Robert Lewandowski on Bayern's transfers and the commercialization of football
In a revealing interview with one of Germany's leading publications, Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski spoke bluntly about modern-day football, foreign tours and Bayern's transfer policy. Here's how he sees things.
In an interview with Spiegel Online, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski spoke candidly about Bayern's transfer policy and about the current state of modern football.
"Bayern will have to come up with something and be creative if the club wants to keep bringing world-class players to Munich. And if you want to compete at the top, you have to have those kinds of quality players," Lewandowski told the widely-read German news website.
"To this day, Bayern Munich have never spent more than around €40 million for a player. In international football that has long since been more of an average than a peak price."
Corentin Tolisso cost Bayern that much this summer, but most of the biggest recent transfers have happened in England, Spain or France.
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Like many top clubs, Bayern, who lost 2-0 to Hoffenheim on Saturday, spent their preaseason on the other side of the world, something that Lewandowski is also unsure about.
"I'm skeptical about foreign trips. Not just because the strain during this important training period is so high, but also because I'm not really convinced they are of such great benefit to the club's marketing."
Lewandowski has been at Bayern since 2014 and has won three league titles, but not being able to win the Champions League has left him frustrated. After PSG signed Neymar for a record €222 million euros in the summer, Lewandowski believes Bayern can still win European club football's biggest prize because money isn't everything.
"Paris have bought a world-class squad. Whether it's a world-class team, we'll have to wait and see. Bayern Munich are more of a team - we've experienced a lot together."
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Lewandowski says celebrations like this one need not always be commercialized
The identity of clubs is already being called into question, believes the Pole.
"What's happening in football at the moment is a fine line between regionality and globalization. As a club, as a league you have to grow if you want to keep up with foreign clubs and associations. This leads to a big question: Who is the target fan of a club? Do they live in Munich or in Asia or in America? Solving this conflict is one of the biggest challenges clubs face at the moment. And that it leads to frustration for those who have stayed loyal to their club for years is obvious. These people must never feel they're being used."
For all of the steps forwards Bayern have taken in expanding the brand, Lewandowski fears where it will end.
"Those responsible have to develop a feeling for where the borders of reason lie. Do we really need small cameras on beer glasses, as we did for our title celebrations after the game against Freiburg? Do our wheat beer showers now need to be marketed as well? A title celebration is a very emotional moment and it should always be authentic. I can understand why fans were annoyed about that."