Manuel Neuer: Germany in 'safe hands' under captaincy of the sweeper-keeper - Firstpost
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Manuel Neuer: Germany in 'safe hands' under captaincy of the sweeper-keeper


Manuel Neuer succeeds Bastian Schweinsteiger as Germany captain having already served his apprenticeship in charge of die Mannschaft on the big stage.

Neuer donned the captain's armband for all of Germany's Euro 2016 matches, apart from the semi-final defeat when Schweinsteiger made his only start of the tournament.

Even when Schweinsteiger came on early against Italy in the quarter-final, Neuer was quick to hand the midfielder the captain's armband: "I wanted to send him a clear signal that we were behind him."

File picture of Manuel Neuer. Getty

File picture of Manuel Neuer. Getty

The 30-year-old Neuer has 71 caps to his name and has been Germany's first-choice goalkeeper since the 2010 World Cup with no serious challengers.

He made history during the European championships in Germany's 3-0 last 16 win over Slovakia.

It was his fifth straight game without conceding a goal for Germany and in the proud 108-year history of the German FA (DFB), no other goalkeeper has managed five consecutive cleansheets for die Mannschaft.

Neuer has seen off Sami Khedira, Thomas Mueller and Jerome Boateng to succeed Schweinsteiger as Germany captain.

Head coach Joachim Loew has been a fan since Neuer replaced Rene Adler in goal for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and his rivals have not had a look in since.

"In recent years he has dominated the goalkeeper position like no one before him," head coach Joachim Loew has said of Neuer.

"He is an incredible personality, on and off the pitch."

- Quiz show, Disney voice over -

At six foot, three inches (1.93cm), Neuer is an imposing presence.

But he proved he can deal with quizshow questions just as well as crosses in November 2011.

He won half a million euros for charity on a celebrity version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" on German TV.

He also voiced over a character in the German version of the Disney cartoon film 'Monsters University' in 2013.

Neuer has been voted the world's best goalkeeper for the last three years and won the Golden Glove award as the best goalkeeper at the 2014 World Cup.

His 'sweeper-keeper' style - leaving his goal to act as an extra defender - helped Germany win the world title.

He finished third behind Lionel Messi and winner Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2014 Ballon d'Or.

His aim is simple: to be the best goalkeeper there is.

"My ambition has always been to be as perfect as possible, I have never made any secret of that," Neuer told GQ magazine.

"That's how I work everyday in training. I always try to improve myself."

It's hard to believe, but some Bayern Munich fans did not want him when he signed from Schalke in 2011 for 22 million euros ($24.25m).

The problem for Bavarian die-hards was that Neuer is Gelsenkirchen born and bred and played for city team Schalke.

He used to have the initials GE -- the city's car registration letters -- printed on his boots.

Bayern fans were upset when Neuer impersonated Bayern's legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. It did not help that Neuer sobbed his way through his Schalke press conference in April 2011 to announce he was leaving.

'Koan Neuer (No Neuer)' placards appeared at Bayern games.

That was forgotten when Neuer went more than a thousand minutes without conceding in his first season at Bayern to break Kahn's record.

He has been in goal through Bayern's four Bundesliga title wins over the last four years, the first time a Germany club has managed the feat.

Outgoing coach Pep Guardiola described Neuer as 'the best there is' and said he expects the 30-year-old to finish his career in Munich.

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