Ferrari number one driver Michael Schumacher has dismissed reports in his native press, that his knee problem could be a worry for 2004.

The German, who was forced to cancel a training session with Manchester United, due to this issue, revealed while in his hometown of Kerpen, that even 'problem' was 'too big a word' for it.

The six times world champion, commented: "Yesterday I was in Kerpen, the place where I was born. I feel great when I am there and I have had a good day. We went to see my father and some old friends and I had some time to drive the karts and please some fans - the perfect combination!"

Speaking during a break in an event, held by one of Ferrari's major sponsors, Vodafone, he added: "As expected, I was asked lots of questions about the state of my knee - about which some bad rumours have been circulating.

"In truth, it was only a minor problem, even if 'problem' is too big a word! Obviously I'll have to be careful and rest for a while before playing football again.

"I wanted to train with the [Manchester United] lads but I like playing in a trouble-free state of mind and right now I have to be careful."

Despite his obvious disappointment, at missing the session though, it did have a positive side, the silver lining if you like, in every cloud.

He continued: "I am enjoying the fact that I have free time. It is good to recharge the batteries so that I am rested for the new Formula 1 season. So I will be doing what I have done in the past: not taking part in the winter tests.

"I would like to take part but I am sure that when January comes round and I get into the cockpit again, I will be raring to go!"



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