A Real Madrid Great And A Juventus Legend: Bayern Munich Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer Joins Elite Group After Champions League Meeting With Liverpool
With his starting appearance between the sticks for Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the second-leg of their Champions League Last 16 tie with Liverpool on March 13th, Germany international Manuel Neuer has joined an elite group of individuals.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper has now made an incredible 100 appearances (starts) in the premier European competition, across his time with the Bavarians, and - preceding that - Munich’s Bundesliga rivals Schalke 04.
Neuer made his debut in the Champions League all the way back on September 18th 2007 with die Königsblauen, in a 1-0 home defeat to Valencia in the group stages. In total, he made 22 Champions League appearances with Schalke.
After moving clubs in 2011, he went on to win the competition once with Munich in the continental treble-winning season of 2012/13, making up for the heartbreak suffered in the final to Chelsea the year before.
Now he becomes the 38th player to join the 100-club, and only the sixth goalkeeper to do so.
And what good company he’s in! Here’s how Neuer measures up to his peers and fellow legends of the game who plied their trade as the last line of defence. All figures are correct at the time of Neuer writing himself into the record books.
Iker Casillas (175: Real Madrid 150, Porto 25)
The ultimate goalkeeper and current overall record-holder. The table-topping Spanish shot-stopper has made an astonishing 175 appearances in the tournament, 150 with Real Madrid, and 25 with Porto. Though former Los Blancos teammate Cristiano Ronaldo is catching up, we’d imagine it’ll be a while before a keeper reaches his lofty heights. Has kept the most clean sheets in the Champions League, with 59.
Gianluigi Buffon (122: Parma 6, Juventus 111, Paris Saint-Germain 5)
The brilliant Buffon, always the bridesmaid never the bride, will probably never get his hands on Old Big Ears. The Italian maestro has appeared in the final three times, all with Juventus, ultimately to no avail. Also one of only three goalkeepers to keep 50 clean sheets or more in the competition, after Casillas and Edwin van der Sar.
Petr Čech (111: Sparta Praha 12, Chelsea 94, Arsenal 5)
In the mid-2000s, the Czech Republican had a legitimate claim to be the best in his position in Europe, in spite of the fierce competition. Won the Champions League in 2012 with Chelsea, the club he spent eleven years at.
Victor Valdés (106: Barcelona)
Valdés will never likely feature in the pantheon of great goalkeepers discussed down the line, due to fortuitousness of being in one of the best side’s ever assembled at Barca. Holds the joint record most Champions League title wins, with three, alongside several other goalkeepers, including the aforementioned Casillas. Kept 45 clean sheets.
Oliver Kahn (103: Bayern München)
Der Titan made all of his 103 appearances for the Bavarians. At the wrong end of a remarkable Manchester United comeback in 1999, eventually won the title in 2001 against Valencia in which he was awarded man of the match after a brilliant display in the penalty shootout. Kept 34 clean sheets.