Over the years, the beautiful game has witnessed many legends and myths. But very few of them revolutionized their roles and changed the game for the rest of football history.
Manuel Neuer has certainly done that, as he has re-defined the art of goal-keeping through his ‘sweeper-keeper way of playing. Neuer has been on top of the world for the last 10 years and now despite being in the twilight of his career, he’s still the best in business. The quality he possesses and his achievements tell the same story. Before we talk about more of his heroics, let’s discuss what a sweeper-keeper actually is and how Manuel Neuer has perfected this art in his marvelous game.
Neuer the “Sweeper-keeper”
The basic difference between a daily-life goalkeeper and a ‘sweeper keeper’ is that the latter goes high up on the pitch and ‘sweeps’ the offensive danger from the opponents, allowing their defense to function at more attacking areas. This role allows teams to play great attacking football. Manuel Neuer has been the essence of this kind of goal-keeping for over a decade now. We have seen him advancing forward and clearing the danger for his team multiple times. But with Pros, this position has cons too, not all keepers possess quality like Neuer. So if your average or even above-average keeper is playing as a sweeper-keeper, your team is defensively vulnerable.
The sweeper-keeper wasn’t a famous term like it is today. Neuer’s amazing way of goal-keeping got recognition in the 2014 FIFA World Cup as he used to barge into the higher areas of the pitch and deny the opposition’s attacking efforts with his marvelous tackling and ball control techniques, which made him a perfect sweeper-keeper. The German has replicated his impressive style with Bayern Munich too. Apart from that, Neuer’s ball distribution and involvement in his team’s attacking dynamics is also quite exceptional and no doubt, even despite being 34 years of age, not many goal-keepers stand at his level.
If it wasn’t for a major injury in 2017/18, which has slowed down the German superstar quite significantly, Neuer would’ve reached greater heights. Although with the growing age and injury issues, it has become a bit difficult for Neuer to execute such a tricky and difficult role lately but he has already changed the way goalkeeping is perceived and made it more fun!
Neuer with Bayern Munich
Now when you know the technical tendencies and superiorities of Manuel Neuer, talking about his achievements makes sense. Neuer is a massively decorated footballer, and he isn’t coming slow. In 2020, he clinched the famous ‘Sextuple’ with Bayern after being crowned the European Champion in the summer. It was his second Champions League title. The IFFHS best goalkeeper of the last decade also has 8 Bundesliga titles to his name.
Neuer with Germany
He didn’t lack with his country too. Just when Neuer perfected the art of sweeper-keeper in the 2014 World Cup, he came back home bearing gifts. Germany lifted the FIFA World Cup in 2014, with having Neuer between the sticks. He has everything you could ask for in a world-class keeper. In recent years, Marc-Andre Ter Stegan has rivaled Neuer for the first-choice keeper spot in the German National Team, but the 34 years isn’t looking to give up his position any time soon. A competitive beast!