Manuel Neuer is the brick wall of a goalkeeper for Germany’s victorious World Cup team. He is a key part of why Germany is such a powerhouse and has captured worldwide attention thanks to his charisma and confidence in front of the net.
As it should be, Neuer ended up winning the 2014 Golden Glove Award selected by FIFA among the best goalkeepers in the world. Watch the video above to see some of Neuer’s best saves.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. He Went 1,000 Minutes Without Conceding a Goal for Bayern Munich
In Neuer’s first few weeks at Bayern Munich, he broke the team record for the most competitive clean sheets consecutively after going 1,000 minutes without being scored on. Oliver Kahn held the record before Neuer.
Later that season, Neuer managed to save penalty kicks by the best players in the world including Cristiano Ronaldo to get past Real Madrid in the UEFA Championship.
Neuer explained his tactics to press:
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.”
2. He’s the Second Most Expensive Goalkeeper of All Time
Schalke handed him over to Bayern Munich in June 2011 for $30.1 million after he signed a 5-year contract. The deal made Neuer the second most expensive goalkeeper ever after Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon.
3. He Was a Starter in the 2010 World Cup
Germany’s starting goalkeeper Robert Enke tragically committed suicide in November 2009, Neuer became the second string goalie behind René Adler. Neuer was promoted shortly after to starter when Adler attained a bad rib injury that prevented him from playing in the 2010 World Cup. Watch the video above to see an interview on his rise to the top.
Neuer let just one goal past him in the group stage of the World Cup and even provided an assist in a game vs. England. He went on to start every game except one in the tournament.
4. He Started a Charity Foundation for Children
The Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation provides aid and support to socially disadvantaged youth located in the urban centers of the Ruhr.
Aid for the children includes hot meals, clothing and the chance to get an education. The foundation also donates to sports clubs, music schools and other recreational activities for those who cannot afford to participate otherwise.
5. His Girlfriend Is Model Kathrin Gilch
Neuer and model Kathrin Gilch have been an item since 2009. Gilch endorsed the Ferrero Fan Connection as “Neuer’s girlfriend,” much to the displeasure of Neuer, who prefers to keep his relationship out of the public eye. Although she is a model and is usually in the spotlight, they are generally very private. You can usually spot Gilch at Neuer’s matches.
— Its A Wag Wag World (@ItsAWagWagWorld) April 28, 2013