Football News

Sadio Mane and Matthijs de Ligt “are not world-class players” – ex-Bayern Munich CEO Rummenigge

By Ben Green

Published: 12:42, 2 August 2022 | Updated: 12:46, 3 August 2022

Former Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge does not believe Julian Nagelsmann has got his hands on two world-class players this summer in Sadio Mane and Matthijs de Ligt.

The Bavarian club have been busy this transfer window as they prepare for life post-Robert Lewandowski, bringing in Liverpool legend Mane for £28m and replacing Niklas Sule — who left on a free transfer for Borussia Dortmund — with De Ligt for £59.6m.

The duo recently featured as Bayern lifted the 2022 DFL-Supercup at the expense of RB Leipzig in an eight-goal thriller at the Red Bull Arena, with Mane netting a debut goal as he started in Nagelsmann’s attack, while De Ligt entered the fray late on for a 12 minute cameo.

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Despite both players relocating to the Allianz Arena with burgeoning CVs and silverware aplenty, former Bayern CEO Rummenigge does not believe the German champions have recruited two world-class players, levelling particular criticism at the signing of Mane, given he has just entered his 30s.

In his column for Sportbuzzer, Rummenigge wrote: “Why has Hasan Salihamidzic & Co. been praised for recently for their summer transfers? Honestly, I can’t join in this chorus of jubilation.

“With all due respect for Sadio Mane and Matthijs de Ligt – both of them are not world-class players for me. Of course, Mane will do the Bundesliga good and score his goals, but at the age of 30, I don’t see him at the absolute top level.”

The two-time Ballon d’Or winner has suggested that Jurgen Klopp’s allowance to let Mane leave Anfield this summer is an indicator that the Senegalese isn’t quite in the top bracket of forwards.

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“Had it been otherwise, Jurgen Klopp would have certainly fought harder to keep the striker at Liverpool,” Rummenigge added.

Concluding on De Ligt, Rummenigge as also suggested that Nagelsmann would have been better off keeping Sule at the club, believing their new Dutch centre-back has just wasted three seasons of his career in Turin.

He continued: “I’m even more sceptical about De Ligt. Sure, he’s only 22 years old. But the last three seasons at Juventus were lost time for him.

“He should have been able to develop further after his furious start to his career at Ajax. I think it is very daring to declare him Bayern’s chief of defence. You could have kept Niklas Sule.”