Manuel Neuer, the goalkeeper for Bayern Munich, emotionally acknowledged that he is no longer the top choice for Germany after his poignant comeback to Bundesliga following a year of injury recovery.
Neuer made his first appearance since breaking his leg last December in Bayern’s 8-0 win over Darmstadt, but admitted afterwards that he faced a fight to dislodge Barcelona rival Marc-Andre ter Stegen from the national team goal.
“He is definitely number one at the moment, but that is not something I am thinking about right now,” said the 37-year-old, who is hoping to take part in his fourth European Championship when Germany host Euro 2024 next summer.
“I feel positive about the national team. We have great goalkeepers and I am looking forward to the Euros,” he said, adding that he had spoken to new Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann the previous day.
“For now, I am just happy to be back and that my comeback went so well.”
Neuer, whose last game for Bayern came in November 2022 against Schalke, admitted that he was nervous ahead of his return to action.
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“It is always possible that something happens when you come back after a long injury. You can debate for ages about when is the right point to come back. I had a good feeling and I gave the coach the green light,” he said.
“It was a very emotional day. I was very excited to be back with the boys on the pitch again in front of our fans.”
Neuer refused to swap shirts with Darmstadt keeper Marcel Schuhen after the game, admitting that he wanted to keep his own shirt as a souvenir.