Robert Lewandowski is seeing a summer transfer away from Bayern Munich speculated on and Dietmar Hamann is not convinced that the Polish striker should be offered a new contract in order to make him stay as 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo has shown at Manchester United that football “gets more difficult with age”.
The prolific Polish striker has plundered 339 goals through 368 appearances for the reigning German champions, with tallies of 40 or more registered in each of the last seven seasons.
He is showing no sign of slowing down, but is also 33 years of age and Hamann is not convinced that extending his deal at the Allianz Arena through to 2025 would be the best option for all concerned – with even all-time greats seeing their powers wane once they pass their mid-30s.
What has been said?
Former Bayern midfielder Hamann told GOAL and SPOX of extension talk in Bavaria: “There is no reason not to extend with [Manuel] Neuer or [Thomas] Muller.
“With Lewandowski you have to see whether he wants more than two years. Then of course you have to think about it. At the end of the contract he would be nearly 37. You can see with Ronaldo that it gets more difficult with age.”
The ex-Germany international added: “With Muller and Neuer I say, yes, extend them. But of course they can't earn more. You have to make sure that the contracts are made even more performance-related.
“If you have five to six players who earn 20 million euros, you have to claim that you get to the semi-finals in the Champions League. Of course you can be eliminated, but it's always about the process.”
The bigger picture
Bayern are sweating on a place in the last four of the Champions League this season after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Villarreal in the first leg of their quarter-final showdown.
They have also made uncomfortable headlines for briefly having 12 men on the field during a 4-1 Bundesliga win over Freiburg – who have appealed against the outcome of that contest – and Hamann believes a lack of leadership on and off the field is undermining efforts in Munich.
He said of the substitution shambles against Freiburg: “None of the Bavarians have admitted their guilt. They held up the board with the wrong number.
“I don't know what [Marcel] Sabitzer was thinking either. If you go in, of course you only do that when the substituted player has left the field.
“The crowning glory was the self-important quote from Michael Gerlinger, who said: 'We are convinced that the DFB sports court can only come to a decision according to the applicable regulations: The result of our 4:1 victory is retained'. That cannot be beaten in terms of self-importance.
“That is weak leadership. If I make a mistake, I have to admit it to myself. But now to push Freiburg into the corner of unsportsmanlike conduct is bottomless.”
Hamann added on on-field issues for Bayern: “They are far too open at the back. They lack a leader a bit there - one that wins a decisive duel or shows a reaction.
“For me, a leader is someone who makes others better. They don't have one at the back at the moment.
“[Niklas] Sule could do that, but he's not playing at the moment. The four or five players in front of [Joshua] Kimmich are individuals who you can usually always rely on. But when a game goes like it did in Villarreal, you need some impulse from behind.”