Manuel Neuer is not named the best soccer player. But other Germans can rejoice: Joachim Low is the world coach and Nadine Kebler the best female soccer player.
Nadine Kebler is the best female soccer player of the past year. Also in the picture: Cristiano Ronaldo. Picture: ap
Manuel Neuer did not feel at all like a loser on the German evening in Zurich. "For me, it’s a complete success," said the world champion goalkeeper anything but contrite as he left the Fifa gala on Monday evening after personally missing out on being crowned World Footballer 2014.
Defending champion Cristiano Ronaldo had finally won the election, which has now been dominated for seven years by the world soccer brands Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, not unexpectedly even for the 28-year-old Bayern professional. Not even the fact that he had only managed to finish third, just behind Messi, could make Neuer bitter: "It doesn’t matter. It’s no stranger to being number two," he explained calmly, stressing, "I had a fantastic year in 2014!"
For Ronaldo it was the third success after 20. "It was an unforgettable year. I want to thank everyone who voted for me," said Ronaldo, who received 37.66 percent of the vote. Messi came in at 15.76 percent and Neuer at 15.72 percent. He expressed his joy on stage with a loud shout of "Uuuuh": "I want to go down in history as the best."
At the ceremony in the Kongresshaus, Joachim Low was honored as World Coach, Nadine Kebler of VfL Wolfsburg as World Player and her coach Ralf Kellermann as World Coach in Women’s Football. In the women’s event, Kebler beat American Abby Wambach and Brazilian Marta.
Neuer was not the first goalkeeper to triumph. But he still has something ahead of the assembly-line goal scorers and great individualists Ronaldo and Messi – he is the world champion. The 28-year-old was a crucial part of a perfectly harmonized German team in Brazil in 2014, as national coach Low also particularly emphasized at the Kongresshaus: "With us, there wasn’t that one single superstar who stood out like with Portugal or with Brazil or even with Argentina."
Lahm, Kroos and Neuer in team selection
And that’s how the three world champions Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Toni Kroos also made it into the 2014 World Team of the Year. The trio, like Bayern striker Arjen Robben, were named to the illustrious group of the best eleven players.
For coach Low, the focus is now on the future. The World Cup title and the numerous honors are of course a motivation. However, the national coach warned that staying at the top would be more difficult than getting there. In his short speech, he had emotionally thanked his players: "You are simply world class." Like Neuer and Co, the national coach is hungry for more soccer stardom. "The Spaniards have led the way and won three titles in a row. That’s a great challenge."