Barcelona will travel to Germany on Monday morning ahead of their next Champions League group match, which comes against the team which has perhaps caused them the most pain in recent years. Bayern Munich have been comfortable in recent years against the Blaugrana, but there is optimism in Catalonia that the visitors may be able to put up more of a fight this time round.
Ahead of the match, Sport spoke to Bayern President Herbert Hainer. Amongst the topics that came up were the two Presidents of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Hainer is familiar with Joan Laporta after first coming into contact with him 20 years ago. He has also crossed paths with Florentino Perez.
[Interviewer, Ivan San Antonio]: “As General Director of Adidas, you must have negotiated with Florentino Perez?”
“Yes. He’s a tough negotiator,” confirmed Hainer.
That then led to the topic of the Superleague, which Barcelona and Real Madrid maintain they are still part of. Bayern were not amongst the original twelve clubs that decided to break away.
Hainer was also asked about it and he implied that neither of the big two in Spain was thinking of their fans.
“In everything you do, you have to put the interests of the fans at the centre of it, and the reaction of the fans said it all. I have to say that I like the Champions League of UEFA because it is a fantastic competition in which the best clubs compete.”
“If we look at the quarter-finals or in the round of 16, the most prestigious clubs play amongst themselves anyway. Real Madrid are always there, Barcelona, Bayern, City, Liverpool, et cetera.”
Certainly with the funnelling of money to an increasingly small cabal of clubs, European football is increasingly akin to a Superleague at any rate.
While Bayern are fan-owned and do have a record of making changes for their fans, the suggestion that UEFA do listen to fans is also a mischaracterisation. The governing body of European football has shown itself to be an accomplice to the increasing inequality and the events during this year’s Champions League final show that fans are not at the forefront of their consideration either.