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Manuel Neuer has been awarded the Order of Merit for his social commitment

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The celebrated goalkeeper gets the state’s recognition for his work with the “Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation”

Bayern Munich - 1st FC Union Berlin Photo by Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer has been awarded the Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf (AZ). The 33-year-old Gelsenkirchen native was honored on Wednesday by Prime Minister Armin Laschet at the Düsseldorf State Chancellery for his “exemplary social commitment,” above all in the Ruhr area and his hometown.

Neuer has been involved in numerous social projects in the area for many years. In 2010 he founded the “Manuel Neuer Kids Foundation,” which focuses on disadvantaged children and young people in the region. Neuer said,

When I heard about the award, I was a bit stunned at first. It’s a very special honor, and of course, I’m very happy to accept the award. For me, as a team player, it was always important not to leave anyone behind, but to reach out for one another and pay attention to each other.

Prime Minister Armin Laschet also had few things to say about the keeper.

With his social commitment, Manuel Neuer gives young people a new perspective for the future: You [Neuer] are a hero on the pitch, an idol for millions and a role model for the youth and the whole society.

The former Schalke 04 keeper should have received the award on April 14th, but the appointment had to be postponed when Neuer injured himself in Bayern’s game against Fortuna Düsseldorf.