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World's best keeper Neuer ‘greatly honoured’

World's Best Goalkeeper 2013! The title has a magical ring to it, and as of Tuesday it belongs to Manuel Neuer following his triumph in the annual vote organised by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), in which the Bayern man comfortably beat Buffon and Cech. Even for a player who has basically won everything there is to win recently, it rates as the crowning personal glory.

“It’s really massive,” Neuer declared on Wednesday, “I’m greatly honoured, but it’s all thanks to the team in the first place.” As always Manuel remains modest and down-to-earth: “I want to say a big thank you to everyone who’s supported and coached me.”

“It’s a long-running vote so it’s very well respected,” commented board director for sport Matthias Sammer. “Manuel Neuer being voted best keeper is logical and reasonable, because he’s a complete goalkeeper. He’s a leader here at the club. He’s also an exceptional human being and an extraordinary character.”

Neuer’s team-mates are delighted for their number one. “They gave me a big round of applause before training yesterday. They all congratulated me,” revealed the 27-year-old, who also received a deluge of mail “from the usual suspects.” Dante joined in the chorus of praise for the man with the gloves. “We’re delighted on his behalf. He was very, very strong last season. He’s world-class, and we know that.”

An era in the making

Even though Manuel is exceptionally pleased at the award, his personal preference would be to collect more winner’s medals with the team. “I’m even more pleased about the trophies we won together. I’m a team player,” declared Neuer, the first German to be named world’s best goalkeeper since Oliver Kahn, a three-time winner in 1999, 2001 and 2002, and one of the greatest FCB stars of all time.

“In terms of his age, Manuel is at a stage in his career where he could shape an era just like Oliver Kahn,” commented Sammer. Centre-back Dante is looking forward to pursuing more silverware with the trusty and dependable Neuer as the last line of defence: “Manuel makes us feel secure. but the important thing is that we always work well together. We have to keep helping him.”