Former Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has put the cat amongst the pigeons by revealing who he thinks have been the most important signings made by the club over the past twenty years. With so many quality players to choose from the ex-Bayern boss narrowed his choice down to four and then ranked them.
Speaking to the Tageszeitung, Rummenigge answered the question bluntly, but forthrightly, “[Franck] Ribéry, [Arjen] Robben, [Manuel] Neuer, [Robert] Lewandowski – in that order.”
There will be little debate that his four choices deserve the nomination, but the ordering will cause debate and the omission of other important players will spark some discussion amongst Bayern and Bundesliga fans alike. Rummenigge is well placed to judge having become CEO in 2002 and overseeing a golden period at the club which saw the Bavarians win 14 Bundesliga title and two Champions Leagues.
Many people will question Robert Lewandowski only being ranked fourth by the former CEO. Having arrived on a free from Borussia Dortmund the Polish striker set about breaking the club’s goalscoring records and outdoing the great Gerd Müller. He bagged an outstanding 344 goals in 375 games for Bayern in his time before controversially joining Barcelona this summer. He did however never really become an absolute darling of the Allianz Arena faithful like Franck Ribéry did.
The Frenchman arrived from Marseille in 2007 with a reputation of being a difficult customer. However he instantly won over the Bayern fans with his mesmerizing performances on the wings and his stunning partnership with Arjen Robben. Ribéry scored 124 goals in 425 games while winning nine titles and a Champions League.
His partner in crime Robben was ranked by Rummenigge as the second most important signing after Ribéry. The Dutch winger was as devastating on the left wing as the Frenchman was on the right and will always be remembered for his Champions League winning goal against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.
Neuer is the only current player on Rummenigge’s list and is currently in his 12th season at Bayern. His signing at the time from Schalke caused quite the furore with large sections of the Allianz Arena crowd for a long while refusing to accept him as a Bayern player. How they must look back now and be embarrassed about their behaviour.
Who has not made Rummenigge’s list of Bayern’s most important signings of the past 20 years? Xaxi Martinez would garner some votes as would Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich (signed from Leipzig). Thomas Müller doesn’t count as he wasn’t signed by the club. David Alaba technically signed for Bayern’s youth set up from Austria Wien. Do you agree with Rummenigge’s choices and more importantly his order?