Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed that Pep Guardiola was considering playing goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in midfield during his spell as Bayern Munich manager.
Guardiola managed the German giants between 2013 and 2016, winning three consecutive Bundesliga titles.
As quoted by The Independent, Rummenigge has explained how he had to persuade Guardiola not to play the former Schalke stopper as a midfielder.
“Manuel invented the art of being a footballer as a goalkeeper and revolutionized this position,” he said. “I still remember how Pep Guardiola, after winning a championship, seriously came up with the idea of putting him in midfield for a game.”
Dashing his manager’s hopes, Rummenigge then recalled warning Guardiola against the idea as he did not want opposing teams to think Bayern were arrogant.
“I found it difficult to dissuade Pep from this idea, which some of us felt might be interpreted as arrogance,” he added. “But I am convinced that Manu would have done well in midfield, too.”
The conversation between Guardiola and Rummenigge would likely have taken place before the 2014/15 season.
At the time, Neuer averaged a pass completion rate of about 85% throughout the year, and the idea of him partnering with the likes of Xabi Alonso and Bastian Schweinsteiger in the centre of midfield would undoubtedly have been a spectacle.
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It was also the season where Philipp Lahm was converted into a defensive midfielder, and to think that Neuer could have joined him in the middle of the park that season would have been baffling and entertaining.
As well as being a world-class shot-stopper, Neuer has been widely regarded as the best sweeper-keeper of the modern age.
In an interview with The Guardian back in 2018, he spoke about how important distribution had become in his game.
He said: “The passing game has become more important. We rarely just hammer the ball forward. I probably have twice as many touches of the ball now than I used to have at Schalke.”