A curious scene at Munich International Airport yesterday has the German soccer press abuzz. As reported by Bild, Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness was spotted talking with Franck Ribery at an airport cafe before the team’s flight to Istanbul ahead of the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie with Besiktas JK.
At one point, Hoeness shook Ribery’s hand and seemed to reassure the Frenchman of something—as if to say “don’t you worry” as Bild put it. After the encounter, Ribery then happily skipped and jumped his way to the gate like a little bot, playing pranks on his Fußball-brothers David Alaba and Arturo Vidal.
Could Hoeness have just promised Ribery an extension next year—sealed with a handshake? As we all know, Ribery is dead-set on staying in Munich but has become increasingly frustrated by the club’s reluctance to discuss his contract—frustration apparently shared by his closest friend David Alaba.
The club has insisted (and Rummenigge reiterated at the airport press briefing) that they would discuss his and Arjen Robben’s contracts in April. But could Hoeness have jumped the gun for his favorite? As we all learned from Jupp Heynckes himself, a handshake from Uli Hoeness is a binding contract at Bayern Munich.