The two Germany goalkeepers are “team-mates, not competitors” when they link up on the international stage, according to the Bayern Munich star
Manuel Neuer insists suggestions of a rift with fellow Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen were blown out of proportion.
Earlier this year, Bayern Munich’s first-choice keeper Neuer criticised his Barca counterpart for making “inappropriate” comments over his disappointment at not playing more regularly for the national team.
However, Neuer later talked up the qualities of Ter Stegen, who has become one of the best No.1s in the world at Camp Nou, and the former Schalke shot-stopper says there was never an issue between the two.
“In principle, far too much was made of it,” Neuer told Kicker. “I’ve never had a problem with Marc.
“We train for the national team together, but we don’t call each other when he plays with Barcelona or I play with Bayern, and we wish ourselves the best of luck.
“We sit together at breakfast, have a normal conversation – as team-mates, not as competitors. Each of us tries to show our best performance for the team so that we can be successful.
“This is important because we play in a team. In football, it is not like in handball with clapping and hugging and you hold the next seven metres. Football is a different culture.”
It has been suggested that Neuer, 33, could hang up his gloves at international level if Germany win Euro 2020 – a major piece of silverware which has eluded him up until now.
When quizzed on his retirement plans, Neuer responded: “I leave that open because I listen to my health and want to see how fit I am and whether I enjoy everything.”
Germany are due to host the European Championship in 2024, with Neuer adding on the possibility of being a part of that squad: “I’m fit and therefore ready!”
Neuer has been ever-present for Bayern in the Bundesliga this season, rediscovering his best form to help the team fight for trophies on multiple fronts once again.
The German champions sit third in the league at the halfway stage, four points behind leaders RB Leipzig and two behind second-placed Borussia Monchengladbach.
Neuer recorded a clean sheet in Bayern’s last outing before the winter break, as goals from Joshua Zirkzee and Serge Gnabry secured a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg at Allianz Arena on Saturday.
Ter Stegen, meanwhile, lined up for Barca in a 4-1 victory against Alaves in La Liga which ensured that Ernesto Valverde’s men opened up a two-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the table.