Neuer dreaming of captaining Bayern in home Champions League final again

By Sports Desk May 22, 2020

Manuel Neuer wants to captain Bayern Munich until 2023 and is hoping to lead them out in a home Champions League final at the Allianz Arena in 2022.

The Bayern goalkeeper and skipper on Wednesday signed an extension to a contract that was due to expire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

He is now tied to Bayern until 2023, though he will have added competition from next season, when Alexander Nubel will join from Neuer's former club Schalke.

However, Neuer clearly has designs on retaining his place as number one between the posts and wants to keep the armband for the duration of his deal.

"I am convinced by our team and the whole club and I am sure we will be playing successful football throughout the coming years," he told club media. 

"Of course, we have some goals we can reach within this current season. We have a good team for the next few years and it is a lot of fun working for FC Bayern, also as captain. This is also my job and I want to continue until 2023."

Bayern lead the Bundesliga - which resumed last weekend having been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic - by four points.

They are also in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals and hold a 3-0 lead over Chelsea from the first leg in the Champions League last 16.

Neuer is hopeful Bayern can complete the treble and has an eye on May 2022, when the Champions League final comes to his home stadium 10 years after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Chelsea on the same stage at the same venue.

"You start every year from the beginning of course wanting to win it all. There is now the championship to win this year and we are still in every competition," he added.

"But right now it is a different situation for us and everyone has to adjust to the current situation, not only us football players.

"One of our big goals for the next few years is definitely having the chance to play a home Champions League final, like we did in 2012. 2022 will be another European final in Munich, which is a great incentive for me and the whole team.

"It would be a dream for us all to be able to reach this final at home."

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    Cristiano Ronaldo's brace helped Juve to a 2-1 win in Turin, but they fell in the last-16 tie on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

    Memphis Depay had given Lyon the lead in the second leg before Ronaldo's double, with Juve's wait for a first Champions League title since 1996 to go on.

    Sarri, who is under increasing pressure at the helm, said the Serie A champions were cursed in the competition.

    "We are out of a competition where we won six out of eight games we played, we drew one and lost one. That means that in eight matches we got 19 points," he told a news conference.

    "If there were a Champions League table we would be first or second. Instead, we are out. That's why I feel incredibly sad. It makes me understand that in this competition Juventus are cursed.

    "If I weren't so bitter, I would get out of this match with a smile on my face, because I saw the lads in good shape again, they gave all they had, they fought until the end, they put their heart and soul into the match. I appreciated it."

    Lyon and Juventus were both awarded controversial penalties during the second leg, with Depay and Ronaldo converting.

    Sarri felt the spot-kick given to Lyon was "crazy" as he rued the first-leg away loss.

    "We played a good match. In a match where we had to come from behind, we found ourselves one goal down because of a crazy penalty, because in my opinion it shouldn't even have arrived to the box because I think there was a clear enough foul on [Gonzalo] Higuain. And the penalty itself I think it is debatable," he said.

    "The referee was clearly unfit for a situation like this, because for us to concede that goal was like to concede two goals. We were good because we stayed into the game and turned the match around, but we spent a lot of energy.

    "We had two or three chances to score towards the end with headers from Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain and I think [Leonardo] Bonucci, so I think we were close to the qualification.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo's brace guided Juve to a 2-1 win over Lyon in Turin, but they fell on away goals after the 2-2 aggregate draw in the last-16 tie.

    Juventus are without a Champions League success since 1996 and Buffon said the Serie A champions needed to rejuvenate their squad.

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    Memphis Depay's 12th-minute penalty put Lyon well on track in Turin and they progressed to the quarter-finals despite Ronaldo's double.

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    Memphis Depay's early penalty ultimately earned an away-goals victory for Lyon, despite Cristiano Ronaldo's double in Turin meaning the last-16 tie ended 2-2.

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    Garcia was not a universally accepted appointment at Lyon, with the Frenchman having coached rivals Marseille between 2016 and 2019.

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