Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has declared Manuel Neuer to be the greatest ever goalkeeper because he took the role to another level.
The 33-year-old shot-stopper has been with German’s football’s most illustrious outfit since 2011 after controversially joining from boyhood team Schalke.
How good has Neuer been for Bayern this season? Five key things to know…
- Neuer has kept seven clean sheets in 19 Bundesliga appearances this season, including one against former side Schalke on Saturday evening.
- He has let in 22 goals (or once every 77.73 minutes), further raising question marks regarding his future.
- Barcelona shot-stopper Marc-André ter Stegen is pressuring him for Germany’s ‘number one’ shirt.
- Alexander Nübel, 23, is set to join from Schalke in the summer to provide competition for Neuer.
- Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, nonetheless, believes Neuer is the greatest ever goalkeeper.
His transfer was met with resentment from a section of Bayern’s vocal support as they deemed him to have mocked club icon and legendary ‘keeper Oliver Kahn.
Neuer has since won them over through a string of quality performances and in the process he’s become the premier ball-playing goalkeeper (or sweeper-keeper).
After winning the 2014 World Cup, keeping four clean sheets across seven matches for Germany, Neuer finished behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or standings.
Widely considered as among the best in his position today, Rummenigge has gone one step further by describing Neuer as the best of all-time, despite Bayern previously being home to two other great German ‘keepers in the aforementioned Khan and Sepp Maier.
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“I’ve seen everyone,” he told reporters.
“Sepp Maier, Oliver Kahn, and now Manu. I have the greatest respect for Sepp and Oli, they were absolutely world-class. But what Manuel has done is something else: he took the whole goalkeeping game to a new level. Manu is the best goalkeeper the world has ever seen.”
“We know what we have in Manuel,” he added. “There’s no need to discuss that [his expiring contract in June 2021] . But we do need to talk with players and advisors first.”
Sepp Maier, dubbed “Die Katze von Anzing”, or “The Cat from Anzing”, spent his entire playing career at Bayern Munich and would make nearly 600 official appearances in which he helped them win four Bundesliga titles and three consecutive European Cup crowns.
He would go on to mentor Oliver Kahn, who joined Bayern in 1994 from hometown club Karlsruher SC, since making the switch Kahn played no fewer than 632 matches including two Champions League finals — winning one (2001) — whilst lifting eight league championships.