Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was ruled out until at least January in September after suffering a hairline fracture in his foot for the second time in six months, but he says nothing will get in his way as he seeks to help Germany defend their World Cup in Russia next summer.
“In my opinion, there’s nothing to stand in the way of my World Cup participation,” said the 31-year-old, who succeeded Bastian Schweinsteiger as Germany captain weeks before the recurrence of his foot injury. “If I get good results back from the professionals and they give it the green light then I’ll start training again.”
Sven Ulreich has been Bayern’s first choice since Neuer was ruled out, although Tom Starke deputised with aplomb on Saturday, keeping a clean sheet as Bayern beat Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 to guarantee their status as winter champions. Neuer will be reappraised in the new year, but there is little question he will regain his place once he returns, whenever that may be…
“I won’t give an exact date,” he concluded. “But it would be nice if I could say goodbye to my two friends [his crutches] in time for Christmas. That would be the best possible present. It really is improving though. I might wear a t-shirt that reads: ‘I’m fine!’ so people stop asking!”
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Sweeper-keeper Neuer kept four clean sheets as Germany won their fourth World Cup in Brazil three years ago. Both Bayern and Die Mannschaft are in fine form, but his return will be warmly welcomed by club and country, nonetheless.