Can Thibaut Courtois surpass Manuel Neuer as the world’s best?

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As Chelsea continue their blazing hot start to the season, many players have been praised for their play.

Diego Costa has been a goalscoring machine, as the play of Fabregas, Hazard and Oscar in the midfield dazzles spectators night-in and night-out.

[ RELATED: FIFA releases shortlist for top goalkeeper ]

Boasting a deadly attack, the play of Thibaut Courtois in net has been overshadowed.

Before the season, many debated who should be Chelsea’s starting goalkeeper, Petr Cech or Thibaut Courtois.

Twelve matches into the season, and the debate has been settled.

In an article for The Telegraph, former Manchester United defender Gary Neville praised Courtois’ play, going as far as to say he can surpass Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer as the world’s best goalkeeper.

Courtois has the talent to become the best goalkeeper in the world in the next 12 to 18 months. I believe he will go past Neuer. The player of the season so far, for me, is not Sergio Agüero but Chelsea’s new No1, who has brought a smile to my face. And not many goalkeepers make me smile.

Watch Courtois’ starting positions when the ball is crossed. As he steps out he has already anticipated where the crosser is aiming it and is standing there already when it arrives. It is a fantastic ability. I will always argue for catching over punching and Courtois destroys the myth that punching is always a better option.”

[ RELATED: Xabi Alonso makes a case for Manuel Neuer’s Ballon d’Or bid ]

Despite Courtois’ brilliant play, it is hard to say he will overtake Manuel Neuer. Neuer has been shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or for best player in the world after winning the World Cup with Germany while being named top goalkeeper of the tournament. He was also the backbone for a Bayern Munich team that dominated the Bundesliga en route to a record 24th league title.

Goalkeepers rarely get the credit they deserve when playing for top-tier clubs, but there is not debate that Neuer and Courtois are the top two in the world. With both teams still alive in the Champions League, a dream matchup of Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich could be in the works.