The Bayern Munich and Germany star is hoping to buck the trend and become only the second goalkeeper in history to be named as the world player of the year
Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer says it is “special” to have been nominated for the Ballon d’Or as it is harder for goalkeepers to win individual awards.
Last week, the Germany international was named in the final three for the prize, alongside Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, ensuring he will be the highest-finishing keeper in the running for the award since Oliver Kahn finished as runner-up 2002.
Messi and Ronaldo have scored over 100 goals between them this year and Neuer says it is inevitable that attackers will stand out that much more than the players tasked with stopping them.
“As a goalkeeper, it is something quite special. To reach [the last three] makes me very proud,” he told Bild.
“Here you can see how hard it is for a goalkeeper. What’s mostly left after a match? The scenes in front of the goal where the attackers are the highlights of the play.
“But doing the spectacular is not particularly important to me. I just want to play for my team.”
After winning the German double, the 28-year-old helped inspire his country to the World Cup earlier this year, earning Fifa’s Golden Glove and a place in the team of the tournament.
The former Schalke man made quite an impression in Brazil with his propensity to rush from his goal-line in order to snuff out enemy attacks – an approach he says is vital to his club side’s style.
“With Bayern we want a lot of ball possession and to control the play so I operate sometimes like the 11th outfield player.
“Thus I am included a lot into the build-up play and have a lot of touches of the ball. I know that I often take risks, but it is always for the purposes of the team.”
Neuer is hoping to become only the second goalkeeper in history to win the prize after the Soviet Union’s Lev Yashin took the gong in 1963.