Germany head coach Joachim Low has said that he would snub Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski’s claim for the 2020 Ballon d’Or, instead favouring the Pole’s club-mate Manuel Neuer.
The 32-year-old striker scored 55 goals in all competitions last season as the German side won the treble, netting in each game he played in the Champions League until the 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the final, with his exploits in front of goal making him many critics’ choice as the game’s outstanding player currently.
FCB’s route to that showpiece event in Lisbon, however, was facilitated by goalkeeper Neuer, who made a string of vital saves throughout the competition, particularly at notable times in the semi-final against Lyon then in the final itself.
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As a consequence, Low has said he would vote for the former Schalke keeper had the Ballon d’Or not been cancelled by organisers France Football because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Manu was in great shape throughout the 2019-20 season,” he told Kicker. “Manu is in a class of his own. Crazy, unbelievable.
“I have nothing against Robert Lewandowski, he is a world-class goalscorer, but for me, the best player in the world this year would be Manuel Neuer. What he did in the Final 8 in Lisbon! He kept the shop shut!
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“Manuel was on hand in difficult situations against Lyon and Paris, otherwise it might be 0-1 or 1-1. You had the feeling that he was omnipresent.”
Low has been a long time backer of Neuer, even when the 34-year-old has faced criticism. There had been repeated calls in his homeland for Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to take over the duties as Germany No.1, though these have been resisted to date by Low, who has picked both players in his side to face Spain and Switzerland in forthcoming Nations League matches at the start of September.
Neuer now holds 92 caps for his country, having led them to success at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, while the 28-year-old Ter Stegen has played only 24 times for his country, despite being a key figure in Barcelona’s successes in recent years.
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