Bayern Munich and Germany captain Manuel Neuer is no stranger to performing on the biggest of stages. The 2014 World Cup champion and sextuple winner knows the pressure and scrutiny that he will face at the World Cup — especially in a host nation that has been so controversial.
“There always have been topics at major events besides sports: the townships in South Africa, the favelas in Brazil, Russia, the Winter Olympics in Beijing,” told Tz journalists Mano Bonk and Philipp Kessler (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “We’re getting closer and closer to the tournament, and then suddenly one of Qatar’s World Cup ambassadors is speaking in an absolutely unacceptable way. Of course, as footballers, we want to focus on football – namely on a World Cup. This is the biggest thing you can play.”
Neuer is no stranger to the spotlight and even on this giant stage, the German captain won’t be blinded by the bright lights and pressure on a team looking to redeem itself.
“We will fly the flag in Qatar. We will represent our values there. The question is: What are the consequences if we position ourselves very offensively there? We don’t know that either. Nobody can see into the future,” said Neuer. “I’m firmly assuming that we will position ourselves as the German national team and DFB. We’ve done that in the past too. But in what way? None of us know that yet.”
Neuer’s recent shoulder injury made some call his status into, but aside of shaking off a little rust, the goalkeeper should be ready to show the world that he is still at the top of his game — even against the best competition in the world.