Manuel Neuer will call time on his career as soon as he feels Germany and Bayern Munich no longer need him.
Neuer, 33, has been first-choice Germany goalkeeper for the best part of a decade, while he has been of similar importance to Bayern since joining them in 2011.
But the Schalke academy product has endured injury problems more frequently in the past three seasons, missing almost the entirety of 2017-18 with a broken foot.
Neuer was also absent for a chunk of last term with thumb and calf issues, though he remains the go-to man between the posts for club and country, starting all but one of Germany’s 11 post-World Cup matches and Bayern’s three games of the new Bundesliga campaign.
Once that regularity disappears, however, Neuer expects to retire because he will find it a challenge to remain motivated.
“When you are no longer needed and you feel it, it is difficult to get up and motivate [yourself] each day,” Neuer told Welt am Sonntag. “When your experience is needed and your players need you, that drives you on.
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 11, 2019
“I have the feeling that I am very much needed here in the national team and that everyone is happy that I’m here. It’s clear that I have to show it in my performance.
“[My durability] is a result of my love for this sport. It excites me a lot when I’m on the pitch training or playing. It’s a great fulfilment for me. I’m 33 years old, but when I’m on the pitch I always feel that I can improve on my goalkeeping.
“I’m still as annoyed with things that don’t work out as they did nine or 10 years ago and I’m still happy about things that work out.
“These are signs that mean something to me. Namely, how ambitious I am still. [I want to] play as long as my body can do it, I’m having fun and I’m needed.
“At a young age you don’t have to do so much to keep fit. It’s changing. I’ve already noticed that, so I pay close attention to what I do and how I approach things.”
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