When you think of dominating and aggressive footballers, the name Oliver Kahn should come to mind.
A winner of eight Bundesliga championships, six German Cups, a UEFA Cup, a FIFA Golden Ball award and a Champions League title, King Kahn has etched his name in football history as one of the greatest keepers ever.
Born in Karlsruhe, West Germany, Kahn began playing with the Karlsruher SC youth team at six years old. At 18 years old he got called up to the Bundesliga.
Six years later, Karlsruher SC a mid level Bundesliga team, rode the strong play of the blooming Oliver Kahn all the way to the UEFA Cup semi finals in 1993.
The excellent goalkeeping performance did not go unnoticed. The next season at 25 years old, Kahn was in the South of Germany playing for the Bavarian giants Bayern Munich.
At 25 years old Manuel Neuer could find himself following the exact path of that Kahn took, from western Germany to the black forest in the south of Germany.
Born in Gelsenkirchen, Neuer too started his football career very young with his hometown youth academy. At five years old Neuer was training in the Schalke camps.
As Kahn did, at 18 years old Neuer got called up to the men’s ranks, although it was the Schalke second team.
With a strong World Cup in South Africa and the impressive Schalke Champions League semi final run that Neuer anchored, he is paving the road to bigger and better clubs.
In December 2010, Kahn publically gave Neuer advice saying, “I think he will become world class,” Kahn told Bild. “But he has to take the next step and join one of the great clubs. Then he can play in the Champions League regularly, with Schalke it is certainly possible sporadically but not every year.”
Since then Bayern has made it clear that they want Neuer backing their team next season. The price isn’t set, but negotiations are inevitable.
On April 30th, the Bundesliga’s second place Bayer Leverkusen lost to FC Koln and at the time third place Hannover lost to Monchengladbach.
On that same Saturday, Neuer to suited up against his possible future employers Bayern Munich, who sat beneath Hannover in the table, at the edge of a Champions League spots.
The same Champions League that could play a huge role in where Neuer’s future lies. Although Neuer made two fantastic saves, stealing goals away from Bayern, he faced twenty two shots, nine of them on target.
Bayern won 4-1. In that victory some Allianz Arena fans weren’t so welcoming to their possible future keeper. They remembered a celebration where Neuer had that mimicked their beloved Oliver Kahn.
A few sour fans will not stop Neuer from joining the Champions League bound Bayern Munich, if that’s where he wants to play. It wouldn’t be Kahn-like of him to care what fans are thinking of him.
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