MUNICH (dpa) – Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is proud to be in the final three-man shortlist for the World Footballer of the Year award but rates himself outsider against Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
“Lets put it this way: I am certainly not the favourite. The other two are global brands, they definitely have an advantage,” Neuer told Wednesday’s edition of Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
Neuer won the World Cup with Germany and has redefined the role of a goalkeeper, but the forwards Ronaldo and Messi are breaking scoring records and have won the top award in the past six years.
“I realise it is extraordinary that a goalkeeper has made it on the big stage alongside Ronaldo and Messi. That is a honour for me, and I am proud of it,” he said ahead of the January 12 announcement of the winner.
A goalkeeper has never won the award and the last one on the shortlist was another German, Oliver Kahn, in 2002.
Neuer, 28, said that 2014 was “probably my best year” but credited Munich coach Pep Guardiola and Germany’s Joachim Loew, plus his team-mates for his outstanding showings.
“It wouldn’t have been the year of Manuel Neuer without my team-mates, Manuel Neuer would be lost without team-mates. And both coaches play a game that suits me,” he said.
Looking ahead, Neuer wants to win the Champions League in Germany, in the 2015 Berlin final after missing out in Munich’s stadium against Chelsea in 2012, and has no intention to quit after Euro 2016.
“I will be between the Germany posts as long as I am the number one,” he said.