Created on 22-12-2013 at 11:22 AM
When the Bayern stars made their way to Munich airport after the home meeting with Hamburg just over a week ago, none of them really knew what to expect in Morocco. It would definitely be warmer in North Africa, and the people would be lively and emotional. Nevertheless, it was difficult to say whether FCB would prove a hit in Agadir and Marrakech. But eight days and one trophy later, any doubts have been put to rest. “We immediately sensed great hospitality, love and warmth, the like of which I’ve rarely encountered,” summarised board director for sport Matthias Sammer.
Naturally, Munich made the trip first and foremost with the aim of collecting a fifth trophy of the year. However, there was still enough free time to escape the punishing footballing schedule and learn a little about the host nation. The most striking observation was the extreme contrasts, with humble circumstances on one side and glittering skyscrapers on the other, the snow-covered Atlas mountains compared with desert dunes stretching as far as the eye could see.
“It was a very good trip,” commented Thomas Müller, especially taken with the locals’ obvious joie de vivre: “The people here are extremely positive.” The newly-crowned Club World Cup winners were particularly surprised by the Moroccans’ knowledge and awareness of Germany’s biggest club. “They all knew everything and that was astounding,” said Müller, before adding with a cheeky grin: “We were even recognised by women, which doesn’t happen very often in Germany.”
Great impressions and fond memories
It was more difficult to recognise Dante and Rafinha, who spent an afternoon exploring the famous souks of Marrakech and the sights of the city, for which they donned typical local clothing. Manuel Neuer also took a good hard look at the local culture, as he watched acrobats, parades, and snake charmers in close up.
On the day of the final the men from Munich were introduced to King Mohammed VI, on the throne since 1999. The reigning monarch attended the final and personally congratulated Bayern on their victory. “That definitely left a lasting impression,” noted Müller. But of course FCB made an impression of their own, on the world and especially in Morocco. Said Müller: “The tournament has huge significance for the global image of Bayern Munich!“