£22m United target tempted by Champions League carrot

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Schalke stopper Manuel Neuer has admitted that he wants to play Champions League football next season, in a boost for Manchester United as they chase the star's signature.

Schalke were defeated 4-1 by Manchester United last night in the Champions League semi final second leg, with United breaking the record for the largest margin in a European semi tie with a 6-1 aggregate score.

"Again, this wasn't our day today,” Neuer said of the poor result for Schalke.

“It was the same performance as the first leg and that's hard.

“We needed to show a top performance to beat United and reach the final but we didn't succeed."


Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson rested big name players for the match, with United sure favourites to protect their 2-0 away lead. But Neuer says this didn’t make the loss for Schalke hurt any more than if Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand were featuring in the United starting line up.

"We can't talk about Manchester [United] playing a 'B' team,” Neuer said.

“They have included players who would be in the first teams of Bundesliga clubs.

"We have had a great season in the Champions League and we reached the semi-final. We can be proud of this but we need to forget the games against Manchester United.”

On his future, Neuer wouldn’t speculate, but with Manchester United offering Champions League participation next season – a deal that can’t be matched by Schalke, who are currently 10th on the Bundesliga table – might peruade the star to move to United after all.

"I don't want to talk about my future now,” the star stopper said.

“The Champions League is a great plateau and I want to play in it again next season."

The Daily Mail reported that Schalke have put a £22 million price tag on Neuer, but United appear to have the budget for the star as they look to replace retiring keeper Edwin Van der Sar.

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