Manuel Neuer has once again proved he’s one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time with a pair of jaw-dropping saves against Italy.
The Bayern Munich star was key as Germany downed their opponents 5-2 in the Nations League, massively raising optimism ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Manager Hansi Flick played what’s considered as his best eleven, with goals from Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan, Thomas Muller and a Timo Werner double securing a dominant win.
Italy did manage a pair of late consolations as the Germans switched off, but their best chances came much earlier, only to be spectacularly denied by Neuer’s heroics.
With the game scoreless, a beautiful ball was fired into the box towards Neuer in the eighth minute, and Giacomo Raspadori managed to get a touch and deflect it away from the keeper at the very last second, only for the sharpest of reactions to spurn him.
“Neuer showed once again that he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world,” said Der Spiegel, and it was easy to see why as he quickly smothered the rebound.
Gaining confidence from a stunning stop, Neuer then received a hospital pass from former teammate Niklas Sule only to again leave Raspadori in shock, as the 36-year-old dribbled round him with ease.
The Sassuolo forward was left ‘rushing into the void’ according to Der Spiegel, but that was nothing compared to what Nicolo Barella later experienced.
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With Germany 3-0 up, Italy were trying to gain momentum in the match with Gianluca Caprari firing a shot towards net, only for Barella to collect it, completely wrong-footing Neuer who was already on his way to make the save.
Bayern’s No.1 was in no man’s land as Barella collected the ball and stretched to direct it in, only to see a flailing Neuer back on the line to swipe it clear.
Sport1 recalled: “Neuer turned around his own axis in a flash, threw himself back on the line and fended off the ball sensationally.”
They further described the Germany captain as an ‘almost insurmountable wall between the posts’ while former teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger was similarly impressed.
He added: “Manuel Neuer is and remains the best goalkeeper and difference maker in the game for me.”
Manager Flick agreed, explaining what makes his star man so special: “He’s a world-class goalkeeper, this applies to both his defence of goal and his play with the ball.
“He is characterised by a calm, composure and quality that allows him to play in such a way that his team-mate can do something after he passes the ball.”
Neuer has reportedly told Flick he doesn’t want to miss any game time heading towards Qatar, in order to ward off the threat of Eintracht Frankfurt’s in-form Kevin Trapp.
But with performances like that, it appears that Trapp has no chance at all.
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