Manuel Neuer says his ambition remains intact and the Germany and Bayern Munich star intends to keep playing and "having fun" as long as he feels needed.
Neuer is expected to win his 90th cap for Germany in Monday’s UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier with Northern Ireland, and has already amassed over 300 competitive appearances for Bayern since joining them from Schalke in 2011.
He has claimed seven Bundesliga titles, four DFB Cups and a UEFA Champions League winner’s medal with the record German champions, and lifted the FIFA World Cup with the Nationalmannschaft in 2014.
Despite his success and the injuries that have dogged him in the last 18 months, the 33-year-old’s desire to play football is as fervent as ever, especially as he feels his country still needs him.
"When you are no longer needed and you feel it, it's difficult to get up and be motivated each day. When your experience is needed and your players need you, that drives you on," the ex-Schalke man old Welt am Sonntag.
"I have the feeling that I'm very much needed here in the national team and that everyone is happy that I'm here. It's clear that I have to show it in my performance."
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Neuer made his Bundesliga debut in August 2006 when he turned out for Schalke against Alemannia Aachen, but still approaches every game with the enthusiasm he had then as a fresh-faced 20-year-old.
"[My longevity] is a result of my love for this sport. It excites me a lot when I'm on the pitch training or playing. It’s a great fulfilment for me. I'm 33 years old but when I'm on the pitch I always feel that I can improve on my goalkeeping," he explained.
"I'm still as annoyed with things that don't work out as I was nine or 10 years ago and I'm still happy about things that work out. These are signs that mean something to me. Namely, how ambitious I am still. [I want to] play as long as my body can do it, I'm having fun and I’m needed."
A problematic foot fracture sidelined him late in the 2016/17 season and laid to waste most of the 2017/18 campaign, and though his mind remains unchanged, Neuer did acknowledge his ageing body required adjustments to his training routine.
"At a young age you don't have to do so much to keep fit," said Germany's number one, who will be 35 when his current Bayern deal expires. "It's changing. I've already noticed that, so I pay close attention to what I do and how I approach things."
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