Neuer is the man you feel sorry for the most in this Champions League

By | May 11, 2024

His mistake turned the game against Real Madrid around, but he doesn’t deserve to be ridiculed. December 10, 2022. Bayern Munich’s main goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, broke his leg skiing. At that time, he was already 36 years old. By the time he recovered, he had turned 37. Last year, there were rumors that he was ending his career. Iker Casillas, Petr Cech, Gianluigi Buffon… It seemed like it was time for Neuer to leave as well, the last of this great generation. Events surrounding the injured Neuer only added doubts about his future. Bayern immediately brought in another goalkeeper, Yann Sommer, and also fired the goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic, who was a close friend of Neuer’s. The number one at Bayern gave a scandalous interview: ‘It was like my heart was ripped out,’ he described the decision to fire Tapalovic. In addition to his injury, Neuer faced more problems – relations deteriorated both with the club management and with the head coach.

It might have seemed that his career was winding down, but it turned out otherwise. He returned to the starting lineup, extended his contract until 2025, and now delivered a brilliant match at the Bernabeu. Neuer was by far the best player of the match until the 87th minute, when he made a key error. Unfortunately, it turned the game around. Here are just a few of his saves: The most moment was a double save in the first half, when Real hit the post. And the moment ended with the ball mockingly dropping right into the goalkeeper’s hands. It seemed that everything was under control with this man, while everything was on fire with the rest. For a long time, it seemed that Real had lost its trademark execution. Although little had changed for the Madrid team itself. The ball was on target, but Neuer kept pulling it out.

Most of all, I don’t want us to remember Manuel’s performance post-injury by one mistake. He doesn’t deserve the ridicule that formed around Loris Karius. That would simply be unfair. Neuer is the person who deserves the most sympathy in this Champions League. To let in two from Hoselu?! Horrific. I can’t imagine what the odds were on his double. Such numbers don’t exist in nature. And yet, our attitude to Neuer’s mistake would have been different if a defender had reached the ball first, not Hoselu. Or if Bayern hadn’t missed a three-on-one break. Or if the controversial goal by Munich hadn’t been disallowed by the linesman. Of course, these are all fantasies. Naturally, history cannot be changed. Although sometimes you really wish it could.

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