. Dance moves
Okay, so maybe he's not exactly the smoothest mover, but this clip shows that he's really clever. No matter how bad of a dancer you are, Thomas Muller is worse. Just look at him.
Therefore, stand near Muller, and instantly appear to be a better dancer than you actually are.
Typical Neuer, always in the right place.
7. When he does get caught out, it's spectacular
Even his howlers are impressive, check out this amazing goal from 2011. Neuer playing for former team Schalke against Inter Milan in the Champions league.
He rushed out of goal, as usual, and headed the ball clear, but Dejan Stankovic connected with a sweet volley and Neuer was left with serious egg on his face.
All within the opening 30 seconds. Never a dull moment.
8. He does what he wants
Only Neuer could get away with this assault, and in the World Cup final, no less. The definition of 'winning the ball, and taking the man'.
This is Neuer's heatmap from a game last December, and, no, he wasn't playing centre-half.
— Eurosport DE (@Eurosport_DE) December 6, 2014
You'd imagine a goalkeeper's heatmap, in a team as dominant as Bayern Munich, would be Steven Gerrard-esque. Not Neuer's though.
He's all over the place and it's a common trend of the goalie's game.
Manuel Neuer completed 100% of his passes vs. FC Koln last night. Standard Neuer heat map. pic.twitter.com/1iou3vTECn
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 28, 2015
Here's *that* Manuel Neuer heat map from Germany vs. Algeria at the 2014 World Cup. pic.twitter.com/BhlMdfGoIB
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 1, 2014
10. He's the best
No goalkeeper in Europe's top 5 leagues has kept more clean sheets this season than Manuel Neuer (16). pic.twitter.com/TDh2OGu7S7
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 27, 2015