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Hasan Salihamidzic frustrated by questions about Uli Hoeness’ comments about James

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Bayern’s sporting director responded in exasperation to questions from the press about comments by club president Uli Hoeness

MUNICH, GERMANY - MARCH 13: sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic of Bayern Muenchen looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Liverpool at Allianz Arena on March 13, 2019 in Munich, Germany. Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic responded angrily to questions after Bayern’s 6-0 victory over Mainz when members of the media pressed him about comments recently made by Uli Hoeness regarding James Rodriguez. Sport1 has published a full transcript of the encounter in the mixed zone.

The press was asking Salihamidzic about James’ contract situation. Salihamidzic said that Bayern was not currently in talks with Real Madrid about James and also indicated that James had not indicated his own wishes. He said,

No, we have not yet spoken about it. As I already said: we have goals and first have to work on that. At a given time when we think that the right moment has come we will draw our conclusions.

After acknowledging that James’ performance against Mainz was a perfect advertisement for the player, the press attempted steer back to Uli Hoeness’ recent comment about James — namely, that “the coach has to tell us what he wants.” The conversation proceeded as follows:

Reporter: Uli Hoeness said that...

Salihamidzic: Why do you always tell me what Uli Hoeness has said. I’m not interested in what Uli Hoeness has said. Every question starts with Uli Hoeness. Uli Hoeness, Uli Hoeness. Do you want to ask me something? When Uli Hoeness says something, then go ask Uli Hoeness everything. I don’t want to comment on Uli Hoeness’ statements. I’m not interested in that.

Reporter: Uli Hoeness said Niko Kovac has to decide that

Salihamidzic: I said that I’m not interested in what Uli Hoeness…

Reporter: Who decides then whether James is sold? Niko Kovac? You? James?

Salihamidzic: Are you joking or something?

Reporter: No.

Salihamidzic: Well then. Then of course Uli Hoeness, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Niko Kovac, and Hasan Salihamidzic get together and decide. We are Bayern Munich. Everyone decides together.

The reporters, however, were still not ready to let the issue go. The confrontation continued:

Reporter: If you had just heard the statement, though, you’d perhaps understand why one would ask.

Salihamidzic: Yes, but I’m telling you how that works.

Reporter: But if Niko Kovac says he perhaps has no place for James in his tactical plans and you definitely want to keep him…

Salihamidzic: We will talk so that at the end of the day we will leave the room and all be of the same opinion. That’s how that works at FC Bayern.

Reporter: You have until June 15th with James…

Salihamidzic: I don’t need to ... contractual details...

Reporter: That’s what Uli Hoeness said.

And then the group burst out into laughter. Salihamidzic was all too happy to move on and address a question about Alphonso Davies.

For his entire tenure as sporting director of Bayern Munich, Hasan Salihamidzic has struggled to assert his authority. From the get-go, the media and many fans alike have viewed Salihamidzic as a weak sporting director who is dependent on his superiors, above all club president Uli Hoeness and Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. While efforts have been made to counter that impression — both by Hoeness and Rummenigge and by Salihamidzic himself — he still struggles to be taken seriously in the public eye. In light of the persistence of the press, it is perhaps not entirely his own fault.