Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper of his generation. The German has simply won everything on offer at club level, became a world champion in 2014 and pioneered a new wave of sweeper keepers.
Therefore, his nomination for the 2020 UEFA Player of the Year award is long overdue. Not just for Neuer, but for goalkeepers in general. In an age where attacking talent can win you individual matches, it still holds true that great goalkeepers win you titles.
Here, we list four reasons why Neuer deserves to win the award.
While clearly a frustrated outfield player at heart, Neuer would be nowhere this list if he was not a man mountain between the sticks. The German international had the fewest goals conceded in the Bundesliga last season and also kept vital clean sheets in both the Champions League semi-final and the final victory over Paris Saint Germain.
Victory for Neuer would not just be in recognition of his efforts this season.
Throughout an illustrious career, Neuer has won UEFA’s Goalkeeper of the Year award on multiple occasions, four-time IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) Best Goalkeeper of the Year without beginning to mention the honours he has won at club and international level.
Who said goalkeepers had to be conventional? While the memory of his mistake at the 2018 World Cup still raises a smile, the truth is that Manuel Neuer has redefined the role of goalkeeper throughout the past decade.
Never afraid to come out of his box, playing more as a sweeper than a goalkeeper, Neuer has been a goalkeeper who commands his area as if his life depends on it.
For all of Kevin De Bruyne and Robert Lewandowski’s many talents, neither can claim to have had such an influence on their position as Neuer has.
After the aforementioned mistake against South Korea at the 2018 World Cup, Manuel Neuer became a worldwide laughing stock.
He had played minimal football before the finals in Russia and his performances during Germany’s calamitous campaign suggested that he may be a player in terminal decline.
However, the recovery from this low has been swift and successful. Far from being displaced by Marc-Andre ter Stegen for his country, Neuer has reasserted his ability and made those who wrote him off look very foolish.
After capping his recovery by lifting the Champions League, Neuer deserves to be recognised as UEFA Player of the Year.