Created on 21-01-2009 at 00:00 AM
UlI Hoeneß has spent much of his week so far fielding questions about Franck Ribéry. Reacting to Manchester City’s reported €120 million bid for AC Milan and Brazil star Kaka, the Bayern general manager appeared to value FCB’s France superstar at €30 million more. “If Kaka’s worth 120 million, Ribéry’s worth 150 million,” the board director told Eurosport. “Ach, I was just joking. I might as well have said 500 million. What I was basically trying to say was that I find the whole situation laughable,” Hoeneß explained on Wednesday.
“Everyone knows we’re not going to be tempted to part with Ribéry. We have a contract with him, and we want to hold onto Franck for as long as possible,” the general manager continued. “Whatever, it’s high time for the Bundesliga restart,” Hoeneß summarised with an eye on a flurry of recent speculative stories in the media.
Squad in good shape
Nine days before the league visit to Hamburger SV, Hoeneß is not the only one looking forward to the resumption of hostilities. “We’re all keen for it to get going again,” commented Bastian Schweinsteiger, joining Hoeneß on Wednesday at the official opening of in-house travel agent FC Bayern Tours’ new premises at the Säbener Strasse.
Hoeneß believes the squad is in good shape ahead of a tough opening to the second half of the campaign, with a DFB Cup Round of 16 trip to VfB Stuttgart three days prior to the HSV clash in the Bundesliga. “It’s been a very good mid-season period, with few serious injuries, and we’ve improved with every passing friendly match,” the official remarked. “We’re well prepared and we’re feeling great,” Miroslav Klose confirmed.
Proceeds to charity
Before the competitive programme restarts in earnest, Jürgen Klinsmann and his team face one last challenging warm-up match. The final winter friendly takes the champions to second division leaders FSV Mainz 05 on Thursday evening. “We’ll be pushed to the limit again,” Hoeneß warned. Proceeds from the game will be donated to the renovation of Mainz cathedral.
Talking of cathedral cities, Hoeneß issued a final statement on Lukas Podolski’s return to Cologne in the summer, following the deal officially announced on Monday: “It was a smooth process and it’s come to a positive conclusion. We should leave it exactly where it is. It was his dream to go back to Cologne. At the end of the day, we’ve got our money back, and FC Köln have their player.”