EXCLUSIVE: Having had a front-row seat to the shot-stopper’s progression as a footballer, the Germany trainer was glowing in his praise of the Bayern star
Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer is the most complete goalkeeper of all-time, according to his former Germany youth coach, Horst Hrubesch.
Although widely considered amongst the very best shot-stoppers in modern football, Neuer’s performances in 2014 have prompted comparisons with a number of legendary figures from the past, including Lev Yashin.
Germany’s World Cup win and Bayern’s continued dominance in the Bundesliga have put the 29-year-old in the three-way fight for the Fifa Ballon d’Or with Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Real Madrid goalscoring machine Cristiano Ronaldo.
Hrubesch has been part of the national team’s youth set-up for 14 years and he lavished praise on Joachim Low’s No.1, suggesting that his former pupil should now be considered the best goalkeeper to have ever played the game.
“If I had a vote, I would definitely go for Manuel,” the 63-year-old told Goal. “I’m delighted to see him in the running for the Ballon d’Or.
“Ronaldo and Messi have a small advantage as they are outfield players. They have more opportunities to use their individual class to decide games. As the goalkeeper for top teams like Germany and Bayern, Manuel gets far fewer chances.
“The way he plays, though, Manuel can sometimes be considered as an outfield player. With his kind of goalkeeping he has set new standards. He’s not only world class at saving, but he’s extremely important for the structure of the defence.
“Therefore, it would be fair to say that he is probably the most complete goalkeeper of all-time with his footballing qualities. He definitely deserves this award.”
Neuer will find out if he has won the Ballon d’Or – voted for by national team captains and coaches, and selected journalists – a special ceremony in Switzerland on January 15.