Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 June 2019

Stop retirement talk, Bayern Munich's Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells Kingsley Coman

Injury-plagued French winger said in a recent television interview that back-to-back injuries had left him pondering his future in the game

Kingsley Coman travelled with the Bayern Munich squad for Wednesday's game against Ajax in Amsterdam. Reuters
Kingsley Coman travelled with the Bayern Munich squad for Wednesday's game against Ajax in Amsterdam. Reuters

Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has told Kingsley Coman to stop all talk of retiring from "aggressive" modern-day football and focus on returning to the fray with his morale intact.

Injury-plagued Coman, who has started only three Uefa Champions League games for Bayern since joining the club in 2016, said in a recent television interview that back-to-back injuries had left him pondering his future in the game.

Rummenigge, speaking before Bayern's trip to Amsterdam where they will face Ajax in their final Champions League group game on Wednesday, said it was unthinkable for the 22-year-old Frenchman to be considering quitting.

"I would advise him not to get carried away and to stop thinking about ending his career," said Rummenigge.

"In today's football, which is very quick and sometimes very aggressive, you just can't avoid suffering injury now and again.

"The important thing is to return to competition with your morale intact."

Coman, who came through Paris Saint-Germain's training academy before joining Juventus in 2014, told Sunday's Telefoot programme he would consider his future in football if he suffered another major injury.

In the past year he has suffered two ankle ligament injuries, in February then August.

The first meant he missed possible selection to France's squad for a World Cup campaign in which Les Bleus triumphed.

Coman only returned from his latest injury on December 1, joining Bayern's squad for Wednesday's clash in Amsterdam where the Germans need just a point to secure top spot in Group E.

Rummenigge, the chief executive of Bayern, added: "Everyone is behind him.

"We know how good a player he is, he's an important player and will be even more so in the future."

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Coman's return to the squad is timely, with the Bundesliga club confirming veteran Dutch winger Arjen Robben will play no part against Ajax due to an ongoing knee injury.

Robben, 34, has been out injured since scoring twice in a 5-1 win over group rivals Benfica last month and has yet to fully recover.

Robben, who scored Bayern's winning goal against Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final, confirmed in Monday's edition of magazine Kicker that he will quit the Bavarian giants at the end of the season.

Bayern, who sit top of Group E on 13 points, need just a point at Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday to qualify for the last 16 as group winners.

As well as Robben, injured midfielders Corentin Tolisso and James Rodriguez have also been left out off Niko Kovac's matchday squad.

Meanwhile, Valencia manager Marcelino has backed "extraordinary" Eric Bailly to get back to his best at Manchester United.

With Champions League progress assured, injuries biting and Sunday's trip to Liverpool on the horizon, Jose Mourinho is likely to rotate in Spain for Wednesday's Group H match.

Bailly trained ahead of United's trip to Valencia after overcoming a knock and will be hoping for just his second appearance since Newcastle United visited in October, when he was unceremoniously hauled off after just 19 minutes.

It underlined how far the Ivory Coast international had fallen down the pecking order after such a bright start to life at Old Trafford following his move from a Villarreal side managed by current Valencia manager Marcelino in 2016.

"I was so lucky to have Eric as a footballer, as a player," he said. "He's an extraordinary player and an extraordinary person.

"I'm so sorry for his injuries, because I know his performances are conditioned by this. I know he is having a hard time and suffering when trying to have a stable rhythm in the team.

"I wish nothing but the best for him and I feel his youth will help him through these hard times and he will be very important for United."

Updated: December 12, 2018 08:25 AM

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