Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is usually on the business end of shots when it comes to competition from Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Bayern Munich man is dishing them out when it comes to his fellow Ballon d’Or nominee.
And he goes below the belt, literally (Zing!).
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Neuer is being touted as a potential winner of the award despite his position. Gianliugi ‘Gigi’ Buffon finished second for the award in 2006 before it merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award, while in 1963 Lev Yashin was the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or.
“Even though I’ve signed an endorsement deal with Adidas, I’m not the ambassador of a brand or a model that poses in his underwear.”
In the interview with German media outlet Kicker, Neuer admitted it is much more difficult for a goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or but claims he directs all his focus to the pitch.
“I prefer to limit my show to the pitch. I pick the green grass over the red carpet, I’m more comfortable there. After the games, they show the goals, the assists, the chances. The nice saves aren’t remembered, even though you often risk to injure yourselves while doing those.”
I want to rip on Neuer for the “saves aren’t remembered” blast, but it takes a special snare to rise above the many goals you can recall off the top of your head. Try it: I’ll bet it’s 5:1 in favor of goals if you’re sincere about it (and not a goalkeeper).
Does he deserve Player of the Year? Honestly, if a netminder has had a claim for the award since Buffon, it’s Neuer. Will he win it? I highly doubt it.