'I cannot say anything right now,' Manuel Neuer casts fresh doubts over World Cup return

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New Delhi:

Germany goal-keeper Manuel Neuer admits that he does not know whether he will be fit in time for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. The honest confession comes as a surprise as the 32-year-old returned to training last month.

The FC Bayern Munchen No.1 has been out since breaking a metatarsal in September 2017 and does not want to rush even though the World Cup is around the corner.

“I cannot say anything right now,” he said at Bayern’s presentation of their 2018-19 kit.

“I feel good with the things I am doing in training right now, but there’s no forecast.

“I have to make the right decision for me, for the team and for Germany. It doesn’t help when you’re rushing this decision. I want to improve day by day and I try to regain my fitness as fast as possible.

“The steps that I already made were good and positive. I try to continue that way. Then, we will see if that is enough.”

Former Germany and Bayern physio Oliver Schmidtlein believes that Neuer won’t be ready to play in the group stage of the competition.

“I think the earliest he could be involved is in the knockout stages of the World Cup,” he said to a leading European daily.

“Manuel won’t be able to train in this situation, despite the time constraints, or he risks his recovery.”

Defending champions Germany will kick start their World Cup campaign against Mexico in Group F on June 17. Sweden and South Korea are the other teams in their group.

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