Manuel Neuer: ‘I don’t feel the fear. I’m always thinking positive’

In an extract from Grant Wahl’s new book, the Germany and Bayern Munich captain reveals his goalkeeping philosophy and explains his sweeper-keeper role

Modern football has a lot in common with the German autobahn. The speed of the game has no limits these days and the players are like finely calibrated sports cars: faster, sleeker and more powerful than ever. Movement is constant, and yet there remains an order to things, a reminder that even on the edge, there are forces that prevent chaos. No player better illustrates this than Manuel Neuer, the world’s best goalkeeper, who has redefined his position. “I’m a little bit risky, but I’m standing for security and protection, and you have to give your team-mates that feeling as well,” says Neuer, captain of Bayern Munich and Germany. “In life, I’m a guy who likes to drive a car quite fast, but I wear a seat belt at the same time.”

Surrounded by Champions League trophies in the Bayern Munich boardroom, the 6ft 4in, 210lb Neuer gives off an aura of physical power, a combination of size, strength and the potential of movement at high speed. Neuer speaks better English than he lets on at first, and he draws a special pleasure from discussing his ultimate fast-lane experience, even if that means taking heart-stopping risks as the last line of defence. “It’s up to me to help my defenders and it’s better for me to get the ball before the striker than to [wait and] have a one-on-one situation in the box,” he says. “That’s more dangerous than to go out, because the striker has the chance to score a goal. If he can’t get the ball, he won’t get any opportunity.”

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