By John Bagratuni and Miriam Schmidt, dpa
Bayern Munich are “shocked” that their Germany goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer will miss the rest of the season with to a lower leg fracture he suffered while skiing on holiday.
The injury came a week after Neuer and his Germany team were eliminated in the group stage at the World Cup in Qatar, and Neuer said on Instagram on Saturday that he has already undergone surgery.
“What can I say, the end of the year could have definitely gone better. While I was trying to get my head clear while ski touring, I suffered a lower leg fracture,” he said.
“Yesterday’s surgery went well. Many thanks to the doctors! However, it hurts to know that the current season is over for me.”
Neuer had already missed seven games before the World Cup with a shoulder injury before the latest and even bigger setback.
Deputy Sven Ulreich will be first choice at Bayern like earlier in autumn, and like in the 2017-18 season when Neuer was sidelined for many months ahead of the 2018 World Cup with a foot injury.
“The news of Manuel’s injury shocked us all. We will stand by him and accompany him on his way to his comeback. He will also overcome this serious injury and return to the pitch as strong as before,” Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn said in a club statement.
Board Member for Sport Hasan Salihamidžić added: “The fact that Manuel had such an accident is terrible, and of course all our thoughts are with him.
“I spoke with him yesterday and today, and the surgery went as well as possible. Manuel will receive all the support he needs. He is a strong personality and will come back. I wish him all the best, he can rely on FC Bayern!”
Some pundits had criticised Neuer’s showings at the World Cup, but the 36-year-old captain has said he wants to continue in the national team.
In his absence, Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen or Kevin Trapp of Eintracht Frankfurt are set to be between the posts for Germany when they start a string of friendlies in March 2023 in the run-up the Euro 2024 tournament for which Germany are automatically qualified as hosts.
“This is very bitter news at the end of the year. We are glad that the operation went well and wish Manu a good and speedy recovery. That is the most important thing at the moment,” national team coach Hansi Flick said in a statement issued by the German Football Federation.