Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer laughed off suggestions he was planning on declaring his retirement from football on Wednesday.
During last weekend’s 4-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf, Neuer suffered a calf injury and had to be taken off early in the second half. Bayern then confirmed on Monday that their skipper will be out of action for two weeks.
It was an unwelcome blow for Neuer, who had been sidelined for most of last season due to a foot injury and had only recently returned from a thumb problem.
This had prompted rumours in Germany suggesting that Neuer will be calling it a day and would announce his retirement in a press conference on Wednesday.
But the 33-year-old has laughed off these claims and confirmed plans to return in time for Bayern’s trip to RB Leipzig on May 11.
“We were laughing about that to be honest,” said Neuer, according to Yahoo.
“We agreed on this press conference a week ago and I just guaranteed that I’d be available because a lot of people wanted to hear me speak, so that’s why I didn’t cancel this.
He added: “I think I’ll be able to work more after two weeks, but it’s difficult to tell you when I’ll return to the pitch.
“My goal is to return to fitness as soon as possible and to do everything I can to achieve that,” he said.
“I think Leipzig is a realistic goal for me, but we’ll have to take it step by step. I should be able to train fully after two weeks.
“Looking back, I was injured for more than a year after I fractured my foot and was on crutches for six months and honestly I expected to have muscle injuries much sooner, like in the first half of the season.
“I was injured for so long that it’s normal to have minor muscle issues. Fortunately, it’s only a minor one now, nothing that’ll keep me out for a couple months.
“You can’t predict these things. It’s not like I have any regrets or am frustrated with past decisions – nothing indicated an injury and these things just happen in top professional sports.”
After replacing Neuer last weekend, Sven Ulreich will likely remain in goal for Bayern’s doubleheader against Werder Bremen in both the Bundesliga on Saturday and DFB-Pokal semi-finals next week.