Let’s start with this:
And now let’s discuss how we got here.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer isn’t a new thing. For many casual observers, Neuer’s remembered as the entertaining guy in goal for Germany during the World Cup, the one who seemed to hate playing goalkeeper. Die Nationalmannschaft’s No. 1 was often seen running away from his penalty area like he was the first sacrifice in a horror movie.
But that characterization is actually far from true. Neuer apparently enjoys playing in goal. In fact, some have ventured to describe him at quite good at the task. Playing in systems that give him the latitude to flash a more well-rounded game, Neuer is the rare goalkeeper who can have a real impact with his feet – to essentially play like an old-fashioned sweeper, confidentially and consistently.
Neuer isn’t reckless or operating outside of a team framework, nor is he merely relying on instincts or (in the case of his more nerve-racking exploits) luck. This is the future of goalkeeping. It’s next level.
But next level Neuer isn’t the only Neuer. Six feet, four inches tall but with the arms of an NBA power forward, Neuer has all the traits you’d want in a old school stopper. Strong in the air, diligent on crosses, Neuer doesn’t hesitate to command his area. Smart, quick off his line when the ball’s in front of him, the 28-year-old often seems much larger than his 1.93-meter self. Even if Germany and Bayern weren’t insistent on playing high lines — weren’t willing to test the limits of Neuer’s skill on the ball — the former Schalke rearguard would shine as one of the world’s elites.
Now, having collected both Champions League and World Cup titles, Neuer is the new standard in goal. There’s no longer a debate as to who’s number one. Instead, the debate is starting to transcend positions. Could he actually join Lev Yashin, the only other goalkeeper to claim a Ballon d’Or? If a few prominent voices have their way, Neuer will claim the game’s top individual honor.
All of which brings us back to that Vine at the top. Neuer may be a great goalkeeper, but what takes him from great to intriguing is that versatility. He’s a chameleon – turning into a sweeper, contributing with his feet, entertaining with a highly irresponsible flick when he’s inspired.
Well, irresponsible for a regular goalkeeper. He rarely makes a mistake, anymore. But there was a time, in his former life …
As for the #SG25, there doesn’t seem to be much beyond Neuer’s goalkeeping skill that recommends him for this list; at least, not from an entertainment perspective. That is, until you see him dance.
This video has received some attention, largely because of Thomas Muller, Neuer’s German international and Bayern teammate, and his dancing prowess. What is rarely discussed, however, is the big man on the left. That, ladies and gentlemen, is Manuel Neuer.
And you thought there was no entertainment value in this man. Shame on you. And if that wasn’t enough, here’s Neuer dancing again.
But to be certain, Neuer’s goalkeeping ability is what carries him in these rankings. He’s just that good.
The Fake numbers
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