Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has lavished praise on club captain Manuel Neuer, describing the Germany No.1 as "the best goalkeeper the world has ever seen".
Speaking to the Münchner Merkur and tz, the two-time winner of the Ballon d'Or was categorial in his appraisal of the man who has guarded the Bayern net so faithfully over the past eight-and-a-half seasons, keeping 124 clean sheets in 234 Bundesliga appearances.
"I've seen everyone," Rummenigge declared. "Sepp Maier, Oliver Kahn, and now Manu. I have the greatest respect for Sepp and Oli, they were absolutely world-class. But what Manuel has done is something else: he took the whole goalkeeping game to a new level."
Credited with revolutionising the position thanks to his famous 'sweeper-keeper' abilities, 33-year-old Neuer was named the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper four times between 2013 and 2016. He was also awarded the FIFA World Cup Golden Glove when Germany lifted football's biggest prize in 2014, and has been a regular in the Bundesliga Team of the Season on his way to collecting seven consecutive league titles with Bayern.
"We know what we have in Manuel," Rummenigge acknowledged, with Bayern reportedly keen to extend their captain's contract beyond its current expiry date in June 2021. "There's no need to discuss that. But we do need to talk with players and advisors first."
Rummenigge also touched on Bayern's decision to swoop for Schalke keeper Alexander Nübel during the January transfer window. The 23-year-old will follow in Neuer's footsteps when he moves from the Royal Blues to Bavaria in the summer of 2020.
"We'd be in the wrong business if we didn't want to get our hands on a player who's considered one of the best young keepers around, and who was free on the market," the 64-year-old said. "Hasan [Salihamidzic, Bayern's sporting director] did a very good job, it was the right move."
Bayern and Schalke go head-to-head in the standout game of Matchday 19. While Neuer is all but guaranteed to make his 19th appearance of the season in the Bayern goal, Nübel will not face his future club due to suspension, with Markus Schubert set to deputise at the Allianz Arena.