Top 10 Footballers of 2014 #2: Manuel Neuer

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Take stock of the most important cogs in Germany’s World Cup success and Bayern Munich’s domestic triumphs and Manuel Neuer would rank high. That’s the impact,  the indisputably finest goalkeeper in the world has had in 2014. Neuer’s impact on the game is exemplified by the fact that he’s the prototype of the modern tactical innovation that is the Sweeper Keeper referring to the concept of the goalie who effectively functions as an outfield player by running off his line to cut out attacks (as Neuer repeatedly did in the second round game against Algeria in Brazil) and being so good with his feet that he helps retain ball possession and building attacks from the back. Neuer functions efficiently in what is a high risk role whilst his agility belies his size. There was his penalty save from Mesut Özil in the game against Arsenal in the Champions League at a point where the momentum was clearly in Arsenal’s favour. His calm demeanor can also be a great tonic to his teammates as encapsulated by Franck Ribery’s touting of his credentials as a worthy Ballon d’Or winner. 2014 was the year of Manuel Neuer.

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