Manuel Peter Neuer (German pronunciation: [ˈmaːnu̯ɛl ˈnɔʏ.ɐ]; born 27 March 1986) is a German professional footballer who plays for Bayern Munich and the Germany national team. He is a goalkeeper and serves as vice-captain for Bayern Munich and captain of Germany. Neuer has been described as a "sweeper-keeper" because of his unique playing style and speed when rushing off his line to anticipate opponents; he is also known for his quick reflexes, excellent shot-stopping abilities, strength, long throwing range, command of his area and accurate control and distribution of the ball.
Regarded by pundits as the best goalkeeper in the world (he is the current holder of the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper award, which he has won for the past four consecutive years since 2013), and as one of the best and most complete goalkeepers of all-time, Neuer won the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany as well as the Golden Glove award for being the best goalkeeper in the tournament, and is considered by some in the sport to be the best goalkeeper in football since Lev Yashin.
In 2014, Neuer finished third in the voting, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award. The same year, he was ranked the third-best player in the world by The Guardian.
Neuer played for Schalke 04 II during the 2003–04, 2004–05, 2006–07, and 2008–09. Neuer signed professional terms in 2005 after progressing through every age group at his hometown club, Schalke 04. Neuer didn't make any first team appearances during the 2005–06 season. He made his Bundesliga debut with Schalke when he came on to substitute the injured Frank Rost on matchday 2 of the 2006–07 season. The 20-year-old eventually won the starting position when Rost was surprisingly dropped for the crunch clash against Bayern Munich. Neuer did not disappoint and managed to secure a 2–2 draw against the defending champions. He made 27 league appearances during the 2006–07 season. Despite his young age, he was widely tipped to be a potential successor to his former idol Jens Lehmann in the future for the German national team.
Neuer started the 2007–08 season by playing in three matches in the German League Cup. On 5 March 2008, in the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League against Porto, he almost single-handedly kept Schalke in the game with several saves, forcing the game into penalties. He then saved penalties from Bruno Alves and Lisandro López to help Schalke advance to the quarter-finals. For his heroics, he was shortlisted for the 2007–08 UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year award; he was the youngest as well as the only Bundesliga goalkeeper on the list. He was one of only three Bundesliga players to play every minute in the 2007–08 season. He finished the season by making 50 appearances in all competitions.
In the 2008–09 season, Schalke finished eighth in the league table and missed out on a Europa League spot. However, his good showing at the 2009 Under-21 European Championships sparked interest from Bayern Munich, with Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge declaring interest in signing the young goalkeeper. Schalke's new manager Felix Magath, however, insisted that Neuer "will play for Schalke next season". In November, he was the only German goalkeeper in the list of five nominated goalkeepers for the UEFA Team of the Year.
For the 2010–11 season, Neuer was appointed captain and led the team to its first Champions League semi-final appearance. He also won the DFB Pokal in his final season with the club, as Schalke defeated MSV Duisburg 5–0. On 20 April 2011, he announced that he would not be extending his contract with Schalke, which was set to expire at the end of the 2011–12 season. He earned criticism by Schalke fans, who were disappointed with him leaving for a rival club.
On 1 June 2011, Schalke and Bayern Munich confirmed that Neuer would move to Bayern in July 2011. Neuer signed a five-year contract that lasted until June 2016. The move was worth €22 million, making Neuer the second-most expensive goalkeeper of all time, only behind Gianluigi Buffon. After hostilities of Bayern fans against Neuer (some fans were unhappy about Bayern buying a Schalke keeper), a round-table discussion between Bayern and group of supporters' representatives took place on 2 July 2011. Among other things, it was decided that Manuel Neuer will be "regarded as a full member of the FC Bayern Munich team, who should be treated with due respect. Furthermore, hostility towards him should cease". Right in the first weeks at Bayern, after a 0–0 draw with 1899 Hoffenheim, Neuer broke the Bayern Munich record for most competitive clean sheets in a row, having gone over 1,000 minutes without conceding. He improved the record formerly held by Oliver Kahn.
On 25 April 2012, Neuer saved penalty kicks from both Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká and helped Bayern through the 2011–12 Champions League semi-finals against Real Madrid. Following the match, Neuer has revealed that he studied the way Ronaldo took his penalties. Neuer told Bild, "I always prepare myself for such situations. Our goalkeeping coach, Toni Tapalovic, showed me on his laptop before the match how Ronaldo usually takes his penalties. I learned that Ronaldo prefers to send the ball low to his left. In the penalty shoot-out, I was convinced that he would aim for his favourite spot."
Bayern went on to progress to the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final against Chelsea, which also went to a penalty shoot-out after a 1–1 draw. He took and scored the third penalty for Bayern and also saved the first penalty taken by Juan Mata, but could not save the rest of the penalties as Munich lost the trophy 4–3 on penalties in their home stadium, the Allianz Arena.
In the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League knockout phase, Neuer posted four clean sheets in a row versus both Juventus and Barcelona. In the 2013 Champions League Final against Borussia Dortmund, Neuer posted eight saves en route to Bayern's fifth Champions League title. The game featured great play from both keepers, and Neuer would end up winning the duel against Roman Weidenfeller having only conceded once to İlkay Gündoğan on a penalty shot.
For the 2013 UEFA Super Cup, on 30 August 2013, he saved the last and decisive penalty which saw Bayern Munich win the match against Chelsea, taking some revenge for the lost 2012 UEFA Champions League Final. Neuer was announced as the 2013 World Goalkeeper of the year on 7 January 2014. On 9 February, Bayern faced Arsenal in the Champions League knockout phase and Neuer saved the penalty from Mesut Özil in the first half. Bayern went on to win the game 2–0 away. On 2 May 2014, Neuer extended his current contract until the summer of 2019.
Neuer won the German footballer of the year, was voted into the UEFA Team of the Year, and finished third in the FIFA Ballon d'Or.
On 30 January 2015, Neuer started on matchday 18, where Bayern lost to VfL Wolfsburg 4–1. This is the first league match since joining Bayern in 2011 where he has given up four goals in a match. The last time Bayern had given four goals in a match was against Wolfsburg on 4 April 2009.
On 28 April 2015, Neuer was one of four Bayern players to miss in a 2–0 penalty shootout defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal semi-final.
The season started when Neuer started in the 1–1 draw against VfL Wolfsburg in the German Super Cup. Wolfsburg won the subsequent shootout. On 20 April 2016, Neuer extended his contract with Bayern until 2021.
After progressing through the youth teams, Neuer made his Germany under-21 debut on 15 August 2006 against the Netherlands. He won the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship with Germany in Sweden, and kept a clean sheet in the 4–0 win in the final against England.
2010 World Cup
Neuer was called up on 19 May 2009 to the senior German squad for a tour of Asia. He made his debut on this tour in a match against the United Arab Emirates on 2 June. He played in the November friendly against the Ivory Coast that ended 2–2. Although he took responsibility for the first goal conceded, manager Joachim Löw refused to blame him and instead commended him for doing his best.
The death of keeper Robert Enke in November 2009 saw him elevated as the second choice goalkeeper behind René Adler. Adler, however, suffered a serious rib injury which ruled him out of the upcoming 2010 World Cup – Neuer became Germany's first choice goalkeeper ahead of Tim Wiese and Hans-Jörg Butt for the tournament.
Neuer was selected as Germany's number one goalkeeper for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. During the group stages, he only conceded a single goal, a close range shot by Milan Jovanović in the match against Serbia. He provided the assist for Miroslav Klose's opening goal against England, winning 4–1. He played in all of Germany's World Cup matches apart from the third-place game against Uruguay, when Hans-Jörg Butt was rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup.
Neuer played every minute of every match in the qualification campaign for UEFA Euro 2012, helping Germany to secure ten wins out of ten games and top their group. After Germany's 3–1 away win against Turkey, he was especially praised for his "sensational" performance. He retained a close range volley shot by Hamit Altıntop, and then he quickly threw the ball to the halfway line into the feet of Thomas Müller, who immediately provided the assist for Mario Gómez's opening goal. Neuer then set up the second goal; under pressure by Turkish attackers, he fired a precise long range kick to Mario Götze deep in the opponent's half, who then found Müller on the edge of the opponent's penalty box to score. Neuer started all three of Germany's matches in the oft-dubbed "Group of Death", Group B. He kept a clean sheet against Portugal while also conceding one goal each to the Netherlands and Denmark. Germany went on to win Group B, being the only team in the tournament to win all of their group stage games. He finished group play posting two saves against Portugal, three against the Netherlands and three again against Denmark.
2014 World Cup
Neuer's "sweeper-keeper" playing style distinguished him from other starting goalkeepers in the 2014 World Cup. This was credited with allowing his teammates to press deep in their opponents' half, plus Neuer's willingness to come out and challenge opposing attackers caused them to miss shots on net. Neuer's outfield roaming which had made him the team's "11th man" has been attributed to the coaching he received from Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola.
After keeping clean sheets in group matches against Portugal and the United States, Neuer recorded his third clean sheet of the World Cup in the 1–0 quarter-final defeat of France. This was his 22nd clean sheet overall in his 50th appearance for die Nationalmannschaft. In the semi-finals, Neuer conceded a late goal as his team routed hosts Brazil 7–1.
On 13 July, in the FIFA World Cup Final against Argentina, Neuer was not heavily tested but he nonetheless commanded his penalty area well, challenging attacking runs by Gonzalo Higuaín and Rodrigo Palacio that caused them to shoot wide of the net (ending up Argentina finished without a shot on goal despite several good chances). Early in the second half, Neuer punched the ball clear before colliding with Higuaín at the edge of the box. Germany ultimately defeated Argentina 1–0 thanks to a Mario Götze goal in extra time. Neuer won the Golden Glove award for the tournament's best goalkeeper.
On 1 September 2016, Neuer was named new captain of the national team, following Bastian Schweinsteiger's retirement.
Neuer was born in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia. He attended Gesamtschule Berger Feld, like many other notable footballers, such as Mesut Özil. His brother Marcel is currently a football referee in the Verbandsliga. He got his first football when he was two and had his first game on 3 March 1991, 24 days before his fifth birthday. Neuer's hero and idol as a child was fellow German and former Schalke goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.
Neuer is a Catholic, and lends his support to a Gelsenkirchen-based Catholic social action group which campaigns against child poverty as well as a Gelsenkirchen-based youth club run by the Amigonians.
Neuer started a charity foundation for children, named the Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation. In November 2011, he won €500,000 for charity in a celebrity edition of Wer wird Millionär?, the German version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Neuer did the voiceover for character Frank McCay in the German version of the 2013 Disney animation Monsters University.
- As of 20 January 2017
|Schalke 04 II||2003–04||Regionalliga Nord||1||0||—||1||0|
- 1.^ Includes DFB-Pokal.
- 2.^ Includes UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
- 3.^ Includes German League Cup, German Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup.
- As of 11 October 2016
|German national team|
- Schalke 04
- DFB-Pokal: 2010–11
- DFB-Ligapokal: 2005
- Bayern Munich
- Bundesliga: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
- DFB-Pokal: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2015–16
- DFL-Supercup: 2012, 2016
- UEFA Champions League: 2012–13
- UEFA Super Cup: 2013
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2013
- FIFA World Cup: 2014
- UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship: 2009
- Fritz Walter Medal U19 Silver Medal 2005
- Silbernes Lorbeerblatt: 2010, 2014
- Footballer of the Year in Germany: 2011, 2014
- ESM Team of the Year: 2011–12, 2012–13
- UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2012
- 2013 UEFA Champions League Final: Fans' Man of the Match
- IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2015
- FIFA FIFPro World XI: 2013, 2014 2015, 2016
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2015
- UEFA Champions League Squad of the season: 2013–14, 2015–16
- UEFA Best Player in Europe Award: 2011 (10th place), 2014 (2nd place), 2016 (8th place)
- FIFA World Cup Golden Glove: 2014
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2014
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team: 2014
- L'Équipe's player of the year: 2014
- AIPS Athlete of the Year: 2014
- AIPS Europe Athlete of the Year – Frank Taylor Trophy: 2014
- L'Équipe Champion of Champions: 2014 Runner-up
- FIFA Ballon d'Or: 3rd place 2014
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