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Karl-Heinz Rummenigge outs himself as a “big fan” of James Rodriguez, also comments on Callum Hudson-Odoi

Bayern Munich’s CEO would like to see James play more regularly. He also acknowledged the ill-will roused by Hasan Salihamidzic’s courtship of Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi.

31 January 2019, North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Chairman of Bayern Munich, answers questions from a moderator at Spobis. Spobis is Europe's largest sports business fair.
31 January 2019, North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Chairman of Bayern Munich, answers questions from a moderator at Spobis. Spobis is Europe’s largest sports business fair.
Photo by Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge answered a handful of questions pertaining to Bayern Munich at this year’s annual sports congress in Düsseldorf, also known as “SPOBIS” (The Sports Business Festival for the Future of Sports). During his talk, titled “The Bundesliga, FC Bayern and me,” Rummenigge discussed a wide range of topics, but he was particularly candid about both James Rodriguez and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, who Bayern had been pursuing during the January transfer window (comments from Sport1.)

When asked about James, who has spent a considerable amount of time on the bench this season under Niko Kovac, Rummenigge declared, “I’ll out myself as a big fan of his. All of us at the club know what qualities he has.” But Rummenigge remained diplomatic regarding James’s future at Bayern Munich. “What will be key is that it’s the best decision for him and for us,” he said.

Rummenigge suggested, however, that he and potentially others in Bayern’s front office would like to see James play more often than he has thus far this season. He referred to the Colombian as having “perhaps the best left foot” in the Bundesliga (pace Arjen!):

In essence, he’s a super player with perhaps the best left foot in the entire Bundesliga. He proved that especially in the last Rückrunde under Jupp Heynckes. We all want James regularly on the pitch, but the coach has to decide who to give his trust at the end of the day.

Rummenigge posing with James after he signed with Bayern. Photo by S. Widmann/Getty Images for FC Bayern

Rummenigge, naturally, was also asked about Bayern’s January transfer activity. The CEO commented at some length on the failed transfer of Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi. Although diplomatic, his account of Chelsea’s irritation at Hasan Salihamidzic’s efforts to negotiate a deal could be interpreted as mild criticism of the sporting director.

The only thing that Hasan would have been happy to finish was this player form Chelsea, because he had practically fallen in love with this player on account of his quality. I wouldn’t deny now that the aggressive courting in London didn’t go over well. But you also can’t forget that Hasan Salihamidzic had to give the player a sign somewhere. He wasn’t directly in touch with him personally, since that’s not allowed after all, but the player still needed to get a signal as to whether Bayern Munich completely stood behind him.

While Bayern were linked with other transfer targets during the January window, namely Atelitco Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez, Rummenigge insisted that those were just rumors and there was nothing more to them:

Everything else was really just rumors. We don’t absolutely need reinforcements at these positions in the Rückrunde. That’s a subject for the future that we’ll address in the coming months and decide accordingly.

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