Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer almost became the first goalkeeper to have won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award. The German finished only second to Cristiano Ronaldo, who was lifting the award for the third time in his career.
Many reckon thatNeuer should have won the award after playing a starring role for both club and country in 2014. He helped Bayern Munich win the German Cup and Bundesliga title last season, while he achieved the crowning glory of leading his country to World Cup success in Brazil. More importantly,Neuer impressed many with his unique style of goalkeeping.
Neuer almost became the sweeper on several instances and this helped Germany keep defences tight. Former Arsenal and Barcelona superstar Thierry Henry believes thatNeuer could be the new style of goalkeeper for decades to come. Gone are the days of goalkeepers just required to be great shot stoppers. The game has progressed in such a way that goalkeepers need to have ball playing abilities as well.Neuer is someone who excels in this regard and he is set to remain between the sticks at Bayern for a long time. Henry says thatNeuer will be establishing the standards for future goalkeepers with his unique style.
“I think we definitely saw something new. Neuer changed what we perceive as the job of a goalkeeper. The role had already evolved when keepers were prohibited from picking up back-passes, but the person who has really revolutionised the position is Neuer.With Neuer, it’s like you always have an extra man. That change also owes much to the freedom he’s been given by his coach, but Neuer can do it as he’s a truly great goalkeeper. He always stays composed when making his passes – he’s like a genuine libero,” said the former Arsenal striker.