Safe hands on and off the pitch: Manuel Neuer has been recognised for his commitment to disadvantaged children in his hometown of Gelsenkirchen. - © 2018 DFL
Safe hands on and off the pitch: Manuel Neuer has been recognised for his commitment to disadvantaged children in his hometown of Gelsenkirchen. - © 2018 DFL
bundesliga

Bayern Munich and Germany captain Manuel Neuer to receive Order of Merit

Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will be presented with the Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia, in recognition of his commitment to disadvantaged children and young people, particularly in his hometown of Gelsenkirchen.

Neuer opened the Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation in 2010. The non-profit organisation works in the community to provide underprivileged children and adolescents in Gelsenkirchen with free meals, clothes, education, vocational courses, apprenticeships and a whole range of extra-curricular opportunities. The foundation also donates sports equipment to promising young athletes.

It is Neuer's way of giving back to a community that has given him so much, but where almost every fourth child is categorised as living in poverty.

"I know that I am privileged and that I'm lucky," Neuer says on his Foundation's website. "I want to give back something. With my foundation, I want to fulfil my social responsibility in my home city."

Watch: The Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation in action

Neuer grew up in Gelsenkirchen, Germany's former coal-mining hub. A product of Schalke's acclaimed Knappenschmiede youth academy, the 33-year-old has gone on to establish himself as one of the world's best ever goalkeepers. He is a seven-time Bundesliga and 2013 UEFA Champions League winner with Bayern, the club he joined in 2011, a 2014 FIFA World Cup winner and a four-time IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper.

On top of his extraordinary achievements as a footballer and commenable work for the Manuel Neuer Foundation, the Bayern and Germany captain lends his support to a Gelsenkirchen-based Catholic social action group which campaigns against child poverty. He famously won €500,000 ($587,000) for his charity on the German version of Who wants to be a Millionaire? in 2011, and is also an ambassador for the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) Foundation, created with the aim of increasing participation and integration in sport, regardless of background, culture or disability.

Neuer was due to receive North Rhine-Westphalia's Order of Merit last April, but had to miss the ceremony because of injury. He will now take belated receipt of the accolade in Düsseldorf on 30 October, the day after Bayern face Bochum in the DFB Cup second round.

It is the second time in 2019 Neuer will have been honoured for his off-the-pitch work. Earlier this year, Neuer was presented with the Bavarian State Medal for Social Engagement.