Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper of all time, according to Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
The veteran Germany stopper has rediscovered his best form in recent seasons after a difficult spell battling injuries.
Bayern looked to be planning for life beyond Neuer when they signed youngster Alexander Nubel from Schalke this year, but he has taken the challenge in his stride. As far as Rummenigge is concerned, he is still getting better.
"Manuel Neuer is 34 now, and he’s just getting better and better,” he told Bundesliga.com. “He’s like a red wine that matures each year.
“He anticipates pretty much every shot, wherever it comes from, and makes the save. We’ve seen that in the last couple of weeks in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League.
“He’s the best goalkeeper in the world, I think he’s even the best goalkeeper of all time.
“We’ve always had good goalkeepers in Germany, at Bayern, when you talk about Sepp Maier or Oliver Kahn, but I think Manuel Neuer has taken goalkeeping to a new level, and we’re really happy that he’s lining up between the sticks for us."
Another Bayern player to have gone to another level over the last year is Robert Lewandowski.
The talismanic forward scored 55 goals in 47 appearances in 2019-20 and has 15 in 14 this season, but was robbed of what seemed like a certain debut Ballon d’Or win after the award was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lewandowski won Goal 50 for the first time this year and is favourite to win FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player award, and Rummenigge was relieved FIFA haven’t cancelled the ceremony.
"Firstly, I think it’s good that FIFA are continuing with the vote this year. It wasn’t clear whether it would happen.
“I spoke with the FIFA president about it a couple of times, I told him that we have this vote every year and football has been played this year, you can’t forget that. The Bundesliga was completed, the major leagues in Europe were all decided, the Champions League was completed, and I told him, if in ten years it says '2021 he won, 2022 he won' but there’s a gap in 2020, for me that would be a mistake that you could still correct.
“And I’m happy that FIFA have brought it back, I hope that Robert wins, he’s had an amazing year, I think Robert Lewandowski is in the form of his life, despite the fact he’s 32 now, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.
“I would like him to win, I hope he wins, he’ll have earned it, but we’ll have to wait and see if he does win it at the end of the day."