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On the spot

On the Spot: Manuel Neuer

Since the age of five Manuel Neuer has been playing for FC Schalke 04. Even there were offers from other clubs over the years he decided to stick to Blue. But being only 22 he will still have many options ahead of him.

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A man with Royal Blue running through his veins. Gelsenkirchen born and bred, Manuel Neuer joined Schalke at the age of five and has proved to be a safe pair of hands. He's now 22 and playing his 18th season for the club.

DW-TV

What does November the 5th, 2006, mean to you?

Manuel Neuer

November the 5th, 2006?

Matchday 10, 2006-07.

You mean against Bayern Munich.


Manuel Neuer was just 20 when he dislodged veteran keeper Frank Rost two years ago. He rapidly became the undisputed number one at Schalke.

I take a game-by-game approach: forget about the long term. If we'd done that in my first season as number one goalie, we'd have won the league.


Schalke were runners-up, but Manuel was voted the Bundesliga's goalie of the season. Suddenly, the Germany coach was showing an interest.

Has Joachim Löw been in touch with you since then?

No, he hasn't.

René Adler has played for the national side and Tim Wiese has also had his debut. You seem to be out of the picture now.


I wouldn't say I'm out of the picture. I had a serious injury in the summer - a fractured metatarsal - and was out for three months. But then I went to the under-21s, so it wasn't a problem for me. 2010 is still completely open.


The German team's sport director Matthias Sammer is also a big fan of yours. A year ago he said you'd soon be the best keeper in the world.


That would be nice. It's an honour to hear that from a European Championship winner, of course. But the important thing is that I keep working and developing. So even if Matthias Sammer says I'm the best keeper in the world, I have to make progress.


Whether on his line, in a one-on-one situation or bossing the box ...
...Neuer seems at ease in all aspects of goalkeeping. And he's still got a lot of room for development.


What do you make of the cliché that goalkeepers and leftwingers are a bit crazy?

There are some crazy keepers out there - but outfield players as well. It doesn't depend on the position. I'd say I'm relatively normal.


But while the keeper is part of a team, of course, there's always the issue of the special position they play in. Isn't it true that goalies are different upstairs?

We're not different mentally, but there is a difference - a special way of relating to the team. Keepers are on their own - they practice with their own kind and have special training. Keepers always have direct rivals - we train with three or four other people, but there can only be one on the pitch. Either you play or you're on the bench, and that's the problem. You can't just say: play me at right back. You can only play in goal - and that's maybe the biggest difference.


So just how did you become a keeper in the first place?

They didn't have a keeper when I first came here, so they took me. It's like when kids are having a kick-about, and the last one to arrive plays piggy in the middle or has to go in goal - that was me. If I had a hand injury, then I'd play outfield - from the start. I liked that. I always played outfield when I was young, and never wanted to go in goal. I think that everyone's like that at that age.
Manuel Neuer has even provided three assists. The great Oliver Kahn only managed two in his entire 20-year career.

Neuer has been hailed as a quintessential modern keeper - the kind who doesn't wait for the action to come to him.


I believe Arsenal make you an offer in 2006? Did you think about it or did you say, no I'm staying with Schalke?


It was at the time when I turned professional. I just couldn't believe that Arsenal were now knocking on my door. But I'm the number one here at my favourite club. I've been here forever. All my friends and family are here, and it's all we've ever known. I wouldn't know where to start, joining another club. It would be something completely new for me. A lot of people change clubs when still in their teens - which means a new environment. I've never had those problems.


It sounds like you never plan to. But if a half decent offer came in 2012 then you'd probably say yes, wouldn't you?

I wouldn't put any money on it.

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