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D-day on Thursday

Neuer and Robben aiming for the top

Manuel Neuer. Arjen Robben. Or Cristiano Ronaldo? The decision will be made on Thursday. Who will be European Footballer of the Year in 2014? “Both Manu and Arjen more than deserve it. They’ve performed brilliantly for FC Bayern in the past few seasons and they made their mark at the World Cup in Brazil,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

This year’s winner and successor to Franck Ribéry will be announced at around 19.05 CET following the Champions League group draw in Monaco. Will it be another FC Bayern player? The vote is open to journalists from 54 UEFA member states.

Neuer and Robben will join FCB board members Rummenigge, Jan-Christian Dreesen and Andreas Jung at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. The Bayern group set off for Nice from Munich on Thursday afternoon. The last stretch to the Principality will be made by helicopter. The Bayern delegation will return home straight after the event.

First keeper in 51 years?

“It will be good,” said Robben, “it’s already a great, great reward for my whole career.” The Dutchman is “proud of being in the top three in Europe. But I obviously hope I come out on top.” And Neuer is equally keen to get his hands on the trophy. “It’s not easy for a goalkeeper to win an individual award,” said the 28-year-old.

If Neuer does win, he would be the first German shot-stopper to claim the award and only the second goalkeeper after the Russian Lev Yashin 51 years ago. Bayern’s number one has already been named the World Goalkeeper of the Year, Germany’s Footballer of the Year and the best keeper at the World Cup. Could he take the number one title too?