Berlin (AFP) – Captain Manuel Neuer insisted he will be fit for Germany’s World Cup title defence next year despite lingering doubts over his fractured foot.
The goalkeeper broke his left foot for the third time this year in September and does not expect to return to training with Bayern Munich until January.
“I have considered making a T-Shirt with ‘I’m doing well’ on the front so that people don’t always have to keep asking,” he joked in an interview with German daily Bild.
“Of course, it’s a stupid situation when a sportsman is injured.
“I want to play again, but I need to take this break to make sure everything is OK.”
He admitted he is still wearing a protective boot and using crutches, but said his recovery is on plan and that he will be back in goal for Germany’s opening World Cup match against Mexico in Moscow on June 17.
“I am absolutely sure I will be in goal for the World Cup and in my opinion, there is nothing to prevent my participation,” he claimed.
He first fractured his left foot in March and had to undergo surgery, before hurting the foot again in April’s Champions League defeat by Real Madrid, which led to a four-month absence.
“It all depends on the X-rays, if they are good and there are no problems, and I get the all-clear from doctors, then I’ll start training again,” he said.
“I can’t give an exact date and another injury to the foot would be far from perfect for me, so therefore I need to be cautious and I don’t want to make a mistake again.
“It has been said I will be back in team training in January and I will definitely be able to start doing something then.”
In his absence, Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen played for Germany when they won the Confederations Cup in Russia last July, while Neuer’s Bayern understudy Sven Ulreich pulled out of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt with a groin injury.
The 36-year-old Tom Starke, Bayern’s third-choice keeper, played in Frankfurt and could be needed again for Wednesday’s home game against bottom side Cologne.