Bayern Munich losing David Alaba on a free transfer to Real Madrid last summer was less than ideal. The club did virtually everything in its power to convince the Austrian international to stay on board, but his salary demands were ultimately too high and it was also clear that he had his mind made up. There was little Bayern could ultimately do to keep him and unfortunately had to bid him farewell along with both Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez last summer.
In a recent television appearance on a program entitled “InTORnational,” former Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge spoke about how much he regrets losing Alaba last summer. “I regret David’s departure. He was the boss of the defensive, played an incredible year under Hansi Flick with the Champions League victory in Lisbon. You can see that this part, David Alaba, is already missing at Bayern Munich,” he lamented (Bild).
Fast forward to now, and Alaba has just secured a Champions League title with Real Madrid, just weeks after they clinched the La Liga title. There were question marks over whether or not Alaba would fit in well and acclimate with Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but his strong performance in the Champions League final against Liverpool just about typifies how positive he’s been in his first season in Madrid.
There’s good reason why Flick had dubbed Alaba his “defensive chief” during the 2019/20, treble-winning season. He was a true leader at the heart of Bayern’s back line and did incredibly well with the transition from left back to center back. Now, without discrediting any of Bayern’s current defenders, said leadership isn’t really there, at least not in as pronounced of a manner that it was with Alaba. Even Julian Nagelsmann has emphasized how big of a loss in leadership Alaba leaving was.
In hindsight, it might’ve been worth the money for Bayern to pay Alaba 20-million euros per year, which is close to what he and his representatives were asking for. At the time, when that figure was relayed to Bayern’s front office, they rescinded their 17-million per year offer, much to the chagrin of a portion of pundits and Bayern fans alike. In retrospect, the extra salary money would’ve been worth it, but it’s not a risk Bayern was willing to take at the time, regrettably so in Rummenigge’s eyes.