Germany’s Bizarre Choice For New Captain Makes Perfect Sense

Manuel Neuer wears a lot of hats. Goalie, defender, even striker sometimes.

But now he’s got a new one: captain of Die Mannschaft

The captain’s armband has been in limbo since Bastian Schweinsteiger retired from international football last month. Schweini was the captain between 2014 and 2016. Before him, it was Philip Lahm (2010-2014), and before that, it was Michael Ballack (2004-2010). Fine company for Neuer to find himself in.

It’s unusual for a goalie to be captain – there’s this stigma that it should be a center-mid – but Germany’s coach, Joachim Löw, didn’t have a lot of options. Really, it was between Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, and Manuel Neuer.

Toni Kroos is too boring and Thomas Muller is too goofy.

Neuer, 30,  is in the prime of his career and will likely be with the German national team for 2 more World Cups. The captain’s armband is not like hot potato. You want consistency there, and that’s exactly what Neuer provides.

Neuer seems to have the right temperament for a captain. By virtue of being a goalie, he’s used to yelling at the defense and making sure they’re acting right. It’s an easy pivot for Neuer to go from marshaling the defense to keeping the entire team in line.

Plus, he fancies himself as an outfield player and seeks any opportunity to leave his nest. Just imagine Neuer sprinting 70 yards down the field to give the referee a piece of his mind or deescalate a situation. Hilarious. Can’t wait.

All things considered, Joachim Löw made the right choice by tapping Neuer to succeed Bastian Schweinsteiger as Germany’s captain. Unorthodox, yes. But the Germans understand better than most the consequences dogmatic thinking can have, so I think it’s just fine that Löw stepped outside the box on this one.