FC Bayern München and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer believes he will make a return to action this season after making positive progress with his foot injury.
The 31-year-old has been on the sidelines since last September, although the prognosis appears to be positive as he was able to put weight on the foot during a rehabilitation session on Friday.
The news could come as a plus to national-team manager Joachim Low, who is set to name his provisional World Cup squad on May 15.
Neuer feels he is making good progress after an “emotional day” on Friday, telling FCB.tv: “I’ve got to say things are going well. Today (Friday) was an emotional day because I was able to put full weight on my foot for three five-minute bursts, and there was no reaction from the foot.
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“Both feet felt the same, so it was an important step for me. In my head, it’s not an issue for me. I’m doing many exercises that are pushing me to my limit, but I have a fresh mind every day.
“I don’t have the pressure of playing in the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup every week – I just come to the Sabener training centre and put in my six hours or so, then I go for therapy and speak with the physios about my body. Then we have these exercises which push me to my limit.
“It is within sight – now I’ve started running, and it went well, that’s an important step with no swelling or weakness in the muscles, then I’ll do a MRT [scan] tomorrow and we’ll see the images and will check closely how it is and if there are any risks.
“If everything’s fine, I expect to be able to train out on the field again – back out in the fresh air! It’s still not certain when I will be back. I’ve taken some steps and when I get my football boots back on, then we’ll see how my body and foot responds.
“I hope I still get to play some games for Bayern this season – and that is realistic – but I’m not making any predictions. I’m glad that things are going well, but it’s very hard to name a date [for my comeback]. My aim is to play a few games again for Bayern.”