There isn't a club in the world that has been more successful this season but still dealt with the level of strife that Bayern Munich has faced.
So it will come as some relief to many that the team's star 'keeper, Manuel Neuer, has pledged his allegiance to the club for the next five years.
On Friday, the club's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge announced that "Our goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has today extended his contract until 30 June 2019," via the club's official website.
Rummenigge called the timing of the extension—just days after Real Madrid embarrassed Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal—"astonishing and top-class" and added: "It's also a mark of his wonderful character."
It's not hard to see why Rummenigge would be so effusive in his praise of Neuer's timing with this extension.
While the club won the Bundesliga in record time and is in the final of the DFB Pokal, they were embarrassed by Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, more than a few supporters (and perhaps members of the board) haven't been pleased with manager Pep Guardiola, and first-year starlet Mario Gotze revealed he wasn't happy with his playing time this season.
For a club that could earn a pretty dominant double, somehow the season has started to feel like a disappointment.
Yet, Neuer's play, as always, has been outstanding. His 7.04 average match rating in Bundesliga play is fourth among keepers in the league, according to WhoScored. He's kept 14 clean sheets and is widely considered to be one of the best 'keepers in the world, if not the best.
The German international will certainly represent his country as the starting 'keeper in this year's World Cup. Jonathan Wilson of Sports Illustrated broke down the 'keeper as the United States prepares to face the Germans in the group stage this summer in Brazil:
Neuer isn't just a fine shotstopper who has become increasing adept at commanding his box. He is also adept at leaving his penalty area and sweeping up behind the defensive line, something that means that, if required, Germany can press high up the pitch, knowing its keeper is occupying the space behind them and so cutting out what would otherwise be easy passes into vast acres of untended pitch.
Keeping him at Bayern is vital, and it looks likely now he'll play out his career with the German powerhouse. In a sport with so much roster turnover and on a club with so much purchasing power, longevity takes on added importance.
Neuer gives the team just that and a consistent performer between the pipes as well. Bayern Munich's season has taken an oddly dark turn in recent weeks, but this is a bit of bright news for the club.
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