Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has outlined his intentions to continue playing at international level for Germany despite recent criticism.
The 33-year-old shot-stopper has seen his career plagued by two separate calf and foot injuries across the past few seasons, but he continues to skipper both club and country when he plays.
Why has Neuer come in for criticism? Five things to know…
- Manuel Neuer is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation.
- He has made over 300 appearances for Bayern and won the World Cup with Germany.
- However, injury problems have seriously hindered his career across the past few seasons.
- This has led to a dip in form with the ‘keeper receiving fresh criticism following Germany’s recent 4-2 defeat to the Netherlands.
- Reports also suggest Bayern are looking at Schalke youngster Alexander Nubel as a long-term replacement for Neuer.
Unfortunately for the German stalwart, the days when he was making the Bundesliga Team of the Year or clinching the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year seem but a distant memory.
Joachim Low infamously annexed a number of Germany’s 2014 World Cup winning stars from his squad last season, but Neuer maintained his place, and he will continue to do so as long as he is required suggests the Bayern goalkeeper.
“When you are no longer needed and you feel it, it is difficult to get up and motivate yourself each day,” he told Welt am Sonntag.
“When your experience is needed and your players need you, that drives you on.
“I have the feeling that I am 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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‘I am still ambitious’
Neuer will turn 34 later this season, but the Gelsenkirchen-born shot-stopper insists he still holds the same level of ambition that first saw him explode onto the scene during his formative years with Schalke.
He added: “[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.
“I’m still as annoyed with things that don’t work out as they did 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.”