Wednesday 25 April 2018

Pep Guardiola casts doubt over fitness of Bastian Schweinsteiger

Schweinsteiger has been plagued by ankle and knee injuries
Schweinsteiger has been plagued by ankle and knee injuries

Matt Law

The fitness of Manchester United signing Bastian Schweinsteiger has been cast into doubt by his former manager at Bayern Munich, Pep Guardiola.

Schweinsteiger joined United for £15m last month, having spent his entire career at Bayern, but the number of Bundesliga games he started gradually declined in each of the past three seasons.

Guardiola talked frankly about his doubts regarding his former player's fitness and revealed that 31-year-old Schweinsteiger has not been fully fit for the past three years, claiming the German will only be a big success at United if he can shake off his injury problems.

Schweinsteiger has been plagued by ankle and knee injuries, and Guardiola said: "When he does not have injury problems, I am completely convinced he will do very well at Manchester United. He is a top, top player. Unfortunately, during the last three years he was never in good condition."

Guardiola gave a more encouraging assessment of the player United will be signing if, as expected, they complete a move for Barcelona forward Pedro.

"He is one of the best players you can imagine," said Guardiola, who managed Pedro at Barca. "He's won the European Cup, the Champions League and played millions of games for Barcelona. He can play in any team in the world, but I don't know the situation right now. He's a great player."


Asked about what will happen over his Bayern future, Guardiola responded: "I don't know."

When he was pushed over whether he will manage in England, he added: "I am not going to talk about that."

Bayern are hosting the Audi Cup this week, in which the German club, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Tottenham Hotspur are competing.

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez remains confident Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will both still be at the Bernabeu this coming season despite ongoing speculation about their futures.

Bale has long been linked with a move to Manchester United and, with Angel Di Maria poised to leave Old Trafford for Paris Saint-Germain, fresh talk about a possible bid for the world's most expensive player has re-emerged.

It is a similar story with Benzema, with Arsenal the latest in a long line of reported suitors believed to be keen on the 27-year-old France international.

However, new Madrid boss Benitez is not expecting either forward to be leaving the club any time soon. He told a press conference ahead of tonight's Audi Cup clash against Tottenham in Munich: "Gareth is a huge player for us and I know that he's happy.

"I'm not going to talk about offers. Everything is well and he's going to have a good season with us I'm sure."

On speculation about Benzema, former Liverpool boss Benitez added: "My answer is that I think Benzema is going to stay with us. I'm very happy with him. There's no reason to think that he's going to go."

Another player whose future has been heavily in the spotlight this summer is Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

Real want to bring the former Atletico Madrid number one back to the Spanish capital, but so far United have only wanted do a deal with the 10-time European champions if defender Sergio Ramos joins the Red Devils in return.

Asked about De Gea, Benitez said: "I've said in five previous press conferences that I don't want to talk about players who are in other teams.

"We have three very good goalkeepers. I can talk about them, not other goalkeepers."

Real Madrid v Tottenham, Live Setanta Sports 5.15

Bayern Munich v AC Milan, Live Setanta Sports 7.45

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