We’re in Munich in the brightly-lit office of the Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation, a charity for disadvantaged children. There’s no razzmatazz or hullabaloo, no bodyguards or fans, just the world’s best goalkeeper and a small dog belonging to his girlfriend. Mr. Neuer seems a bit more nervous than he looks between his goalposts, possibly because for once he is supposed to be talking not about football tactics but about money and the business of sport. He’s urged us not to ask questions about alleged corruption at the German Football Association, the DFB, and in Germany’s successful application to host the 2006 World Cup.
Handelsblatt: Mr. Neuer, the prices for soccer players literally exploded this year. Kevin De Bruyne switched from VfL Wolfsburg to Manchester City for a reported club-record fee of €75 million ($81.7 million) and the Belgian isn’t even a world champion like you. How much are you worth?
Manuel Neuer: That’s naturally hard to say since I don’t set the price.
According to a website that would know, transfermarkt.de, a club would have to pay around €45 million right now.
The question is whether I’m for sale at all. It doesn’t matter how great the demand for the product Manuel Neuer might be – it’s what’s for sale that matters. And for Bayern Munich, as for me, money isn’t the only factor. That’s why there are no reports about my assumed market value at the moment.