Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has admitted his “surprise” that Juventus elected to pay €100 million (£89m/$116m) to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.
The deal has been the most notable of the summer to date, with the Portuguese icon leaving the Bernabeu after nine years in the Spanish capital, where he broke a raft of records and wrote himself into club legend by scoring a rate of greater than a goal a game.
Although Juventus have praised the physical state of the 33-year-old, the German director believes they received the thin end of the deal to sign the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“We at Bayern Munich would not invest so much money in a 33-year-old,” he told TZ. “Marketing has certainly played a big role in this transfer.
“It’s the deal that’s received most attention so far. And I understand that. This is about a player who has won everything with Real in the past few years. He has been voted the best player in the world five times, so all in all he is a great footballer.
“Nevertheless, I was surprised that Andrea Agnelli finally decided to do business.”
Rummenigge understands, however, why the deal was concluded.
“In Italy, Agnelli has earned great acclaim – from Juve’s point of view the transfer makes sense, after all, Italian football had recently lost some ground. With this big deal, the Italians are now hoping that they will once again come into the focus of world football,” he said.
Meanwhile, he does not think it was possible that another Bundesliga club might have signed the European champion and has warned his German compatriots over complacency.
“Only Bayern could have,” he said, when asked about Ronaldo in Germany. “It’s noticeable that the top stars are not flocking to Germany in droves. And then only to Bayern.
“We have to be careful in the Bundesliga because we’re starting to stew in a juice of satisfaction. A few years ago, we were second in the UEFA ranking, now we’re fourth. If this trend continues, we’ll lose Champions League places in the not too distant future. And then the howling will start, but the child will already be in the well.”
Bayern’s Bundesliga defence starts on August 24 with a home match against Hoffenheim.