No goalkeeper has ever won the FIFA Ballon d'Or in its current guise, but bundesliga.com outlines exactly why 'Supermanu' deserves to buck the trend...
Neuer's place on the three-man shortlist to lift football's ultimate individual prize is no fluke. Of all the goalkeepers with over 100 appearances under their belts in the Bundesliga's decorated history, the former FC Schalke 04 stopper is the only one to have conceded fewer goals (217) than appearances made (268). Fact.
The 28-year-old World Cup winner doesn't make many blunders either - he hasn't made one for 33 league matches - but on the rare occasion he does, the look of detestation on his face says it all. "I know I can make mistakes," he told The FIFA Weekly. "The main thing is that I make sure I keep the bar high."
It's that self-same will to improve that has seen the Gelsenkirchen native revolutionise the very definition of football's last line of defence. Indeed, for some, the image of the Germany No1 racing out of his own box to foil Algeria's Islam Slimani in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil is one of the enduring images of the finals.
Unlike any of his predecessors or contemporaries, Neuer also boasts technical ability most wannabe outfield players can only dream of. Be it with his hands, feet, chest or head, there is scarcely a pass Bayern's inimitable goalkeeper-turned-libero cannot make. Just search 'Manuel Neuer' on YouTube. Seeing is believing.
Of course, none of those silky skills would add up to much had he not perfected the bread and butter art of shot-stopping in the first place. There have been inevitable comparisons with Bayern legend Oliver Kahn in that department, but forget the similitude. Neuer might just be the greatest, idiosyncratic talent the game has ever seen.
Check out Neuer's Ballon d'Or credentials on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: