At just 24, Manuel Neuer has long enjoyed a cult status among Schalke 04 fans. The goalkeeper has played for the club since 1991 and embodies the passion of the Royal Blues with his spectacular saves and emotional celebrations. His likeable qualities have made the Gelsenkirchen-born player popular throughout Germany and his abilities between the posts make him one of the leading goalkeeping talents of the three-time world champions.
With fantastic reflexes and a much-improved command of his penalty area, Neuer has already made a name for himself on the European stage in the UEFA Champions League. Besides thwarting opposing strikers, the blond-haired keeper also likes to involve himself in the playmaking and offensive game of his own team. He has an unerring ability to throw the ball over half the length of the pitch with pinpoint accuracy to launch his side’s attacks.
Last year, the Schalke man was the number one for the German U-21s at the European Championship in Sweden, where his solid performances were instrumental in his side lifting the title, conceding a solitary goal throughout the entire tournament. Just prior to that success, on 2 June 2009, Neuer made his full international debut in a friendly against United Arab Emirates (7-2) in Dubai.
The 1.90m-tall keeper is set to be Germany's No1 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, following injury to Rene Adler. Long term, however, Neuer is regarded as equally as bright a prospect as his Bayer Leverkusen rival. Indeed, several top clubs have already reportedly made enquiries about him and record Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich are continually linked with a move for his signature.