Manuel Neuer has revealed how he was forced to play on with a broken foot in Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid last season.
The goalkeeper has spent the past four months recuperating from a metatarsal break sustained in the second leg of that encounter, and was recently filmed in training performing some impressive ball skills as he eyes a first-team return.
Speaking about the incident from April’s 4-2 loss at Santiago Bernabeu in an interview with Bild, Neuer explained how he was made to see out the full 120 minute clash after Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti had made all three substitutes.
He said: “There was still a bit of activity on the bench because I wanted to get out, but we had already made all three substitutes.
“In my back head there was the rule that there could be an extra change in extra-time, but that was only in the DfB Pokal Cup and not in the Champions League.
“So I had to continue, although I could not actually kick. I’ve even got a few back passes from my teammates! It was a crazy situation, because I knew right away that the foot was broken.”
Neuer is one of the more experienced players in Bayern’s senior set up these days following the retirement of key stars Philippe Lahm and Xabi Alonso at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.
The shot stopper was handed the captaincy on a permanent basis by Ancelotti after Lahm called time on his playing career, and is only eclipsed in age by veteran wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the Allianz Arena now.
Despite only five of Ancelotti’s players being 30 years of age or older, however, Neuer disputed claims that Bayern had lost the expertise and know-how to be a force to be reckoned with on the continent and in domestic competitions.
He added: “I do not believe that. We have lost experienced players, but looking at our team, we have many who are older than 26, 27 years old.
“We are prepared for all challenges. It is similar to the Spanish national team, who won the Europea Championships and the World Cup in 2008, 2010 and 2012. We have an outstanding squad who are capable of achieving something.”