Look, the outrage in Germany is understandable. Many Manchester United fans are also upset. Jose Mourinho demanding Bastian Schweinsteiger clean out his locker and train with the stiffs. It looks bad. There’s little argument. It looks really bad.
But Rummenigge has some cheek. The Bayern Munich chairman looking down his nose at Mourinho. Wagging his finger at United. Give us a break, will ya. Cut the crocodile tears, Karl.
It wasn’t two months ago that Rummenigge was doing all he could to force Mario Gotze out of the club. Gotze wanted to stay. To fight for his place under the new gaffer. A chat with Carlo Ancelotti, where he was warned that there’d be no guaranteed spot in his starting XI, didn’t put the midfielder off. He declared openly he wanted to stay – a decision celebrated by the likes of Lothar Matthaus and Oliver Bierhoff. ‘At last! A real show of character from the boy’, they declared.
But Rummenigge was having none of it. The sniping soon followed Gotze’s pledge of commitment. ‘It’d be better you leave’, said the chairman – publicly – ‘you won’t have much chance here’. In the end, Gotze took the hint (or rather the sledgehammer) and accepted a return to Borussia Dortmund. Rummenigge had engineered it all. Sod the character and fighting spirit Gotze had shown. Bayern needed to get his wages off the books. The World Cup matchwinner shunted out the backdoor – thanks, now let’s be fair to him, in part to Rummenigge’s public campaign.
And while the chairman bangs on about a “lack of respect” being shown to Schweinsteiger and that “this would never happen” at his Bayern, it seems to have slipped his mind that the club’s former captain was banished to the reserves during his time in Munich. Felix Magath axed Basti when he took charge of Bayern over a decade ago, only for the midfielder to fight his way back. But it did happen.
Schweinsteiger. At a club the stature of United. He does deserve better. And those amongst the United support who are upset with his treatment are right. This isn’t the United Way. But it clearly is the manager’s.
Mourinho has his way of doing things. It’s a new era at the club. With new faces and a new man in charge. And Mourinho wants to launch this new chapter with his new midfield general: the £100 million man, Paul Pogba. It’s literally out with the old and in with the new.
Which should be understandable to Rummenigge. After all, it was he and his board who booted out Jupp Heynckes, fresh from making German history with his historic Treble, to make room for Pep Guardiola. Schweinsteiger barely limped across the line last season at United. In contrast, Heynckes had delivered Bayern the Treble. But Rummenigge, cock-a-hoop at trumping Manchester City and United for Guardiola’s signature, wasn’t going to let sentiment blur his ambition. By the way, how did that Champions League quest go, Karl?
Schweinsteiger had his moments last season. But it could be argued as much as he was a Louis van Gaal signing, it was also the Dutchman’s possession game which held the German back. The aggression, the passing through the lines, was still there. However, LVG’s paint-by-numbers football really worked against Basti. More than anyone else, it was the Germany captain who got it in the neck from United’s Boot Room. Paul Scholes, particularly, was merciless in his criticism. You so wanted him to roll back the years and show Scholes et al what he could do. But when your strengths as a midfielder are breaking beyond the strikers and taking a risk with your passing, there’s no real way of expressing yourself in Van Gaal’s game.
Mourinho’s orders appear out of the blue. No more place in the senior locker room and a preseason with the kids. It’d be shocking. But Schweinsteiger knew this was coming…
Indeed, Tribalfootball.com has been informed minders representing Basti were in touch with Schalke offering the veteran BEFORE Mourinho swung his axe. Schalke were keen – and there’d be no protests at United’s end. But Schweinsteiger wanted to get close to the €180,000-a-week he enjoys at United – which was way, way beyond Schalke’s budget. Interestingly, Markus Weinzierl, Schalke’s new coach, spoke positively of “world champion” Basti this week.
You do wish the situation had been handled differently. You do wish Mourinho would do better in such circumstances. Not the least, so not to offer a free kick at English football from Rummenigge and his ilk. But there has been something comforting in all this…
This column was driven by readers – right across Tribalfootball.com – highlighting the hypocrisy of Rummenigge and Bayern in their reaction this week. It makes a decent headline, but for the football public, they’re getting wise to Karl’s ways. The taunts are wearing thin.
It’s just a shame that it took the dumping of a genuine legend to expose it all.
Contributed by Chris Beattie from Tribalfootball.com