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Extra training in the rain

Neuer still ‘fired up and ambitious’

Monday morning’s torrential rain in Munich was no distraction for Manuel Neuer. On the contrary, the newly-crowned German Footballer of the Year jumped, dived, parried and blocked everything that came his way on the practice ground. Remarkably, there was no official workout and Manuel showed up of his own free will, as Pep Guardiola decided to give his men the day off following a gruelling session on Sunday. “I'm fired up and ambitious,” Neuer commented as he returned to the dressing room, “and we train at this club whatever the weather.”

The conditions were never going to spoil Neuer’s good mood, as Bayern's number one was still proud and delighted at the Footballer of the Year title conferred on him the previous day. “After you've won the World Cup with Germany and play alongside so many top-class individuals, the award is a very special honour, especially as a goalkeeper. So obviously I'm really delighted," the 28-year-old said.

Monday’s voluntary session was supervised by goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic and also featured new signing Pepe Reina. The energy and commitment shown by the World's Best Keeper proves he is as hungry as ever. “I'll never lose that,” declared Neuer, “I keep on trying to improve all the time.” Manu reckons his vacation was “long enough. The task now is to prepare well for Wednesday's game in Dortmund.” To that end, Neuer and Reina both reported to headquarters for “goalkeeping specific drills," the player said.

The Germany star is impressed with his new team-mate. “I really enjoyed working with him,” said Neuer after the session with Reina, who signed for Munich on Friday from English Premier League club Liverpool, “we immediately got along well and we've already spent plenty of time talking to each other.” As always, Manuel is keen to keep on improving, and not merely as a player, he revealed with a grin: “It's a chance for me to polish up my English.”